Let’s Begin with Truth

From: L. Michael Hall
2021 Neurons #35
June 18, 2021
How Self-Actualization
Can Save Politics #2


To save politics using the psychology of self-actualization, we first of all have to have good people. And good people are good to themselves and others because they traffic in truth rather than falsehood. They tell the truth as best they can and tell a better or newer truth as they keep learning and developing, and they work diligently to not tell what is false, fabricated, or deceptive. Of course, the problem is that speaking truth is difficult.

What makes truth speaking difficult? Primarily because life is complex and messy. In most things, there are lots and lots of variables and easy explanations are few and far between. We have developed many forms of science as a methodology for getting to the truth. Yet as we all know, what is sciencetoday may not be sciencetomorrow. It keeps changing, updating, improving, learning about what it has learned and now learning better.
The best way for us to make our speech more precise, accurate, and truthful (scientific) is to use the Meta-Model of NLP and the Extensionalizing Mechanisms of Korzybski. Each of these models enable us to index information more accurately— when, where, with whom, in what way, which, how, etc.

Truth speaking is also difficult because we humans learn early on how to avoid reality. And that is especially true if you were severely punished for being what you are— human, fallible, prone to errors. Given that, it’s more likely that you learned how to avoid the truth then openly pursue it. We all have learned a whole range of defense mechanisms— ways of covering up and hiding what real. We learn to give out false information, misinformation, dis-information, to deceive by using words with double-meanings, of simply not telling the whole truth, and by using weasel words to escape direct statement that might cause upset or conflict.

No wonder then that we see the same in our politicians! Biden and Democrats are pushing an “infrastructure bill” for roads and bridges costing trillions of dollars except that only 7% of it is for roads and bridges. Deception. The Secretary of Defense announces that our “border is closed” except that 150,000 illegal aliens are crossing the border every month. That’s hardly what the word “closed” means for most people! One half million (500,000) have entered so far this year. What exactly is “closed” about that? And that’s just the people who have been counted, not the other hundreds of thousands who “got away.”

Deceptive language like that, double-talk that rivals George Orwell’s description of double-speak, seems to be the basic language is used in both politics and the media today. Good people become good truth speakers by growing up out of the cognitive distortions of childhood and work be open, honest, and transparent in their speaking. Part of being good is exposing individuals and the media when they use dishonest language or fake news.

Just this past week most media outlets in the US admitted for the first time that they made a mistake in reporting that “the government cleared Layette Park for a photo op for President Trump.” A report last week demonstrated that it was fake news. The part was cleared for fence construction and had nothing to do with a photo op. Of course, this correction comes a year too late, a year during which the various media outlets used it to promote their own agenda.

Good people begin with truth because bad things happen when the truth is sacrificed for a political agenda. The problem with the truth is usually that it does not fully condone one’s positions, but at times, it validates the positions of the opposition party. That’s why truth-speakers will frequently acknowledge, “That’s a good point.” They do not make themselves an enemy to truth and if the opposing side happens to have it, good people simply recognized it. Truth-speakers who move beyond partisan politics can, and do, acknowledge when truth is on the opposing side. (See 2020 Neurons #22, May 11, 2020, Looking for Good Points.)

When religion, philosophy, and psychology is healthy, it enables people to be and become better people— more loving, kind, compassionate, focused, disciplined, ethical, moral, courageous. A fundamental passage says that the first commandment is to love God and the second to love your neighbors as yourself. If we make love the central criteria for a healthy spirituality, we eliminate killing. Killing is not loving. Obviously! War, murder, rape, attacking children, etc. is not loving. If “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, humility, and self-control” are the fruits of the spirit, then any and all religious terrorism demonstrates the opposite to being a good person.

The key for becoming a good person is to pursue the truth. It is to seek to be open and honest, straightforward and caring. The truth sets us free when we will follow it even if it means admitting that we’ve been wrong and will be wrong about numerous things. The key isn’t “being right,” but righting things as we keep learning.