Serious musing alert. I can’t begin to count the number of “King Arthur” movies that have been made. My favorite continues to be “Excalibur” with by the way, a young Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart, and a little known Liam Nessom. Setting that aside, there are multiple passages about the importance of truth. In the beginning Uthur Pendragon persuades Merlin to deceive Igraine after he has killed her husband the king. In exchange, Merlin takes the infant Arthur. As Uthur rages against the bargain he made, Merlin tells him he is not “the one”, as his betrayal of others have left him untrustworthy and indeed Uthur is killed in revenge in the next scene. Fast forward years when Arthur draws the sword Excalibur from the stone. Some of the same men who killed Uthur refuse to accept him and challenge Patrick Stewart’s character to join them. “I saw what I saw,” he says. “The boy drew the sword. If a boy has been chosen, the boy is the king.” In later scenes, Merlin is either cryptic or plain spoken about why truth is important. “When truth dies, so does part of man,” (or something like that) is one comment.
The point to this post is how often we say, “truth” when it is often instead perception/perspective or belief. I’ve discussed this subject before and what brings it to mind now is the on-going divisiveness in so much of our societies about so very many topics. As I have also previously mentioned, if one makes decisions based on that, convincing someone their “truth” is in actuality their belief and perhaps not “true” in the larger sense is not likely to occur. This is not quite the same as “cognitive dissonance” which involves holding conflicting beliefs (sure, smoking can cause cancer, but that won’t happen to me). There are often times when a situation occurs and the truth may never be known. Two or more people are involved in an incident where there is no visual or audio record of what was done or said. The “he said, she said” is all that is available and thus belief comes into play if choice must be made about which version to accept. Most of us have a tendency to want to trust our own judgement and are reluctant to admit otherwise. In fact, the great Carl Sagan once wrote (although I don’t know the exact source) “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken.”