Monday, October 18, 2010

Week of 10/18/2010

One Versus The World
– by David Matthews 2

Let’s start things off with a simple statement…

Two plus two equals four.

Simple enough, right?

It’s easy to figure out if you didn’t understand it. You just put two items in front of you and then two more items and then count the ones you have and come up with four.

It’s PAINFULLY simple, isn’t it? Something that pretty much everyone with a working brain would agree with.

But what if someone was to tell you that two plus two DOES NOT equals four? That it, instead, equals five?

No matter how hard you try to prove just how wrong that person is, that person is firmly locked into the belief that this otherwise simple math equation equals five instead of four. He or she comes up with long and complicated arguments, complete with chalkboard illustrations, to prove their point.

You’d think that person to be crazy, right? Demented? Delusional?

But now what happens if another person also believed the same thing? You’d probably dismiss that person as well.

And how about a third? And a fourth? And a fifth? How about five hundred people believing the same thing? How about five thousand?

What if the whole world firmly believed that two plus two equals five and that you were the only one who knew and accepted that truth? Boy that would be awkward, wouldn’t it?

And even if the whole world minus you believed that two plus two equals five, does that make it any truer? Does a fifth item magically appear when you put two items together with two other items? Does the physical universe rearrange itself to accommodate the whims of a whole world of people who believe that two plus two equals five?

No, it does not.

So why do social charlatans try to convince us that it does?

The biggest fallacy that media personalities, politicians, religious leaders, and special interest groups make is to convince people that TRUTH is merely a matter of NUMBERS. That someone’s honesty and reliability and truthfulness are somehow subject to how many people listen or agree with them.

Politicians pompously proclaim that anything they do is good and right simply because they are re-elected over and over again. Media personalities want people to think that they are right simply because of ratings, and they condemn their critics by accusing them of having no listeners or think that it’s all in some effort to get better ratings. Special interest groups want people to think that popular ideas are right simply because of NUMBERS.

And of course there are the POLLS! You can’t have a day go by without seeing some reference to at least one poll… and that’s not counting the election season, where you have daily and even semi-daily polling! And they also spread this fantasy that what they report is what the masses feel is right.

But does any of this MAKE something right?


Let’s get brutally honest here… I am sick and tired of people trying to spread this LIE that truth or reason or reality or being right is merely a matter of NUMBERS. This universe and the rules and limitations that they impose on us are not dependant on the acquiescence of a certain percentage of the populace! That is nothing more than a sickening display of arrogance.

Having ten or a hundred or a thousand or even a million supporters doesn’t mean that you’re right. It just means that you’re persuasive. That’s not a measure of honesty or truthfulness. It’s just a tool that can be used in too many different ways for right or wrong reasons.

For those who happen to be religious, I probably don’t have to remind you that there was a guy who was considered immensely popular and then was vilified and subjected to torture and summary execution all within the span of one week. And he reportedly didn’t do anything different during that time to give the masses reason to turn on him. You probably heard of him… people have been invoking his name for the past two thousand years. Were his words or deeds disqualified because of the masses turning on him? Were all of the reported acts of miracles he performed or were performed because of him suddenly reversed simply because his popularity plummeted?

If you answered “no” to those two questions, then you also need to accept that the same thing applies to the rest of the world. The sun does not rise or set just because a POLL said it was okay. Likewise, saying that two plus two equals five does not make it so just because you can convince a certain number of people that it is.

Being right is not a matter of NUMBERS. It is simply a matter of BEING.

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