05 September 2010

We Are So Afraid of the Truth

The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify error, if error seduce them. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim.
— Gustave Le Bon, 1895

The truth, indeed, is something that mankind, for some mysterious reason, instinctively dislikes. Every man who tries to tell it is unpopular, and even when, by the sheer strength of his case, he prevails, he is put down as a scoundrel.
— H. L. Mencken, 1926

Man has always sacrificed truth to his vanity, comfort and advantage. He lives... by make-believe.
— W. Somerset Maugham, 1938

Delay is the deadliest form of denial. 
— C. Northcote Parkinson, 1950s

Man today is in flight from thinking. This flight from thought is the ground of thoughtlessness. But part of this flight is that man will neither see nor admit it. Man today will even flatly deny this flight from thinking. He will assert the opposite.
— Martin Heidegger, 1959

The trouble about man is twofold. He cannot learn truths which are too complicated; he forgets truths which are too simple.
— Rebecca West

We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter.
— Denis Diderot

For us to maintain our way of living, we must… tell lies to each other, and especially to ourselves… the lies act as barriers to truth. These barriers… are necessary because without them many deplorable acts would become impossibilities.
— Derek Jensen, 2000

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?