How Do We Know What’s True?

Truth is not something we are told.

It cannot be forced upon us, pushed in our face, preached at us, flooded in our social media feed.

beachside diversions nostalgia beach mother child steve henderson surreal art

While the mother is busy fussing, the child, looking off into the distance, sees something. So often, children see things that adults miss. Beachside Diversions, art print from Steve Henderson Collections.

Conversely, it cannot be suppressed, no matter how vigilantly those who police social media feed, or announce things from behind a desk, remove it for our own good.

Truth is something we seek.

Now in the world of propaganda and advertising, there is a maxim that the more times you tell somebody something — three times, seven, 83 — then the more likely they are to accept it, even if it is a lie. Just the sheer act of repeating wears down the psyche, until one begins to think,

“Hmm. Maybe sugury-syrup, carbonated drinks with zero nutritional value really aren’t so bad. After all, lots of smart people drink them.”

For this reason, it is wise to pause when we start to feel assaulted by images or information or “news.” As with any assault, there is a sense of fear or helplessness, of anxiety, panic, despair.

“I can’t do anything!” we wail. “This is huge! This is horrible! And I am helpless!”

No, we’re not. With any situation we face, with any information we receive, we have the ability — and the obligation, really — to ask questions, to research, to look into the matter, to follow a trail and walk along a path toward enlightenment. In every situation — religious, political, medical, ethical, scientific, artistic — there is breadth and depth, a variety of thoughts, opinions, facts, and matters that must be weighed against one another, judged, and interpreted.

When we are told that four out of five dentists agree on a certain sugarless gum, or nine out of ten scientists concur, our first logical question is,

“What about the fifth dentist? What is the tenth scientist saying?” because truth is not a matter of majority rule.

The artwork, Beachside Diversions, invites us, like the child, to look deep into the distance, to shake off distraction, and look with the intent of seeing. In the same way adults frequently chide children for living in a world of pretend (and thereby never listen to what they are actually saying) so people who ask questions, who express doubt over what they are repeatedly told, who ask to see more and different information, are tut-tutted for being difficult, reminded that they are (like children) not experts in the matter.

They are admonished to accept what the experts say because doubt and dissent are dangerous.

Truth, however, is not threatened by doubt and dissent, intense questioning, and open, honest dialogue.

But lies are.

Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes. Posts complementing this one are

Choose Wisely Who Influences You

Lies and Darkness, Truth and Light

Whom Do We Trust?

All of the artwork in my blogs is by my husband, fine artist Steve Henderson. He creates work that celebrates joy and goodness, freedom and thinking. You can find his prints at or

About This Woman Writes

Carolyn Henderson is the marketing manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. She writes about life, art, and the art of life.
This entry was posted in america, Culture, Current Events, Daily Life, Encouragement, inspirational, Life, Lifestyle, media, News, self-improvement, Social Media, thinking, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to How Do We Know What’s True?

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  3. Pingback: Don’t Despair. But Do, Do Think | This Woman Writes by Carolyn Henderson

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