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fact vs. truth


Are truth and fact the same? The words are used interchangably but I don't think that is correct. Here's why. Fact is defined this way: an event or thing known to have happened or existed. Facts are irrefutable and quantifiable. Fact: The sun came up this morning. Fact: I just finished a cup of coffee. Fact: The ManBoy doesn't want to go to school. Facts are "known knowns" (Thank you Mr. Rumsfeld).

Truth, on the other hand is defined this way: the real facts about something; the things that are true; the quality or state of being true; a statement or idea that is true or accepted as true. Truth: It was a beautiful sunrise. Truth: I just finished a delicious cup of coffee. Truth: I don't think the ManBoy wants to go to school because it's Moanday and he's tired. These statements are NOT the same as the declarations above. I may be splitting semantic hairs but it is my opinion that truth can be, and is, shaded by experience. Facts are not. Hypothetical: I have a discussion/disagreement with a friend. We walk away and then describe that "event" to separate third parties. Will we tell the same version of what happened? If we were to only relay the "facts" of what occurred, then probably. However, we are human and tend to filter our experiences through a seive of emotions and previous experiences, so the recounting would likely not be the same. But each version would be accurate. That's where it evolves into becoming a truth. Were the facts relayed? Were some omitted? Were some relayed as opinion? Each telling would be shaded by each person's specific experience of what happened in that moment of disagreement/conflict/discussion/re-telling. Is one version wrong? Wrong-er? Right or right-er? I suppose it would depend on who you ask. As I see it, the question is, can truth exist two different ways in the same space? Yes, and both are valid. Can facts? No. Bottom line: we can have our own "truths" but we cannot have our own "facts".

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