Sunday 11 September 2011

Shades of Truth

Today is September 11 or 9/11. The significance of this date depends on who you are. Even if it is about the attack on the twin towers in New York. A lot has been discussed and written. While the world widely accepted that it was a calculated attack engineered by Osama bin Laden, they are also alternative views regarding the event. Similarly, there are alternative views, theories and explanations to mostly everything. 

While this world is beautiful? I suppose because we see things in shades of colours, not just black or white and something in between. Just imagine if out sight could only process primary colours, that also would change how we see the world.

The concept of "truth" is also somewhat complex and not as straight forward as what we may have thought. For example auditors have been signing off on the "truth and fairness" of financial statements for many years and yet we have issues around whether those financial statements were really so. Even today we could read different versions of truth on one single event. Just pick up a subject in a newspaper and google about it in the Net. I am sure you will find many other viewpoints and angle provided by many other writers. This worries a lot of beholders of status quo, who normally benefit prom the present 'truth' and will lose a lot if other 'truth' is accepted by the society.

During the time when a small number of people dominate what the public consumes and reads, truth was, perhaps, more absolute. However, in the day and age where people can read, hear and watch more analysis and discussions regarding certain facts, the interpretation regarding the facts becomes more diverse. At the end of the day, truth will become like beauty, always in the eyes of the beholder. This means truth will depend on our values, upbringing, beliefs etc. 

In an discussion on whether a university could shape the values of students, somebody told me that a person brought up in a family of thief will live the values, whether or not he goes to universities! Perhaps, this explains why many countries are struggling to fight corruption and abuse of power because there are so many people who believe that it is OK to be corrupted as they have been living with such family values. 

So even in "right or wrong" issues, there is no guarantee that people could agree whether a simple but disgusting behaviour is bad or otherwise. If someone benefited from their corrupt practices, it will be tough for them to categorically proclaim that corruption is bad. When can see this irony towards corruption even within ideologies. In China, which practices communism, you will be shot to death if you are a corrupt leader. In democracies, such a person may be able to buy his way up and eventually become a leader.

When I was thought about economic theory during my university days, the students were reminded about cateris paribus. A theory works only when all other things being equal. This is like taking a snapshot at things and say that "at that moment, this is what I observe". In reality,all things will never be equal. That said, the theory will be observable, in many shades.

Let's recall 9/11.

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