~If Everyone Says "It's True!" ...Beware!~
Misconception No.4 -- If Everyone Says It's So, It Must Be True
Yep--"The world is flat!"
A few centuries ago, everyone said that the world was flat and the Earth was the center of the universe. Even the simplest observations would have indicated quite contrary, but everyone accepted the fallacy without question.
Galileo attempted to show the world, with his telescope, that other planets existed in our solar system. The great minds of the time were assembled. Galileo fixed his telescope on one of the nearby planets and requested that everyone view the proof of his discoveries.
When they refused to peer through his telescope, Galileo picked up a passing dog and had it peer into the eyepiece. He announced, "Let it be said that a mongrel dog would not refuse to look at the truth when confronted with it!"
"Truth " often lies in believing the opposite.
Anyone who speculates in the stock market regularly will tell you one of the most successful tactics for making money is to find out what everyone else is saying and do the opposite.
When everyone is shouting it is the time to buy, this is a clear indication to me that it is the time to sell.
Distortion abounds at every turn.
Gross misrepresentations are often accepted as being the truth by an unsuspecting public. My roommate from CMU, for example, quoted that he was going into the hardware business when the truth was that he was going to work for his dad who owned a hardware business.
The distinction may seem trivial but my roommate's version of his future implied that he was going to make his own way in the world, while actually his future had been laid out for him by someone else. Subtle changes in wording can really give the wrong impression.
Governments and politicians are notorious for outright lying. In a 1982 film, "Reds," Warren Beatty's character became disillusioned because the presidential candidate he supported on a "no war" platform and then drew our country into a war six months after the election.
Governments lie to us every day.
Governments routinely announce that their currency will not be devaluated. This clearly tells speculators that the devaluation will occur within a week.
President Reagan promised the voters that he would balance the federal budget if he were elected. He then produced the largest deficit in history.
In actual practice it is often difficult to find out the real truth about anything. News reporters, who sincerely wish to report the truth, can only report what they are able to find out from others, who mayor may not know the truth. Even then it may be subtly changed for various reasons.
By the time we are given information about an issue of the day, it has passed through a number of channels. The information is a commercialized package to be sold to the public.
If someone says, "It's so," be suspicious and find out the source of the original information and suspect his motives. When everyone is clambering that we won't be going to war, or the budget will be balanced, look for the sources of information. Ultimately, evaluate their motives. They'll tell the public anything it wants to hear in order to get elected, and you will have found the real truth.
The above was written in 1985. It is as fresh today as ever and its truth, in retrospect, is evident. It was a prediction of the events up to today and it will stand as truth as we move forward. Only the names have changed.
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