Selling Truth

There are some topics that raise such passion in me that I can hardly contain a coherent thought process – my fingers literally type as my brain forms idea, giving no forethought to logical or progressive presentation.

This is one such post.

The Directors of our corporation had a mandatory meeting. Every pilot was required to attend. I hadn’t seen our board room so filled beyond capacity before. From there, they proceeded to share their plan of future vision. Most of the new processes and thought patterns introduced were welcome, and many were concepts I had helped develop and implement in previous, and larger, corporations, so it was a relief to see our direction matched my own personal and professional vision. In that, there is my full support.

It was the opening slides that caused my heart to turn, my stomach to ache, and my face to visibly grimace. We are now branded to be selling truth.

I kept my comments to myself, waiting to understand the rationale, hoping to see that I was caught up on more than semantics; that in fact, the time, effort and energy spent in private meetings on this direction would be validated, and I could offer my full commitment to this direction.

It came to my realization during that meeting that I do not believe in selling truth, though I want to.

What is truth?

I think the inherent rejection to this concept of selling truth was for me personally due to my own life experiences, my own definition of truth, and how I had always tried to apply that principle to my life.

Scientific Truth

  •  A scientific theory must be testable. It must be possible in principle to prove it wrong.
  • Experiments are the sole judge of scientific truth.
  • Scientific method: observations, hypothesis/theory, experiment (test), revision of theory.
  • A “good” or useful scientific theory will make testable predictions of what should happen under new circumstances that are independent of the original problem or observation for which the theory was developed.

For example, scientific method tells us the weight of a helium atom is 4.002602 ± 0.000002 u ( I chose helium because the thought of me with a high squeaky voice amuses me). What makes this a truth is that it will never change. Helium will always have this weight.

Truth is constant. Truth is unchanging.

There are many theories in the world commonly, and inappropriately, accepted as truth. The theory of evolution, for example, is just that; a theory. It cannot be proven via scientific method, and therefore cannot be validated as a truth. As a theory, I can entertain all things, provided they are presented with a logical process, and appropriate results are derived from the hypothesis. One logical theory should not outweigh another for consideration. This is not a discussion about evolution vs. creationism or the like. It was simply meant as an example of scientific truth. Don’t get your panties in a bunch.

Religion tells us God is truth. The Amarr believe this to the point of “enlightening” the rest of the galaxy by force, in order that all may know the truth. There are millions that support this perception, and amongst them it is accepted as a truth. To me, this is subjective, as even amongst the various Amarr sects, there are divisions about the finer details regarding the truth of God. It causes conflict within, and personally I think that’s missing the point altogether. It does lend to a various astute observation, however; the perception of truth is powerful. Truth is black and white to each of us. We believe what we believe. We become passionate in the defence of our truth. We will fight for our truth.

There are no shades of gray with truth. It is either true, or it isn’t.

So how do we sell truth? To me, this mandate is unrealistic, and sets up the corporation to ultimately fail. How do we sell our perception of truth as being more valid than someone else’s, or the perception of our client? We could base our decisions, inside and out, on truth, maintaining a stance of integrity, transparency, consistency, and honesty in all we do. These qualities are all byproducts of truth. Combined they give credibility to our perception of truth.

Truth isn’t something we say. Truth is something we live.

As the conversation continued, there were others under my immediate command that voiced my very thoughts. It made me proud. Bluntly, our directors were asked “How do we sell truth?” Of course, our marketing team fielded the question.

I understand the need for sales people, for marketers and the like. I cringe every time they speak, as there is never a simple and straightforward answer. There is always an elaborate song and dance, a coaxed presentation to convince the audience that the speaker is sharing an epiphany of truth. Sadly, the more a salesperson talks, the less truthful it sounds. It begins to sound just like another marketing line, which it often is. If we can’t even sell truth to ourselves, how can we give our commitment to selling it to clients?

It was made clear that we were not selling truth. We were marketing truth. If we firmly believed in an idea we presented to a client, yet the client strongly wanted to go in another direction, we would fold. We were a business after all, and needed to make money at the end of the day.

My heart sank further.

What good is truth if it is compromised? Where is the integrity, the black and white steadfast nature of truth? How do we talk the talk if we refuse to walk the walk? Alternatively, do we put our money where our mouth is? Do we risk losing business in order to reinforce that we possess the highest integrity, and that our perception of truth is something to be respected and appreciated?

There was conversation surrounding this, but that it would be considered on a case by case basis. That is something I suppose.

Qualities of Truth

Like I said, I’m all over the place with my thoughts on this subject, but here are some more thoughts:

  • truth is an idea, not a reality. Offer up what is real, not what is perception.
  • truth is meaningless if it’s not consistent through thick and thin.
  • truth is demonstrated, not talked about (I know, I’m repeating myself).
  • truth isn’t about saying or doing the right thing. Truth is about transparency, good and bad.
  • perceptions of truth don’t nurture relationship. Being real does.
  • what is real is what is different than what is perceived.
  • selling truth makes it just another commodity.

Keeping it Real

I think I’ve stumbled across the crux of the matter for me. Perceptions vs. Reality.

I would rather conduct myself in a way that is real, then give a false perception of truth. Preaching my perceptions of truth risks alienating others, or insulting them. I would not want to do that with clients. To say “My truth is greater than your truth” has never resulted in anything good historically.

Being real offers so many benefits. Being transparent with our successes, our failures, our struggles; to me that is of value to us internally as well as with our clients. People don’t want to be sold. People don’t want to be preached at. People simply want to be told what is real, and what are their options. They want to be part of the process. They want to be part of the relationship. They want to have complete faith in the relationship.

To me, that is the core of good business – building relationships.

In my short time with this corporation, I have demonstrated that I am real. My behaviours are consistent. My actions are consistent. My processes are consistent. My ability to handle new and surprising situations is consistent.

For me, it’s black and white. I have my perceptions of truth; what is real for me. It’s natural for me to live consistently accordingly as I have no doubts in my own beliefs, in myself.

Of course, everything I have said here is simply my own perceptions on a given situation, so really is there any actual truth to it?

It seems I may have some real decisions to make. Would selling truth compromise my own integrity? Do I believe enough in the approach to not feel dirty? Or perhaps I am just caught up on semantics; it wouldn’t be the first time. Maybe there is a lot more to it than our small presentation allowed for. The Directors did mention it was a working draft and our feedback was welcome.

Do I risk offering my feedback? Would my employment future be in jeopardy? If it was, would I want to continue with such a corporation anyway?

My head hurts, as does my heart.

What are your thoughts on truth? I look forward to your insights.

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22 responses to “Selling Truth

  1. I read once, “Buy the truth and do not sell it.” No doubt we all come along to find truths by many ways, often by error to formulate what in the end “works” and is beneficial to ourselves and often to others, directly and it has purpose and is called good, indirectly and it finds merit only in generic probability – and thank God for learning from the mistakes of others. Ultimately, the saying is true: You cannot serve both God and Money. But as your observation on a truth being an irrevocable force that cannot be altered, ‘Through thick and thin’ is both right in it’s definition of a truth applied to a controlled environment, but wrong when other forces are introduced and the water sinks down along below the ethanol to meet with the oil and when the court is moved and the game is changed, so must the rules. When that time comes, the game must have a new name, I think only you can determine when the changes have come so far as to imply it is no longer the game you signed up to play.

  2. I have a whirlwind of ideas/concepts/arguments to make along these lines, but now is not the time for me.

    However: To thine own self be true. If you are lying to yourself, the rest is garbage.

    If it smells bad to you, don’t tell someone else it doesn’t. If you believe it, let folks know that you do. Your belief may turn out to be misplaced (it happens), but your sincerity is still genuine.

    I believe some wit once said “Always be sincere, whether you mean it or not”, but I think he was joking

    • I think basic truth goes far beyond your Hamlet quote, which no doubt would be close to truth if you were the spear rattler himself – but the very statement itself is so dubious in that it implicates a perspective truth and not a universal truth that Roc (and everyone else) is trying to get at. The only one that counts. I’m looking forward to your more elaborate post when/if you find that time. Just keep in mind both Hamlet and Edmond Dante both followed this advice and in the end, more true to life that fiction can be than the rare honesty of reality, they both betrayed everything they hoped to preserve. Leaving behind a wake of destruction in the path to avenge.

  3. I feel ya Roc. Excellent post!

    You can sell a Rifter. You can sell your soul to the Amarr if you like. However, you cannot sell truth. Truth is self-evident. Truth is the incontrovertible observation of the test result. Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius at earth sea level. That is truth. Water boils at any temperature in vacuum. That is also truth. Try to sell either result though. Try and sell a different result. In both cases it is too easy for the person you would sell truth to to discover it for themselves. That is the real nature of truth. The only value it has is to the one who takes the time to enlighten himself.

    • You may have trouble explaining away why we even have the educational system and students and find knowledge worth enough to spend ludicrously on year after year. What I’m trying to say is a lot of us might not ever have had the privilege of knowing how subatomic particles react under intense pressure and speed unless the colliders were build. That information would be worth money to some and knowledge has a price tag for many people. Perhaps you are not one, and that is good. For wisdom, I empty my pockets dry, yet find greater wealth Invested in its value in the eyes of those that hear it. That, to me, is certainly more fulfilling than any return in capital.

  4. There is only one truth – truth to yourself. You cannot be held responsible for how people perceive you for holding to your ideals. Nor can you make people either accept or understand those ideals.

    You can drive yourself crazy seeking a middle ground between the two. Especially when there is often no ground to speak of.

    I am no salesman. The gray area between need and want, and the levers that sellers try to use to push a buyer well over the want line and into greed make me uncomfortable indeed. So the question becomes this: can you find a place where you are doing right by both parties and can you live with that place?

    All said and done though, be true to yourself. All else is secondary.

    • There again. Truth in this case is not what is unalterable or by any clear definition easily expounded to others with repeatable results/examples – but becomes, according to this very self-absorbed view of truth, simply an opinion with a pretense to self-importance and arrogance.

  5. Interesting Oreb. So by refuting what I’ve said, you condone compromising yourself and/or your ideals in an effort not to be “self absorbed”. What utter bollocks. Next you’ll be stating phrenology is a valid technique for choosing friendships.

    You have quite obviously made assumptions about what exactly my personal mores and values are. Don’t do that.

    Climb out of your ivory tower and go live in the real world for a while and see how you fare. And see just how tough it is to be true to yourself when life is giving you oversized helpings of crapola.

    There. Hows that for an assumption.

      • Roc, do me a favor and delete my second to last post. It’s not right to publicize personal things of other people. The reason I am so aggressive is because I know what carelessness, leisure and complacency DON’T do. I have seen the extent of greed, perversion, and envy. I have known helplessness, uselessness, and hopelessness. I grew up a lot earlier than I should have at 17, and though there was a time I couldn’t remember my father’s face, I was never without one; The Lord has always been a refuge and a sanctuary for me. So why do I love EvE so much? Because here people don’t wear masks. As for assumptions, I don’t think I’ve made any out of place from what you revealed about yourself with your own words. How can you say you are your own truth when there are others right next to you?

      • Someone who has lived through such things should know darned well not to judge others.

        Someone who has lived through such things would not assume others lives have been any less tragic.

        Someone who has lived through such things would know all too well that one of the only things one can control in life with any certainty is one’s personal code of honor. All else can change in a heartbeat.

        My truth and self determination is no less important to me as yours no doubt is to you.

        • You yourself assumed that I had a safe perch from where I threw my rocks from, sheltered and easily perturbed to loose my tongue. I know individual truth can be useful, but it is self-serving and affects only yourself, where you are left, again, fending for yourself by yourself. The source of our strengths are possibly different, but the spring from where I drink can never run dry. You have not known Truth until you’ve used it to heal the sick heart and mend the broken spirit. This is my truth. All else is a setting sun and a wilting flower. A chasing of the wind. I’m sorry for passing judgment, but if one builds a high wall, he only invites destruction.

        • There I go with the “my way is better” thing. We all find our way. I have much to work on still. May we be able to identify our errors and the best path, and hopefully meet at the ends in mutual fellowship. Peace to you.

        • Hi Oreb, thank you for the apology. Most people would not, and even more a less likely to do so in a public forum. A fine gesture that should be acknowledged.

          I am going to ask you to consider this: my personal values include consideration of others, a certain amount of self sacrifice (not too much though), sharing, and working towards a greater good. It also includes being honest with myself and with others.

          It does not include the desire to dominate, hurt, belittle, or destroy.

          The two are very different. I am a bit of a carebear in game, and I guess in RL, but I have some pretty good teeth and a willingness to use them to protect me and mine.

          Please think of these things and consider before posting. You took way too much from what I consider a simple statement.

          Peace to you also and good luck.

        • I suppose I love to complicate things. Something I’ve developed. I could have prevented much had I paid more attention before. If only all things were simple, at face and in heart.

  6. I think truth is something like a prism, or a mirror. We often see things that we believe to be true, but that is only because we have decided to believe that way.

    I know that water boils at 100 degrees here on Earth, that’s true, but like Mabrick said – it boils at any temperature in vacuum. Probably water will boil at some other temperature on some other planet and that will also be true for the ones that live there.

    What I want to say is that truth is not that constant as it seems to be. It’s like a fluid – always in motion. It has different shades and layers in itself and each one of us has different eyes for it.

    Thinking more in this direction – truth is definitely not something that someone would sell. Because it changes. Let’s say that you’ve bought some “piece of truth”. You take it home and one day when you decide to take a look at it, you will see a piece of glass, but it will no linger be truth – you would have payed for something false.

    If I meet someone that claims that he is selling truth, I would turn away immediately. “We sell truth!” is a statement that will lead to broken trust.

    • Ha! If this was directed to me, then I can tell you it got a very deep sigh of agreement from me. Gotta keep this holy rage in the weights and leave it there. Getting too involved. I’ll tone it down.

  7. I think the entire comment thread has really proven my point in this. We all have perceptions of truth, often different and contrary to one another, and are willing to fight with venom to not only defend our truth, but to do what we can to push it on others.

    Perceptions of truth can be very strong, and obviously can result in unpredictable behaviours and reactions.

    Is that really how a business should brand itself? I think I may be left with more questions.

    • I think your point is null. After such a heartfelt discussion, we have only proven that we are all driving in the same direction (those of us that value truth) and the only difference is our method and delivery – and in that, none of us are perfect at presenting that which is. I was wrong in many ways but maintain that Truth is not subjective but substantial. As real and as obvious as the food you taste and the light u see. Only some do not have the stomach for it or the discipline and are often too afraid to open their eyes or look into themselves. We have all spoken pure truths, but surround it with our human uniqueness’. It is self-evident. It must take hold of you and become you so as to be able to say it represents you. We all test it as we test ourselves, something we should do daily, so we can at least stand to look at that mirror. You can say everything is the same and that each one has his/her own interpretation, but our children will prove this wrong every time.

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