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    The Three Stooges of Truth…

    All truth passes through three stages:

    first it is ridiculed;

    second, it is violently opposed;

    third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

    Arthur Shopenhauer

    I don’t remember when I first heard this quote, but I can’t count high enough to list the number of times I’ve heard it tossed into conversations in the year since, oh, What the Bleep came out.

    “Why are people so critical of your movie?” a genuinely confused viewer asked William Arntz, one of the Bleepin’ producers.

    “Well,” he said, chin thrust forward. “All truths go through three stages…”

    Much of the audience murmured in agreement with the truth of this axiom about truths.

    The error Arntz made — along with hundreds of others whose ideas have been equally if not more stridently ridiculed, including everyone involved with The Secret and people who claim to cure cancer by putting something in your butt that’s akin to a Dyson vacuum cleaner with a turbo — is that Shopenhauer was saying:

    a) All truth was originally ridiculed
    b) Item X is true
    c) Therefore, item X was ridiculed

    But what Arntz and the others are saying that Shopenhauer is saying is:

    a) All truth was originally ridiculed
    b) What I’m saying is being ridiculed
    c) Therefore what I’m saying is the truth

    I’d like to visit Shopenhauer’s grave. I’ve never seen anyone actually spinning theirs and I’m sure it’s quite the sight.

    The list of “truths” that were ridiculed and later turned out to be hogwash (no offense intended to the wash used for hogs), is legion.

    And, speaking of Shopenhauer’s grave, and I was, Shopenhauer was gravely mistaken.

    I’ll let you prove him wrong by commenting with your favorite truth that was not ridiculed on its way to acceptance.

    But given how readily we nod our head in agreement when someone makes some statement about “The Truth” (thanks to our mind’s having an amazing ability to instantly find confirming examples and then not look for counter-examples), it might be more accurate to say:

    Most statements about the truth pass through three stages:

    first they are seen as being self-evident;

    second, they are opposed… much to the consternation of true-believers, by people they call cynics;

    third, they are ridiculed… and then the former true-believers say they always knew the statement was bullshit, anyway.

    3 Responses to “The Three Stooges of Truth…”

    1. Ron Grubaugh Says:

      But you’re overlooking something Steve. In the case of the “secret” proponents, all they need do is visualize universal acceptance and there it is. Why would they bother with cynicism, ridicule and non-belief?

    2. sashen Says:

      You know, Ron, I made that point to one of the producers. I asked “So, why are you attracting all this dissent instead of automatic acceptance.”

      Can you say, “Dodge the question” ?


    3. Matt from new zealand Says:

      I think maybe the word sceptic might better replace the word cynic as there are plenty of people that would love to belief something if for the fact that they had imperical evidence (can you see whats wrong with that statement?). It’s still funny that a person like myself can still use the word believe and fact in the same sentance and this as you can see is one of our greatest banes….we don’t need facts to believe….we need facts to know! The new age movement fails to understand this. Yes you can be a cynic depite having large amounts validating information to prove oneself wrong.Cynical can equal a closed mind,sceptical can equal an enquiring mind. As Francis Bacon once said “it’s not wether you agree or disagree, it’s wether you way and consider”. Personally if I was offered up a choice between a closed mind, an open mind or an enquiring mind. The enquiring mind wins hands down. Being proven wrong can be beautiful thing just as much as being proven right. The truth aint always pretty…… it just is.





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