Theoretical physicist, Brian Greene once said; “The boldness of asking deep questions may require unforeseen flexibility if we are to accept the answers.”   As I consider this quote, I cannot escape the quandary created by the words “unforeseen flexibility”.

There is no doubt that the year 2020 challenged our society with a number of significant questions.  If Google is correct in that, “A question is the most powerful force in the world”, then a wrong answer could be its kryptonite. 

"What do you mean?" text painted on the pavement

Can you imagine the nerve of a professor who would ask a multiple choice question in which all but one answer is almost true?  I mean really, how fair is that?  While this is a good way for professors to evaluate content mastery it also teaches a very valuable life lesson.  Truth is not always self-evident, especially in today’s time.  As a society we have become master manipulators of information, with the ability to make anything seem almost true.

As a result, it is imperative that we learn to discern that which is absolutely true from that which is almost true. I cannot imagine anything more devastating than living with the consequences of “almost true”.

If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance.

Orville Wright

The story of R.U. Darby and his uncle provides a good example of the consequences associated with believing that which is “almost true”.  In the story Three Feet from Gold by Napoleon Hill, we find Darby and his uncle in Colorado mining for gold.  They finally discovered a rich vein of gold and worked the mine until the vein eventually ran out.

At some point, I would assume they asked the question; is there any more gold?  Evidently, their answer was no.  That answer led to the sale of the mine and mining equipment. After completing the sale, Darby returned home broke.  

Too bad Darby did not realize the answer to his question regarding the gold was almost true.  After the new owner consulted with a mining engineer, the new owner discovered a huge deposit of gold three feet from where Darby and his uncle stopped their work.

Man panning for gold

Like the gold in Hill’s story, truth is sometimes obscured by that which is almost true.  As was the situation with Darby and his uncle, that obscurity has the potential to lead us to the wrong conclusion.  

“Unforeseen flexibility” challenges me to open my mind to the fact that some of the things I believe are almost true.  That phrase has taught me how important it is in this day and time to be a critical thinker.   Too many times I have been guilty of believing something is true simply because that position fits into my paradigm or because it may be self-serving.

In a day in time in which we are told there are no absolutes, I pray that the Lord would open my eyes, that I might see the presence of absolute truths in this world.  I so desire to have the ability to see beyond the three feet of distractions and recognize the existence of absolute truth.  

Some men see things as they are, and ask why.  I dream of things that never were, and ask why not. 

Robert Kennedy

In a day ruled by opinions reinforced by an array of podcast, it is easy for us to accept what we are being told as the truth.  Especially when we hear it long enough (check out the topic of cognitive ease).  It is dangerous to be a lazy thinker and simply accept what we hear as being the truth.   There was a time in which mankind believed the world was flat, that is until Christopher Columbus chose to believe otherwise.  

I challenge you to be a critical thinker.  Don’t simply accept the social narrative of the time.  Be inquisitive and challenge intellectual positions.  Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries of knowledge and propel our world to greater advancements.  More importantly, do not be afraid of thinking for yourself.

Marcus Aurelius once said; “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is perspective, not the truth.”  Aurelius’s quote has served me well as I sift through information in search of the truth.  Rest assured there are absolute truths in this world and that truth flows from the one called the truth, the way, and the light.

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