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    This was in my email this morning:

    On this day of your life, Jackie, I believe God wants you to know…
    …that truth spoken is a gift given. Truth withheld is more

    than a gift denied, it is an arrow aimed at the heart.

    It has been said that “the truth hurts,” but the exact

    opposite is true. No truth is too hurtful , and no lie is

    harmless. Because every truth opens your heart to

    another, and every lie separates it.

    Yet know this: The way you say your truth can be hurtful.

    So speak your truth, but soothe your words with peace.

    I find in life I want to speak true but I don’t always know how.  If I can’t find the right words I won’t say it because I don’t want to add more harm.  Yet, if I’m withholding the truth it can cause more harm in the long run. I think of it as the American Idol affect.  Everyone around a person encourages their singing, tells them they are wonderful, so they try out for American Idol.  Except they actually can’t sing at all.  They aren’t close to on pitch, they have no rhythm, it’s just a fiasco.  Their world comes crashing down when it didn’t have to.  If their family had told them the truth instead they would have been saved the embarrassment. “no, you can’t hold a tune but that doesn’t matter.  Singing is for fun, not for everyone to try to make a career of it.  We love you anyway.”

    I’m happy to say that it’s rare that truth is spoken here without being tempered by peace.  The truth can be hard enough to hear without it being said in a way to purposely cause harm, or by using words that are emotional which cause unintentional harm. 

    Lately I’ve been faced with a person I really struggle with (not on this site).  I want to say so many things, but I want to say them out of anger and frustration.  There is no peace, thus I hold back my words.  While I know this is better than lashing out, I also know that until I find the words this person may be suffering as well.  It’s a challenge. 

    To me, speaking truth is spirituality in action.  I cannot speak true with peace without calling upon my spiritual beliefs.  I must find compassion and understanding for the person in order to find that peace.  And I must calm my emotions so the inspiration of the Force can come through me.  When that happens, I know because it feels right.  Even if the person doesn’t receive the truth I know I did the right thing. 

    I think this is an important Jedi skill, one that the general public would expect from us.  The ability not only to discern truth but to speak it in a way that is peaceful and has the greatest chance of reception.  It’s something that I will have to work on for quite some time. Hopefully this stimulates some thoughts from you all to help me and others speak truth with peace. :-)


    Its something I struggle with on a daily basis now that I have an additional head under my roof….    because my counsel isn’t sought out and so me saying anything… regardless of how I might put it… gets construed as meddling in affairs that aren’t my business.    I bite my tounge a lot when I know the recipient isn’t in a frame of mind to receive anything.

    Like last night’s arrest of this individual and his supposed husband….  brought up a lot of concerns that we have about him and his situation…    I may journal it later.     


    A very good point.  I find there are times when it may be impossible to speak the truth. Those are very challenging times indeed.


    I would like to share something that has been on my mind a lot lately.  The question of truth and honesty seems to be coming up in a lot of ways and in many different places.  And at the same time, I have been trying to comprehend the Japanese concept of “makoto”.  Looking at the Japanese concept has given me a whole new way to look at the question.

    “Makoto” is often translated as “truth”, but this is a bad translation for English speakers.  We often understand “truth” to mean “objective fact” and “makoto” is seldom used that way.  Sometimes it is translated as “honesty”.  This is getting a little closer, though we still often see “honesty” as “stating the objective facts”.  My favorite translation is “sincerity”.  What you say may not always be factually accurate, but you always mean it whole-heartedly.

    One of my favorite lines about this comes from the movie The Last Samurai (with Tom Cruise).  Cruises character is assigned a translator, Graham, who tells his story thusly, “I came over with the British trade mission, oh…years ago.  I was soon relieved of my position.  I had an unfortunate tendency to tell the truth in a country where no one ever says what they mean.  So now I very accurately translate other people’s lies.”  What Graham fails to understand is that the facts are not always one’s most honest concern or the best way to express one’s opinion.  He’s wrong to say that, “no one ever says what they mean.”  In fact, they are saying exactly what they mean, they’re just not sharing those facts which they feel might lead the hearer away from what they really want the hearer to understand.

    Inazo NITOBE, who wrote one of the classic texts on bushido virtues, claims that the Japanese are not so different than Westerners in this, pointing out that if you ask, “even an American of any refinement, to tell you whether he dislikes you or whether he is sick at his stomach, […] he will not hesitate long to tell falsehoods and answer, “I like you much,” or, “I am quite well, thank you.””

    And for a Jedi example (I’m watching The Phantom Menace as I write this), Qui-Gon takes a blood sample from Anakin who asks what it’s for.  Qui-Gon states it’s to check for infections and then, instead, tells Obi-Wan to get a midichlorian count.

    I’m not saying the Japanese virtue of Makoto is better than the Western virtue of Truth, but it is interesting to consider a different way of looking at the same question.


    I like the addition of sincerity. That’s very interesting to consider.


    I think it also helps illustrate that ‘truth’ and ‘fact’ are not necessarily the same thing.    Sure all facts are true, but not all truths are facts. 


    In theory,  all facts are true. In practice, we have a poor track record of determining a fact from an opinion, therefore many things we call facts can be false. I’m thinking of the famous, tiny book called How to Lie with Statistics. Statistics starts from facts and turns them into whatever the person wants.


    Only if you’re a poor statitician.    (Sorry, kind of a touchy subject for me… being an analyst by trade and all.)

    If you’re doing it right, you’re letting the data tell you the story.. not twisting the data to support the story you want to hear.    Statistics don’t lie.  Those who abuse them do.  :)

    Often its the interpretation that is getting masqueraded as fact when its at best a reasoned conclusion based on the facts and at worst, just pure opinion.

    There is also the added piece of data validation, which is often skipped over entirely during analysis.  Are your metrics defined correctly and really telling you what you think they are?    There’s an art and a science to it.  Sadly there are far too many people in my trade giving the rest of us a bad name.

    MJ Hannigan

    Speaking truth is quite easy, rather or not someone is ready to hear it, well that is another matter.  I have found myself in hot water for speaking truth over the years, but that is their issue not my own ratheror not they accept the truth that is offered.


    True Stryse. But I would think much of the poor quality is because of most people’s poor critical thinking skills. They don’t recognize the problem because they can’t think through it properly. I’m sure it comes up for me a lot, I just can’t see it. That’s one reason I like watching shows like Bones because there is a hard line between the facts and conjecture. It helps me see just how many times I go beyond facts without recognizing that I have.

    Hannigan, to say that people can’t accept your truth is a cop out. We all have to learn how to communicate in a manner that allows us to be heard. We must temper our words with compassion and discretion. Otherwise you’re just pushing buttons to push buttons. Anyone who cares about getting their message across will recognize the part they play in that (all part of communication training). Also, you have a poor track record of distinguishing facts from your interpretation as well – you are no different than most people. You can think you speak Truth, but you are only speaking your truth, which is based on interpretation and perception and not just on facts.

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