[June 24, 2005]
“Take the blue pill or the red pill…” why does it have to blue or red? Why not black or white? Why does the skin color of Bruce Banner turn to green when he morphs into the Incredible Hulk? Why do we call the color yellow, yellow? These were just some of the thoughts in my head as I try to device ways as I valiantly struggle and resist the tempting promise of “slumber land” during the “oh my! Why the hell did I go here bored-room” meeting.
The president was discussing truths. What is the truth? What is the truth for us? According to him, what is true for us may not be true for everybody else. And so the “is it your truth or my truth” phrase was born. IMHO it sucks to hear these words coming from a president who I’ve heard from everyone, is an open minded person.
The “open-minded” president challenged what we see as truths, classifying them as “our truths” but when his truth was being challenged, he defended it to be as a fact and not only his truth. Who is he to distinguish what is fact from just being one’s truth? Is all that he believes in, facts? Is he the authority when it comes to determining what is universally true?
“One of the most rudimentary skills a newspaper editor must possess is the ability to distinguish facts from opinions. Facts are facts. They are the building blocks that make up a singular universal truth” Joseph Baldomero once said. So the “open-minded” president categorizing what we know are facts to be “our truths” and proclaiming “his truths” as facts might just be way out of his league or head in saying that. “Try to see the situation when you’re on the other side of the fence” he said. But when it was the “open-minded president on the other side of the fence he forgot all about that. Before advising us it’s better if you’ve advised yourself first.
The million dollar question now is: How can we distinguish facts from opinion? Who can say that something is a fact and not mere opinions or as the “open-minded” president puts it—personal truths?
One plus one equals two is a fact. Two multiplied by two equals four is another fact. Math is universal. And no matter what you do with it you will always arrive at one answer. But how is fact determined when it comes to non-math equations? Take the case of the blue or red pill for example. Whoever wrote the script for The Matrix is the key to that fact. The pill being red or blue and not black or white as I was asking in my head is a fact. I know this might sound complicated but the pill is blue and red. That is a fact because that is what the movie chose—blue and red. We can only challenge that with our “what-ifs” but at the end, no matter how may arguments we present, one single fact remains—the pill is blue or red not black or white or pink or blue. The Incredible Hulk is green in color. That is a fact. That is what his creator made him to be. The Hulk’s creator is the authority in that fact.
Got it? Here’s another example, the color yellow will always be yellow. No matter how we put it. It will always be yellow. The world is flat until proven not to be. It was universal truth before that the world is flat but one’s personal truth that the world is round turned out to be the fact. Personal truths attested to by others with proper analogy and study as time goes by evolve to become universal truths. That also is by the way, a fact.
And now we go to the paper. What we say may be “our truths” to some but take a closer look and scrutinize what we say. I would not state my opinion as a fact if I have not proven it to be or if I have no personal experience to warrant it to be a universal truth. If I think that something is just my opinion, I would openly say it. If you ask me, “what is the truth for me? I would answer you with my personal truth. But if you ask me if what is the truth? I will answer with a fact. Let me repeat Baldomero, distinguishing facts from “personal truths” is one of the most rudimentary skills of an editor
With how the president conversed with us during that “bored-room” meeting, I got really disappointed, not only with how our EIC’s recommendation was immediately turned down, not only of the fact that he was signing papers left and right while he is talking to us (talk about respect begets respect) but mostly of what I expected the president to be. People were always saying that this is one president who is open-minded, a president you can approach and you can be sure he’ll hear what you got to say. But with how the “bored-room” meeting progressed, I say that the “open-minded” president is overrated, that I can truly say is a fact.
(To be continued)