How Many Fingers Am I Holding Up?

On either side of your body, starting somewhere(hopefully) by your shoulders are a set of bones which you most likely know as your arms.  At the ends of your arms, are five pointy collections of bones which you will probably refer to as your fingers.  If you do, you are wrong.  Not wrong as in incorrect, but wrong is absolutely, unequivocally, unquestionably entirely NOT RIGHT.  It is quite possible that I have never ever met you.  It is likely that I have never even seen a photograph of  either one of your limbs.  Yet somehow, I can say with utter certainty that you have absolutely no idea about what is happening at the ends of either of your arms.

Picture the scene – it’s a crap day.  It is raining, the sky is greyer than a monk’s underpants.  It is lunchtime at a Primary School.  There are dozens of children filling a miserable concrete playground with enough kinetic energy to propel a small rodent to Saturn.  Two young boys get in an argument about a bench.  Although some other kids see parts of it, nobody sees all of it.  When the kids go home that evening the first boy tells his Mum that he was bullied.  The second boy tells his Dad that he got in a fight.  Nobody saw either boy strike the other, yet there were many witnesses to the first boy pushing the second.  Was it a fight?  Was it bullying?  Who was the winner?  Who was the victim?  How is possible that two small children that cannot possibly grasp the concept of advantageous lying  somehow do?  What if the first child is an only child?  What if the second child has two big brothers?  Who was right?  Who was wrong?

There are three conclusion we can draw from the tale of the two boys.  The first is that there is no such thing as a single truth.  The truth is pliable to the facts which weigh upon it.  The second is that our truth changes shape to accommodate any information we gain access to.  There isn’t such a thing as a certain truth, a pure truth that can never ever change.  The third is that a snapshot of a moment is so extremely misleading that only a fool would believe that they are privy to the whole story when they have only caught a glimpse of the truth.  If these conclusions are indeed valid why is it that so many people share images that have no other purpose than to shock, often alongside a hastily assembled slogan intended to draw a sense of guilt for a single event that took place within the myriad of  atrocities that are being carried out in the countless number of active war zones around the world?  Are we really that much more foolish online than in the real world?

There is an easy way to test this.  Extend your arms in front of you.  Now extend your fingers.  Now count them.  How many fingers are you holding up?  The answer dear friends, is eight.  And you can’t argue with that.  After all, it’s reality, isn’t it?