Submitted by ub on

“The first casualty when war comes is truth.”

The original quote is "The first casualty when war comes is truth". Hiram W Johnson, staunchly isolationist senator for California, to the US Senate in 1917 (the year of his election to the Senate, where he remained until his death in 1945).

Although frequently attributed to Sun Tzu (544–496 BC), "All warfare is based on deception"; the Sun Tzu quote actually refers to methods of subterfuge in war and goes further to explain, "Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near." The first corroborated quote reflecting the true essence, almost verbatim is "In war, truth is the first casualty," attributed to Greek writer/poet Aeschylus (525BC - 456BC).

International audiences learn about news from #Ukraine while #Russia shuts down journalism with threats and fines. Truth threatens unbridled greed.

We worship in many ways and via various religions. From tribal beliefs to organized, scientific findings are our only option.

Alternative facts and truths truth are in the eyes of our judicial system. In court, we swear a solemn oath: to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This shall & will be done.

We search for the truth and aspire towards nobility. Every one of the great Faiths asks us to strive for absolute and complete honesty and truthfulness, both internally and externally:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” 

Honesty and truthfulness are the first steps for a pluralist since all Faiths can be similar and have spiritual teachings in common.

These fundamental human tasks—Telling the truth and knowing the truth—have a close, symbiotic relationship with one another.

When we tell the truth, we practice the essentially spiritual skill of knowing it first. Lying kills a truth barometer we all have when we are born and diminishes our ability to recognize the truth. 

The worst of all qualities and the most odious of all attributes, and the very foundation of evil, is lying, and that no more evil or reprehensible quality can be imagined in all existence. It brings all human perfections to naught and gives rise to countless vices. There is no worse attribute than this, and it is the foundation of all wickedness.  I have gotten in plenty of trouble over the years from saying the truth. Do you know the difference between subjective truth; deductive or logical truth; and inductive or scientific truth? Also, there is the news and there are views and the two shall never be confused.

Subjective truth, then, is simply a personal opinion, influenced by life experience and taste and cultural conditioning and as widely variable as there are people in the world. Subjective truth, then, is valid—but only in a personal way.

Deductive truth—which we arrive at through logic—can probably best be explained through the example of a syllogism: all fish swim; a trout is a fish; therefore a trout swims. That’s an ironclad, logical argument—if the premises are true, then the conclusion must also be true. Thank you, Aristotle, Wittgenstein, and Alfred North Whitehead. So when we want to have a productive discussion about the truth, we normally use the reasonable, rational framework of a logical path to reach it. Deductive truth, then, is universally valid.

Inductive or scientific truth gets trickier. From scientific observations, carefully made, we draw inductive conclusions about larger realities: we know what is true that the Earth is warming, as scientifically measured temperatures in many places and many times over such a long period.

Our task as individuals involves discovering truths, and if we keep an open mind and if we tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!