The Truth is a Single Point
“Knowledge is but one point, but the ignorant have multiplied it.”
(The Seven Valleys p. 25,)
I was explaining to a friend the other day about Kuhn’s concept of the structure of scientific revolutions. I was most focused on the idea of how paradigm shifts occur. It seems that human beings are so resistant to change they will behave in most peculiar ways when faced with information that conflicts with their limited experience and understanding. For example Giordano Bruno was tortured and burned to death for his beliefs about an expansive universe. Others with great genius are demonized or deliberately removed from western literature like Imhotep, the African responsible for the world’s first known monumental stone building, the step pyramid, and the father of medicine.
Even when faced with clear and undeniable facts, human beings avoid truths that frighten them. When was the last time you were at a meeting where ash trays were on the table and individuals liberally lit up cigarettes? I can still remember being in such meetings. Today, there would be such a collective outrage that no one dares expose people to such blatant health dangers. But what does it take for a change in beliefs and actions to occur? It is clearly not enough to simply share a few facts and evidence alone. No, there needs to be a preponderance of evidence! In other words, so much evidence it is impossible to refute. This knowledge becomes so profound and pervasive it forces a paradigm shift in our thinking and eventually in our actions and behavior.
While sleepless in Minnesota, I decided to look at my emails. Two people had sent me messages addressing identical issues with links to several entirely different videos on the topic of structural inequalities historically imposed on African Americans in general, and black men specifically. The videos featured men and women, white and black people, scholars, journalists, actors, and even an astrophysicist. And they were all saying the same thing about race and racism in America.
Could it be that the non-colored masses in America have finally awakened to a truth so painfully obvious and conspicuously clear to people of color? Is it possible that a dimly perceptible shift is occurring in the thinking of white people in America about racism? While I am encouraged, I am well aware of how long it took humanity to except the fact that the earth was not the center of the universe and how many millions of deaths from smoking occurred before the tobacco industry admitted what they had always known about the dangers of smoking. And now there’s the whole global warming debate that is ratcheting up and all the while the planet is screaming ‘save me!’
I stand with so many that are exhausted with raising the truth about racism and the harm it engenders to every corner of this country from colleges and universities, to corporations and prisons, from the U.S. Senate to pulpits, from palaces to street corners. I digress…. Maybe it’s my lack of sleep or, the frustrating realization that some still have a choice as to whether they will acknowledge, deny, pervert, or simply ignore the truth . I will not, I cannot…
How about you?