Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

The Truth as a perception of reality

11 January 2018


Last weekend, a Dutch newspaper published an interview with a Dutch journalist who radically changed his opinion about his profession (Volkskrant). The journalist stated that he cannot recall that the purpose of journalism was ever discussed in editorial meetings. It took him years to recognise the negativism in media perception.

I was also intrigued by one of his other remarks: “Many journalists are inclined to paint a dark picture of reality. They describe half-truths and even less, because in many ways the world is doing well.” He continued by giving examples of positive developments that are unfamiliar with many people because most media do not report about it.

I can relate to the above. Journalism has indeed become an opinion serving a certain demographic group of (potential) customers, rather than an attempt to describe what is happening – or Why. The (legal) principle of a fair hearing is often ignored or neglected in journalism. In Latin this concept is called audi alteram partem, a.k.a. let the other side be heard as well.

We all need something to believe in. Hence, my concept of the 7 Belief systems. For some, it’s about the Truth. For others, it’s about LoveMoneyPhilosophyPoliticsReligion, and/or Science. We believe in the Truth as we see or perceive it. Our perception then becomes our reality in this belief system. Few people are able to change our perception.

Fake news (my 2016 blog) is a tailored perception (or opinion) serving a certain demographic group of (potential) customers. The degree of bias differs and is often along the lines of the arrogance of the Left versus the ignorance of the Right (my 2017 blog). Both arrogance and ignorance are a result of closed mindedness (my 2016 blog).

Open mindedness is required for being able to change our beliefs. Open mindedness requires a head full of doubt (see video below). Terry Pratchett has a great quote on open mindedness: “The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” Doubt provides fertile ground for (sound) arguments.

In general, the 7 Belief systems benefit from open mindedness, else beliefs will become more and more extreme. Closed mindedness will make you believe that there is only one Truth. Open mindedness will make you believe that each side has some valid points. Combining these valid points often results in acceptable compromises. We call this the Dutch polder model, a.k.a. consensus decision-making. It brings long-term social stability.

Perhaps Love is the only Belief system that benefits from closed mindedness. This may explain expressions like Love is blind, and/or Love sees through rose coloured spectacles. Some 400 years ago, François de la Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) already stated: “In friendship as well as love, ignorance very often contributes more to our happiness than knowledge.”

Head Full Of Doubt / Road Full Of Promise (2010) by The Avett Brothers

artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


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