I was recently watching the live broadcast of the Australian Parliament as the various members and ministers, on both sides of the house, rose to speak during Question Time. I soon began to get that familiar feeling of disappointment and bewilderment at the quality of the level of discussion so typical of the Westminster system of debate. So I tried a simple metacognition experiment.
As each speaker made their claims and touted their party’s policies in the House (which would also be recorded in Hansard) I simply asked myself: “But, is it true?” “Is what you are now saying a genuine attempt at making a fully true statement?”. And then I gave that statement a ‘truth rating’ out of 10 … 1 being low and 10 being high. An an Elector of Australia I can safely assume this is my right to do so.
Rarely could I confidently answer, “Yes, that is true!” If I had to make a subjective guess I would say that more than 80% of their statements and claims were only half truths … at best. And, as the widely-quoted Yiddish proverb says … A half truth is a whole lie.
(NOTE: This is a simple experiment for you to try for yourself. Tune in to, or go sit in, your local equivalent of the Australian Parliament and try this for yourself. If you like, you can post your results below. The same experiment could be used in other situations where the detection of half-truths is required. In the media there are many opportunities to do this in current affairs, business, politics and other programs and articles. Religious sermons, TV commercials, blogs and tweets may also provide useful opportunities to detect half truths.)
For the first time in history lies can travel at the speed of light.
In our exploding world of cybermedia with social media, photoshop, digital manipulation, phone-hacking and peer2peer messaging at the speed of light, I believe that the global epidemic spread of lies may be one of the most serious challenges facing long-term human survival.
I believe this challenge needs to be taken very seriously and could be considered to be of a threat level similar to that of lethal epidemics like Avian or Bird Flu. Many scientists share this view.
As an antidote, SOT has put forward a new thinking methodology to help meet this challenge. To follow on from the previous SOT thinking tools, thinking hats and brain software, this new tool is called: greyscale thinking: how to sort a truth from a lie.
What Makes A Great Teacher?
I was once contacted by a young man in London who is a teacher/coach and personal trainer/consultant. He is in the early stages of his career and he sought my advice. He asked me this question: What makes a great teacher? That is a very good question. It’s exactly the question he should be asking as he embarks on this vocation.
My response to him was this: While there are many things that can make a teacher a much better one there is one non-negotiable, one litmus test, which defines a great teacher. This test is about how the teacher’s performance stacks up to the BIG question: IS IT TRUE?
How to choose Your Teacher. Ask: Is It True?
Is what the teacher is teaching a TRUTH or a LIE? The answer to this question is what sorts out the frauds from the professors. If this test is passed then the teacher can be a great teacher if not then the teacher will always be a failure … in my view.
Anyone can make a claim. All sorts of claims are made in business, in science, in religion, in families, in governments, in education, in politics, on blogs and in the media. But is it a true claim? How closely does it correspond to reality? Or, is the claim a lie? How do we know? Does it even matter?
Yes. It does matter whether a claim is a truth or a lie. For example, many people believe things which are dangerous lies. These lies may have been protected from thinking for hundreds of years. These lies all have consequences which may range from deception to dementia to death.
Like a brainvirus, these lies can infect the brains of very young children. This is happening right now to millions of children as you read this article. I do believe that the global epidemic spread of lies may one of the most serious challenges facing long-term human survival.
ACTION STEP: If you feel this is important (please don’t spam lists of people) but send this article on to a selected friend, colleague or family member who may find it useful.
To help meet this challenge I am introducing the idea of greyscale thinking (US grayscale). Greyscale thinking is simple, fast and scientific. Anyone, anywhere and anytime can use greyscale thinking to help sort out a truth from a lie.
Any child can learn to use it. Greyscale thinking can be taught to kids by parents and by teachers. Any employee can learn to use it. Greyscale thinking can be taught to employees by managers and business leaders.
The idea of greyscale thinking is: claim divided by questions equals truth or lie. This idea can be expressed as the formula cÃ·q=t>l.
This means that once a ‘claim’ is made it can then be subjected to ‘questioning’. Questioning reveals whether the claim is closer to being either a ‘truth’ or a ‘lie’.
Six True Questions
SIX TRUE QUESTIONS: The methodology of greyscale thinking is the cognitive skill or habit of putting a CLAIM to the SIX TRUE QUESTIONS: What and Where and When and Why and How and Who – (Click here for more on the questions).
The answers to each of the 6 questions moves the CLAIM to and fro along the greyscale continuum: | TRUTH – w? w? w? w? h? w? – LIE |
| TRUTHÂ Â Â Â – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Â Â LIE |
The answers to each of the 6 questions indicate, on the balance of the evidence, whether the CLAIM is more likely to be a TRUTH or more likely to be a LIE.
MAIN POINT: You will have noticed we are saying “a truth” rather than “The Truth”. Searching for truth is a journey and not a destination. We are more concerned with being right than being righteous. No individual brain can ever contain perfect knowledge of all possible facts. No brain can ever know the contents of the other people’s brains who are also involved in the situation. No brain can ever have perfect ownership of The Truth. And, that’s the point.
The rule of science is that you can have a good idea today, a better idea tomorrow, and the best idea … never! Why? Because there are always more facts to uncover–more opinions, more priorities, more options, more consequences, more positives, more negatives, more objectives, more measurements, and more experiments that can be tested. History has shown this to be a truth.
It is the deliberate effort one makes to move closer to a truth and to move further away from a lie that produces all the benefits of greyscale thinking. No claim should ever be protected from questioning
Any claim that has ever been made in all of history and any claim that ever will be made can be illuminated, examined, investigated and accepted or rejected using the 6 true questions of greyscale thinking: What and Where and When and Why and How and Who – (Click here for more on the questions).
What is greyscale thinking?
Greyscale (or grayscale) thinking is a tool for sorting out truths from lies.
What is Truth?
Truth is that which, on the balance of evidence, corresponds to reality.
There are two serious cognitive problems we need to solve to survive and prosper. Greyscale thinking is a powerful tool anyone can use for solving both these problems.
Problem One: How to know if a truth is really a lie (or a half-truth)?
Problem Two: How to know if a lie is really a truth?
What difference does it make?
The difference is an immediate increase in:
– your survival intelligence: your skills to survive and prosper in a rapidly changing environment, and
– your speed of thought: the speed with which you can escape from your current view of the situation in order to find a much better view.
How long does it take to learn?
It takes ten minutes a day, for ten days, to learn greyscale thinking. 10 x 10.