Dead Facts

Obsession with the truth is everywhere. Pop culture, the justice system, social media. The combination thereof creating a society where we question each others word and motives. The problem is always the same, that truth is subjective. Twenty people will all view the same thing in different ways, and consider their version the truth. That is where facts come in. Lovely little nuggets of truth. The largest land animal is an elephant. The Marianas trench is the deepest part of the ocean. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

Facts are my friends. My mind soaks in details constantly, even ones I wish it wouldn’t. I excel at Jeopardy and Trivial Pursuit. I found the British game show “QI” a few years ago and binged on it for weeks. Amongst all of the wonderful strange and quite interesting things I learned from the host Stephen Fry, his side-kick Alan Davies, and guests, this was the kicker: there is no such thing as a fact. Facts have a shelf-life. An intellectual half-life. An example they gave was about medical students. Supposedly by the time they have been practicing as doctors for ten years, almost everything they learned in medical school would be untrue.

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Just a little light reading.

It makes sense. Through scientific advancements, archaeological finds, serendipitous accidents, and historical re-writes we unveil new and exciting things about the world, human history, and the universe itself. Change is the only constant. Traveling and living out of a backpack for a few years made me pretty content with that. Still, I took my new knowledge about facts pretty hard at first.

All of the varied and wonderful tidbits of minutiae floating around in my brain were now suspect. I hate being called a liar. What if I floated out a fact out of my fat mouth and it was wrong?! My image as the Lizz-opedia would be ruined. Then I calmed down. I remembered that there are very few people who care quite as much as I do about things like being right, knowing everything, and winning at pub trivia nights. Most of my facts and my seat on the throne of Know-it-all-dom are safe. For now…

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