Is Conviction a Foe or Ally of Truth?

Convictions are more dangerous foes of truth than lies. – Friedrich Nietzsche

This week I am following an ongoing Korean drama series entitled Criminal Minds which mind you features one of my favorite Korean actors, Lee Joon-Gi.

This drama  focuses on a group of highly-trained profilers in the fictional National Crime Investigation (NCI) team who tries to profile and track down criminals to solve cases.

When we say profiling, by the way, it means “the recording and analysis of a person’s psychological and behavioral characteristics, so as to assess or predict their capabilities in a certain sphere or to assist in identifying a subgroup of people.” (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/profiling)

Anyway, while watching it, the above-stated quote came up and sparked my interest and imagination.

So, our topic today is about conviction.  What does conviction mean?

Conviction means a strong belief or opinion or the feeling of being sure that what you believe or say is true.

If conviction is such, how then it becomes a dangerous foe of truth rather than an ally?

Let us site an easy example how this line of thinking must have come about.

For example, in common household products we use, detergent powder for one, let’s say I have been using this one product for several years and strongly believe that this product is the best ever product by far. Even when surveys or vast promotions occur, since I firmly believe that the product I have been using is the best, I probably will insist on what I believe and deny whatever evidence other people will present.

On that example, you can probably see where and when conviction can become a threat to what is true. Can you picture out how much more dangerous can it be if on a larger scale?

A person who firmly believes he is not doing a grave mistake despite of it being morally wrong will continue to commit the same mistake over and over again despite the fact or truth that it is wrong, for he had convinced himself he has abide by his own beliefs.

This must be how those committing crimes from petty theft to plunder have convinced themselves to do what they do so as not to buckle down at the prick of their conscience.

That is when conviction becomes the truth’s foe rather than an ally. That is, when we let ourselves be blinded by our wrong beliefs to the point of denying the truth despite of it glaring at us like the sun at midnoon hour.

Truth as Wide as the Sky

“You can never cover the sky with your palm.” – Prince Jin Seong/Lee Yeok, Queen for Seven Days Korean Drama

Queen for Seven.Days is a story about two brothers fighting for the throne to the Kingdom of Joseon due ro rhe evil manipulations and machinations  of state councilors who wished to have their tight hold over the leader of the nation, as well as a poignant love story of a couple who chose to part for each to live and love each other for a long period of time.

From the many memorable dialogues this drama series had, one of the lines which caught my heart and imagination is the above-quoted line.  Prince Jin Seong uttered these words during one of the altercations between him and his older brother who was the King when the latter was trying to subdue him with the ever-present thought that the younger brother (Prince Jin Seong) is out to take the throne from him, knowing that their father, the former king, wanted him to abdicate the throne to his younger brother once he had already come of age.

This quote, “you can never cover the sky with your palm” is, of course, a metaphor which means that one can never really hide the truth.  

As how it is not possible to cover the sky with your palm, unless you delude yourself that you are able to by covering your eyes instead, just as when we try to deny the glaring truth by trying to close our eyes to it or by trying to look the other way when we see something that should not be but feel we have no power or the right to be involved in, but still deep in our heart and if we let our conscience prevail, we know we can never totally evade or deny reality.

“The truth will always prevail” is another way to say it, but sad to say, no matter how wide the sky, most people nowadays will choose to cover their eyes with their palm rather than meet the glare of the sun and be blinded or burned, for often the truth can be as blinding or as hot as the sun and many peole will rather settle for half-truths or little white lies than to know or accept reality, they will be willing to become a racing horse let loose on a track with its eyes covered with blinkers or blinders.  

If you are honest enough, can you ever say to yourself, you had never ever tried to cover the sky with your palm?

Facing The Mirror

When we say “mirror”, what’s the most popular line that comes to mind, will it be “Magic Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all,” by the Evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?  Or in Philippine setting, is it Boy Abunda saying, “I’m bringing out my magic mirror”?  How about if you are to face your own imaginary mirror, are you ready to face your true self?  Am I?

Oftentimes, on Facebook, we see people (acquaintances, friends, family) who love to post famous quotes or derogatory lines that seemed to point fingers at another person or is meant to make another feel shameful or to prick someone’s conscience BUT failed to notice that these lines are more apt reminders to themselves.  I am sure a name of a particular someone will suddenly pop into your mind.

We ask ourselves, how come they don’t seem to realize it?

That is, for the plain reason that no one can see the mud on one’s face unless one faces the mirror and be honest enough to admit the truth that is revealed there no matter how harsh is it.

Yes, I say, it is very difficult for anyone to face one’s self in that imaginary mirror and see what is revealed there.  I’ll bet that not so many will even spare a moment to face that mirror.

Will you?

Facing the mirror might reveal two things:  things you are proud of yourself and things that you will never even admit to yourself to be capable of thinking or doing, things you are ashamed of.  Thus, facing the mirror is tantamount to facing the demons haunting your mind, or looking at the ghost of a forgotten past, or the gaping mouth of a lion making you tremble in trepidation, fear and shame.  It is, in other words, admitting to your weaknesses and mistakes to that one person who is most important to you, YOURSELF.

For even to myself I have to admit that facing that mirror might ask more than I am ready to give and might reveal more than I care to accept.

But today, I want to gather up the courage to face that mirror and look into what it will reveal.

It revealed that in my life, there are things that made me wish I can turn back the clock of times so I can change them, or that I can even change myself for the better.

It also revealed that there are things I am capable of doing for the sake of love, for the sake of my family, for survival, for the right to exist in this world.

But most of all, it revealed I am what I am today because of those events that happened in my past.  I can say that I became a much stronger, braver, and wiser person than I was before.

I may have grown in a  family that may not be all that different among the usual sob stories you see in television, but let it suffice to say that at a young age, I gained a deeper understanding of life.

I realized that in order to change what people can remember of me and my family, I had to change the direction of their thoughts not on the sad facts of my life but on my triumphant journey towards achieving the goals I have set my eyes upon.  I wanted them to always remember, instead, where I am now.

I am neither filthy rich, nor am I with a distinguished position in society but I feel what I have now–a stable job, a supportive mother, a loving husband and three lovely daughters, an undying dream–are enough to make me feel I am on the top of the world.

There are maybe things that I have done that I may regret for my whole life but then there is no point on lingering on such regrettable past for what is left to be done is to move forward and to try doing what is right so I won’t commit the same mistakes again.  I will maybe forever whip myself in my mind but I will not allow myself to forever cower in fear and shame, for in this world, I may not be perfect but I am the best in giving my all for my family.

So, how about you?  Are you ready in…

(Photo Credits:  Workbook on Facing the Mirror by Daphne Delay)