Monday, November 22, 2021

Crucified by the truth?

By now you must be wondering why I persist in calling people 'friends' when the only reason they come to me at all seems to be to pull me down. It is not exactly masochism, it's just that it is easier to type 'friends' than 'acquaintances', even with spellcheck helping you with the spelling. (You have guessed that this post is again about a friend who has popped in of a purpose to point out another of my idiocies? I never realized that people, with IQs qualifying them for Mensa, land up on my blog.)

You know, the truth can pretty much be crucifying if you are me. I mean, there are such a lot of things that a man is supposed to be, which I am not, so it is a rare truth that actually ends up not being detrimental to what little reputation I have managed to cling on to. But you know what burns me up? When people actually LIE using the truth and I am unable to refute it.

You think that the Truth is the Truth and the Lie is a Lie and the twain will never meet? Or, in other words, it is impossible to lie using the truth? Just shows how little you know about abilities of the friends that I have.

Take this one for example.

"From the time he joined my section, we have had nothing but problems."

Yup, your Mensa IQ must have told you that the 'he' there is me. AND what does that statement tell you? Especially when I cannot deny that I did join the section on day x and from day x+1 there had been a spate of problems? That I was RESPONSIBLE for those problems, right? Wrong! The problems related to work done BEFORE I ever knew that this was the section that would have the honor of being graced by my presence. I can say THAT and refute the implied accusation, right? Yeah, right, and end up being labeled a jinx for ever, instead of merely as an incompetent idiot. Did my dear friend say the truth or used the truth to lie and imply that I was responsible for the problems? Depends on whether you get the jitters if a cat crosses your path or not.

Or consider this one.

"Well, this is the guy who adds up 2 and 2 and gets 5." Of course in the days when people actually knew how to do addition instead of leaving it all to computers. AND, yes, the 'guy' there is you know who.

Truth? Yup it did happen ONCE. OKAY! Once! In about a 100 odd statements with some twenty computations each in the period we knew each other. So, truth, really? But does it say anything of the fact that I made an error ONCE in 2000 computations? Nope. So, what is it you get from that statement? That I am a mathematical nincompoop. You still believe that the truth cannot be used to establish a lie? Why do you think that courts have people swearing that they will tell the 'Truth, the WHOLE truth, and NOTHING but the truth' but for the fact the people are quite capable of telling partial truths and mixing truths and lies in order to establish a lie by way of implication?

What's worse is that he said to my subordinate. And I cannot even vent about it to any other friend without that chappie getting on my case with 'If it was the truth how does it matter where he said it?' I mean, in the days when body shaming was still considered humorous, did anyone ever make fun of the height of a short guy to another short guy? Exactly! By the very fact that he made that joke with that chap, he indirectly indicates that he thought that guy as the Ramanujam of mathematicians compared to me. (That implicit comparison with the other guy does not exist if the other guy merely happens to overhear it.) And I am supposed to see it as the same as if he had just told it to me alone? Especially when that other chap mucks up his computations three times out of ten? What if he had said it to my clients, would it still not matter who the truth was told to? Really!

You know these logical fallacies that I keep going on about? 'Post Hoc ergo propter hoc' is the fallacy which he depends on people to make when he said that thing in the first example. 'After I came in, problems occurred, SO problems occurred BECAUSE of me'. The second is the common one of generalizing. You have seen worse uses of the latter. Like "He cannot even speak good English" which seeks to establish that lack of knowledge of 'good English' somehow makes the person bad at everything. AND it DOES establish that in the minds of a lot of people. Truth can lie because people are prone to logical fallacies. Which is how it is popularly used by rhetoricians, politicians being the best known of them. The problem, though, is that there ARE those who are themselves prone to logical fallacies and genuinely believe the conclusions that arise out of faulty logic and quite innocently indulge in what is a rhetorician's tool to manipulate the gullible.

When you do it too often, though, YOU get generalized as well. If people see what you say as a lie, even if they are unable to see exactly WHY it is a lie, YOU get the reputation of being undependable. And THAT gets generalized, so even the truths that you say will be taken for lies. No matter how innocent and well-meaning your intent, no matter that you did not even realize that you WERE lying by implication on a few things, or because you genuinely believed them to be true.

Well, unfortunately, my friend does it only to me. It is easier by far to say something is factually incorrect rather than establish that the implication is incorrect. So...

"What? Actually, the problems started from the time YOU joined. My misfortune is that I joined six months later in the same section."

"No way! It's actually YOU who did that and I had to tell you that 2 and 2 add up to 4. It took me half an hour to convince you!"

Well, if the chap WILL be clever and lie by implication and I am not as clever, the only thing to do is to give the lie to his facts!


  1. Hilarious - Exactly! By the very fact that he made that joke with that chap, he indirectly indicates that he thought that guy as the Ramanujam of mathematicians compared to me. (That implicit comparison with the other guy does not exist if the other guy merely happens to overhear it.)

    Hope you are well Suresh sir. Would you be coming down to Madras for the Margazhi season this year sir?


    1. I'm well. Hope all is well with you as well. Don't know about coming for the Season, don't even know if there is going to be a Season. 😛

  2. Happy Thanksgiving! May your day be free of irritating humans 🤣