Fact and Fiction

Not every truth is fact.
Not every story we hear is fiction.

Stories are woven into everything. They teach us, console us, elevate us, and bring us down.

I was raised by avid readers, in a home with bookshelves of novels and regular trips to the library.

These days it takes me months to finish a novel, but that old love of storytelling persists. It is the undercurrent in my consumption of blogs, articles, podcasts, YouTube videos, audio books, and online courses just as much as TV, movies, and games.

I see stories everywhere.

Given how black-and-white my parents’ beliefs are, I feel privileged to see the world in shades of grey. While our relationship has its problems, my beliefs weren’t forged through a period of rebellion. I was a rule-follower, and I can see my upbringing at the core of many of the beliefs I still hold dear.

But I think there was an influential moment at a young age which stuck with me. Unsurprisingly – it came from a work of fiction. Specifically, Return of the Jedi.

“You’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”

Experience has only reinforced this over the years.

Truth isn’t simple. It is formed by an understanding of facts and an intent to authentic and trustworthy.

But it isn’t immune to bias. Facts can be incomplete, or poorly qualified. And sometimes the desire to be authentic and trustworthy results in conformity to expectations which may not themselves be as honorable as the intentions of the conformist.

We’re always telling a story. It’s always from one point of view. And while the truth we believe, the truths we espouse, may be grounded in fact – they are not themselves fact.

Tell your stories, but accept that your story may need to evolve over time as your world view expands and your knowledge deepens. Appreciate the challenge of those whose understanding and experience deviates from your own.