Marianne Klancke: Whatever happened to Pluto?
by Marianne Klancke, certified professional coach
Grand County, CO Colorado
What Happened to Good Old Pluto?
Imagine my shock when I heard that Pluto has been drummed out of the ranks of the planets. With all due respect, how can that be? I must have been in the second grade when I memorized the wall charts clearly demonstrating Pluto at the end of the planetary lineup. What happened? Has one more fact bit the dust?
Think of the endless established details of our lives heralded to be fact. However, it takes nothing more than to examine our grandparents’ old school books to giggle at the explicit “facts” that are now fable. There are a countless number of facts, once verified, that have officially been un-verified.
With such an unreliable reputation, facts should be on shaky ground at best. However, by some system of faith, facts still rule with an iron fist. We remain certain in our beliefs that there exists a collection of knowledge that is not to be questioned and will never change.
Being equated to truth and reality, on one hand, or actualized by observation and existence on the other hand, fact is complicated by a wide range of conception and construction. To help bring the fact mystique into focus, we must explore the multiple perceptions and subsequent responses to fact.
Like all things, fact, yes even fact, can be as individual as there are people perceiving the statement. One man’s fact can very well be, and often is, another man’s fiction. Whether you are a scientist observing the universe or a philosopher witnessing the truths of man, fact finders will never be finished finding facts – facts that completely contradict former facts.
Even still, “fact is fact”, or so we have always heard. Our society is infatuated by fact, most often demanding the use of fact over instinct in all decision-making. When it is that a statement is declared or even insinuated to be fact, we rarely question the source and substance of this so-called absolute information.
Think, too, about the contradiction of dueling fact against fact. Of late, we have been bombarded with political facts that are presented as undeniable by those who speak them. However, these points of truth, related as fact, have often been as different as day and night, causing accusations of dishonesty and calculated deceit from both sides.
The truth is, a fact could be both faith-based and empirically-established but still not garner the devotion applied to the “popular vote” fact. As a group, we can socially construct a fact by merely following the crowd and dutifully suspending all disbelief. The strength of a fact may very well depend on the degree to which a group collectively promotes its existence.
That being said, some extremists argue that “fact does not exist” while other deep thinkers declare, “fact is true existence.” Confusing? Well, if fact does not exist, then, this discussion is over. However, if the later declaration is true, then we best “get our facts straight”, as it is so often suggested. That may be more difficult than one may think, given the complications already contemplated.
In considering fact, we would be well served by first realizing that we are, in fact, responding to that particular piece of information as absolute. Check this habit of thought and explore a few questions before applying the benefit of no doubt. Consider the source. Employ your own logic. Investigate. Observe. Most of all, do not assign power or authority to the facts or the fact-sayers until you examine your own thinking.
Facts – can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Without a doubt, we all relish a collection of comfortable base thoughts in which to believe and act upon. I suggest that we can embrace our truths, realities, absolutes, and commitments while also practicing reflective thinking, flexibility, and an outstanding sense of humor about those beloved “verifiables” that may very well transform from fact to fiction in a blink of an eye.
Note: Marianne Klancke is a certified professional coach and group development facilitator. What are your coaching questions or communication concerns? She welcomes any comments email@example.com.
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