Is Truth Dead?

At least, that's what the current issue of TIME Magazine has screaming from their cover. The blood-red letters against the solid black background has an ominous effect.  I saw it as I was returning from a weekend business trip to Ontario, CA, and I found the timing of this issue more than a little coincidental.

See, I'm really focused right now on the topic of TRUTH.  I've been feverishly working on my latest book, Character Counts: Bringing the Rotary Four-Way Test to Life, and as many of you know, the first question in the Four-Way Test reads, "Is it the TRUTH?"  Character Counts is a deep-dive examination of the character building blocks that are embodied in each of the Questions in the Four-Way Test and the topic of truthfulness and trustworthiness is a crucial one in this study.

TIME's article is really about current President Donald Trump and his pattern of misleading statements, but it does bring us to question truthfulness as a whole.  Nancy Gibbs, TIME's editor, says in your column "Where is the line between lie, spin and delusion?"

It's an important question. What is considered TRUTH these days?  As I explored in the book, there is so much moral relativism in our society these days, is TRUTH a matter of perspective or is there something hard and firm we can all agree on that is TRUTH?

And this is where my discussions with other Rotarians has gotten interesting. I recently asked my Rotarian contacts, in their opinion, which of the four Questions in the Four-Way Test was the most important, and why?  (more…)

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Rotary 4-Way Test: Don’t just recite it — live it

I had a meeting the other day with a gentleman I admire greatly.  He's really a super individual: smart, very business savvy, has a great heart for important causes and practices the art of service -- in other words, the ideal Rotarian.  I had originally met him at a Rotary club where I was speaking, so I had always believed he WAS a Rotarian.  Imainge my surprise when he told me he wasn't actually a Rotarian, but he had been made an honorary Rotarian because of his service to both the club and the community as a whole.

I found this quite surprising. When I asked him why he didn't become an actual Rotarian, his answer surprised me: he shared with me very frankly that, in his opinion, there were too many people in the club that, while they all talked about the importance of The 4-Way Test, they didn't really live it.

Now, this happened several days ago, but it stuck in my craw and has been bugging me ever since. I've had the same experiences myself, I have to admit, and it really troubles me when a fellow Rotarian behaves in a way that goes against the principles of The 4-Way Test. Especially when they act that way toward other Rotarians.

For those of you who may not be Rotarians but are reading this blog, let me quickly cite its four principles so you know what we're talking about.  In the 4-Way Test, we Rotarians are encouraged to consider...

In all we think, say or do…:

  • Is it the TRUTH?
  • Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  • Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER friendships?
  • Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Now, I've certainly discussed the individual meaning of the points of The 4-Way Test in other posts, so I don't plan to do that again here. Feel free to look those up if you want to explore its meaning and significance more deeply. What I do want to talk about is the importance of not only reciting it, but the importance of believing it and living it, if you are truly bought into the purpose and meaning of Rotary. (more…)

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