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The Firesign Theatre [1] had a comedy satire album about folks who believe in UFOs. The repeating statement was ‘everything you know is wrong!”  As I age, I realize this cheeky statement becomes more and more true. Everything I know is wrong.  Let me give you a recent example. I am reading “The Cooking Lab” whose author scrutinizes cooking techniques to discard rubbishy beliefs we inherited from our grandmothers and use what really works. [2] Last night I read soaking raw pasta in warm water for 15 minutes is good enough for a baked pasta recipe and there is no need to boil the stuff. I have never heard of such of thing and I am eager to try this next time I attempt a lasagna which has never worked thanks to the noodles matter.

I can never determine whether or not to feel outraged or relieved when another one of my ‘truths’ topples over like a statue during a political revolution.  Here are some examples from my childhood:

Santa Claus : outrage.

Red meat:  relief.

‘Your teachers and colleagues will always support you’: outrage.

‘There is something wrong with you’: first relief, later outrage.

Eggs – this one goes on/off the ‘everything you know is wrong’ chart. Doesn’t matter, as I love them so.

It seems most of my adulthood is unlearning the nonsense I was fed in my youth.  In science this isn’t ‘bad’ per se. Theories and facts change as more data is collected.  What I do for a living no way resembles what I did as a resident back in the early 90s. [3]

There is a difference between misinformation viz. information given in earnest that turns out to be false, such as you can always trust the police, versus disinformation, which is blatant rubbish and the speaker knows it, such as what comes out of the mouth of Kellyanne Conway.  One must always be skeptical of so-called truths presented as irrefragable.  As a boy, I naively trusted all grown ups as always telling the truth as they were always telling me how bad lying was. [4]

There seems to be a lesson here: question everything, and that includes Grandmother’s cooking techniques.

I am waiting on a few current dogmas to acheive ‘everything you know is wrong’ status, and I will be blithe to see them go. One or two of them I would gladly push off the pedestal. For the love of me I can’t think of an example right now, but when I do, I will tell you.

While it is uncomfortable not to have clear and set-in-concrete truths it does give me relief of being open to the advancement of truth even if I never quite achieves it.

Spo-fans: have you had a recent ‘everything you know is wrong!” to share ?

 

 

[1] The Firesign Theatre is a comedy troop from the late 60s/early 70s who should be better known. They used mostly auditory puns and repeating themes; they were the American “Monty Python”.  Their parodies on ‘film noir’ detective radio shows is worth the price of admission. If you don’t care for such, well, you’re no fun you fall right over.

[2] His lofty tome should be subtitled:  “Everything you know about cooking is wrong” .

[3] This falls into the ‘relief’ category.

[4] This whopper is almost beyond outrage.

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