The Truth

TimeWatch Editorial
February 15, 2017

According to the Free Encyclopedia, “William George Jordan was born in New York City on March 6, 1864. He graduated from the City College of New York and began his literary career as editor of Book Chat in 1884. He joined Current Literature in 1888 and became its managing editor. In 1891 he left Current Literature and moved to Chicago where he started a lecture program on his system of Mental Training. He returned to Current Literature in January 1894 as its managing editor and then resigned again in August 1896. In 1897 he was hired as the managing editor for The Ladies Home Journal, after which he edited The Saturday Evening Post (1888–89). From 1899 to 1905 he was the editor and vice-president of Continental Publishing Company. He was the editor of the publication Search-Light between 1905 and 1906.” A careful search will reveal some rather profound quotations that are credited to Mr. Jordan. One of those quotations is related to one of his books that was published in the year 1902 entitled: “The Power of Truth.” Here is that quote.

“Into the hands of every individual is given a marvelous power for good or evil---the silent, unconscious, unseen influence of his life. This is simply the radiation of what man really is, not what he pretends to be.” ― William George Jordan


There is indeed a profundity to that statement that should be one of the foundational stones of any life. So often it has been discovered that attempts to cover or hide the truth has ultimately led to embarrassment and shame. Listen to how William Jordan begins his writing of chapter one.

“TRUTH is the rock foundation of every great character. It is loyalty to the right as we see it; it is courageous living of our lives in harmony with our ideals; it is always—power. Truth ever defies full definition. Like electricity is can only be explained by noting its manifestation. It is the compass of the soul, the guardian of conscience, the final touchstone of right. Truth is the revelation of the ideal; but it is also an inspiration to realize that ideal, a constant impulse to live it.” William George Jordan, “The Power of Truth” Page 7

As if he found it important to contrast his description of truth, he now proceeds to describe its opposite.

“Lying is one of the oldest vices in the world—it made its debut in the first recorded conversation in history, in a famous interview in the Garden of Eden. Lying is the sacrifice of honor to create a wrong impression. It is masquerading in misfit virtues. Truth can stand alone, for it needs no chaperone or escort. Lies are cowardly, fearsome things that must travel in battalions. They are like a lot of drunken men, one vainly seeking to support another. Lying is the partner and accomplice of all the other vices. It is the cancer of moral degeneracy in an individual life.” William George Jordan, “The Power of Truth” Page 7

There is something poetic about the way Mr. Jordan writes, but make no mistake; the poetry in no way depreciates the factual nature of his thoughts. There is a definite inspired quality here that gives a warning, rather than simply a description of characteristics. His very next paragraph continues the inspired warning.

“Truth is the oldest of all the virtues; it antedated man, it lived before there was man to perceive it or to accept it. It is the unchangeable, the constant. Law is the eternal truth of Nature—the unity that always produces identical results under identical conditions. When a man discovers a great truth in nature he has the key to the understanding of a million phenomena; when he grasps a great truth in morals he has in it the key to his spiritual re-creation. For the individual, there is no such thing as theoretic truth; a great truth that is not absorbed by our whole mind and life, and has not become an inseparable part of our living, is not a real truth to us. If we know the truth and do not live it our life is—a lie.” William George Jordan, “The Power of Truth” Page 7

Living at a time when alternative facts are the order of the day, we find that our entire lives are empty shadows of reality. We do not know ourselves. We have never actually met. The virtual realities of our surroundings have colored our thinking and decision making. Our goals are not our own, because we have never actually seen our potential. Thus, that which we do or say is based upon another reality. Listen to this:

“In speech, the man who makes Truth his watchword is careful in his words, he seeks to be accurate, neither understating nor over-coloring. He never states as a fact that of which he is not sure. What he says has the ring of sincerity, the hallmark of pure gold. If he praises you, you accept his statement as “net,” you do not have to work out a problem in mental arithmetic on the side to see what discount you ought to make before you accept his judgment. His promise counts for something, you accept it as being as good as his bond, you know that no matter how much it may cost him to verify and fulfill his word by his deed, he will do it. His honesty is not policy. The man who is honest merely because it is “the best policy,” is not really honest, he is only politic. Usually such a man would forsake his seeming loyalty to truth and would work overtime for the devil—if he could get better terms.” William George Jordan, “The Power of Truth” Page 7

The power of conviction is indeed the engine of character. What is most important is not the willingness to enter into compromise, but rather, to live by the true conviction of the heart.

Cameron A. Bowen

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