Bertrand Meyer On Platitudes

Refactored from TriteSayingsComeInPairs.

Now, BertrandMeyer talks about the distinction between a principle and a platitude (although I don't think the observation is original to him). A principle can be negated (or otherwise turned around) and still make sense, whereas the opposite of a platitude is just foolish. So, both "bide you time" and "there's no time like the present" look ok, and look very good as a pair. But isn't there something fishy about "the truth will set you free"? As opposed to either one of "lies will set you free" or "the truth will make you a slave"?

What you don't know, can't hurt you?

I'm not sure the distinction is so clear:

The whole gestalt here seems to be balance. Truth is relative, and I'm always skeptical of people who rely purely on logic. They seem to be missing something, like those who rely too much on dogma or faith.


The truth does enslave. It makes you responsible. Either because truth about you forces you to be responsible (Foucault, M. (1979) Discipline and Punish-- ThePanopticon?) or that knowing the truth makes you responsible to act on it or protect it.
Truth is always a three sided coin: Your side, their side, and the truth - BabylonFive. Attempts to specify truth are always vulnerable to exceptions. When I first heard of MicrosoftPalladium I confused it with ThePanopticon?. Such is the issue with digital piracy. Calling it stealing is misleading, and should be distinguished from stealing physical objects. Stealing by copying, and stealing by taking are not equivalent. Any discussion of truth will degenerate into debates over definitions. See LaynesLaw

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