Truth serum drugs in theory lower a person’s inhibitions to a point that they will tell the truth. Alcohol is considered a truth serum. We all know of someone who has blurted out the truth while under the influence. Maybe you’ve done it yourself? Truth serums have not been scientifically validated so legally they are none binding. The Supreme court in 1963 ruled that confessions produced under the influence of truth serums are considered coerced and inadmissible. Moral and ethical questions about their usage have also been raised.
John 8:32 famously stated, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” We all seek the truth and the freedom that comes with the truth.
Most people know the truth on a subconscious or primal level. But what is known and what is spoken are two different things. We have public truth and private truth. There is a spoken truth and then there is the real truth.
The real truth is all-too-often not said aloud.
In the politics of electing a new president, the truth is high-caliber spin. Both sides proclaim their version of the truth. Most people simply accept that they are being spun and just stop paying attention. Apathy sets in. People know the truth and they know that they are not being told the truth. More apathy. Helplessness. More than fifty percent of eligible people don’t bother to vote.
In the workplace, when people start to feel they are being spun a corrosive and hostile work environment can develop. This occurs when leadership’s version of the truth doesn’t match reality. The rank-n-file employee loses heart. Some will quit and find a new job. Others feel trapped – they stay and accept the spin. They start to believe the spin. Mediocrity sets in. The trapped person becomes cynical at best and embittered at worst.
In the home, when a couple no longer believe each others’ version of the truth hearts harden. Love disappears. Divorce becomes an easy antidote.
When I started sitting on the bench 20+ years ago role-playing Forrest Gump, I noticed an interesting thing. Gump was a form of truth serum.
People felt free to speak the truth. An injection of Gump would lower a person’s inhibitions. While sitting with Gump on the bench, people felt free to speak candidly. They felt a freedom that did not exist in the home, the workplace, or in our political climate.
Why was that? What was it about Gump that made people open up, drop their facades, lower their inhibitions, and speak the truth?
I believe Gump represents goodness. People see Gump as honest. Kind. Sincere.
Gump is also safe. He can’t fire you from your job. He won’t ostracize you for your political beliefs. And he can’t create hell for you at home.
Gump was – and is – a sounding board. The bench became a sounding board much like the psychiatrist’s couch.
Initially I found this surprising. Even shocking. After all, it was just a movie and a fictitious character. And I was only role-playing. None of it seemed real.
But in time, I came to realize that Gump represented truth. Real truth. People were tired of being spun. They were tired of playing the game. The were tired of the media’s version of the truth that did not match their own reality.
They were tired of the facade required to keep their job. They were tired of living in a house that was once filled with love and optimism but had become just a place where they ate and slept.
I learned to listen. Simply listen. Without even trying, people would reveal their truth. With a little probing, floodgates would open and truth would spill out.
Gump is truth serum. The world needs more Gump. The world needs more truth.