by J. R. Practix
Accuracy: (n.) the quality or state of being correct or precise.
There they go again! The dictionary makes the assumption that “correct” and “precise” are the same. They aren’t. Because in defending the accuracy of my statements, I can often prove that something is correct and yet completely avoid precision. In other words, once I cross the fifty percent point on correct, I can prove it’s true, even though 49% of what I represent is not true–and therefore not exactly honest.
This happens so much that we have a series of phrases for it:
- little white lies
- promo talk
- political speech
- padding your resume
It has become so much a part of our society that the word “accuracy” tends to bring a smile of cynicism to the universal lips of every American hearer. After all, nowadays everyone brings their own statistics to prove their point, to convince you of their accuracy, when the other side of the coin flips over with contradictory numbers, which are supposed to be equally valid.
It has given me pause.
There are many things in my life which I’ve lied about, which at the time of speaking, I would have insisted were accurate, but not precise. In other words, there was a story behind each and every proclamation to give credence to the idea–if you understood my reasoning in the first place.
We hate accuracy because deep in our hearts, we are all ashamed of where we are. When we were younger, we had great aspirations and set out on a journey to achieve them, only to run out of funds in Buffalo on our way to New York City. So we sit in Buffalo and try to pretend that we’re still heading for New York City–or that we’ve already been there–or that Buffalo has become our New York City.
You know what the problem with such inaccuracy is? A deceiver is the most deceived person in the room. Why? Because he or she knows the real truth. The rest of the people present are only guessing.
Yes, the worst victim of lying is the liar. He or she knows that the truth was available when the audience listening is stuck with the story presented.
I don’t know if I’m completely cured of promo talk, embellishment, disinformation and the like. I’m sure in a pinch I will squirm and come up with some sort of representation of my truth which is more pleasing to the ears of those who surround me. But as I’ve tried to become a more accurate person–precise on the details–I have discovered that most folks don’t really care one way or another, but they would certainly like to trust my portion of the truth for which I am responsible.
Remember–the boy who cried wolf ended up getting eaten by his previous lies. Why? Because nobody came. If you lie enough, people expect you to lie, so even when you come up with something important, which comes from a place of quality, no one is listening.
So here’s to accuracy, which is the pursuit of “precise” minus the ambiguity of “correct”–because being politically correct is only good if you’re looking for votes. If you’re looking for friends or the favor of God, you have to go one step further.