Humans vs. The Truth
By default our instincts seem to be tuned towards appreciating truth and detesting lies. We have an universal fundamental sense of ethics which pretty much always prefers to know and believe the truth rather than a lie.
But how exactly do we know what is the truth? What is our process of determining this? And isn’t the very existence of this process in our minds a potential corrupter of our knowing of the truth?
The truth is believed to be completely objective, existing despite anyone’s perception of it. Believe what we wish, the truth is the truth and will never cease to be what it is. Your belief alone cannot alter it.
Is there a human being who can objectively claim to know the truth? Isn’t that very question already skewed from the beginning? A human? Objective?
To attempt an objective analysis a human being would have to completely disregard their own subjectivity, but I wonder if this is really possible. What will a human be left with if he is stripped of his subjectivity? Based on what exactly would such a human analyze the reality? I would dare to suggest that without its subjectivity, a human is not a human anymore.
Isn’t whatever we learn and experience feeding our subjectivity, not our objectivity? No two persons are the same for no two persons experience and learn same things at the same times and in same situations. How can then any human hope to be completely objective when he is from the beginning, by simply being, subjective. As data finally concluded, “a person fills in the missing pieces of the puzzle with his own personality resulting in a conclusion based as much on instinct and intuition as on fact”. Isn’t that the real truth? (No pun intended, but, it is there.)
If our “conclusion” is always based on a combination of our personality, our subjectivity and the facts we know as such, this conclusion can hardly ever be considered objective and always contains a significant risk of being simply false. Faced with this realization we can never hope to know the complete objective truth on pretty much anything, especially considerably complicated issues such as those usually addressed by (a)theology. We can only get so far. We can strive to be as close as we possibly can, but to at any point assume that we know the complete truth is, in the face of this realization, quite overconfident and foolish.
This may be one of the greatest testaments to the importance of an ongoing open and perpetual conversation between all humans in a constant state of exploration. Any conclusion reached is merely a milestone on a road to the forever escaping singularity that is the truth.
The truth I have referred to above would be the absolute and universal truth, if such a thing exists. There is, however, something we could call a relative truth. Sometimes in our language we refer to something known as “the truth of the matter” or “the truth of yourself”. This must be the relative truth, relative to the matter at hand or a person in question.
Maybe, just as Einstein determined the theory of relativity in physics, we could get to know such a concept as the relativity of truthiness, or relativity of reality. While we can continue believing in the existence of an absolute truth and an absolute reality, the fact is that a lot of the reality which we really perceive is the one which we create ourselves, collectively in this world we call Earth, in this region of space we call the Solar System and pretty much anywhere else that we might find ourselves going.
We talk to each other, we act upon each other and our environment. By merely existing we are affecting it and the “truth of the matter”, the truth of the universe around us. As we converse with each other in our striving to get as close to the holy grail that is the absolute truth and knowing of absolute reality, we are creating a perception of reality and effectively a collective reality of our own. No matter if it is at least slightly different from the, to us escapable, absolute reality, it is what a significant portion of us finds to be true, and hence in our collective common sense it is the truth.
A century from now this truth may change yet again.
This may be one of the greatest testaments to the importance of keeping an open mind and embracing change as the only constant in our universe. Isn’t it interesting that, as our common collective sense may currently tell us, the objectively real universe is always changing just as our perception of it does (our current relative “truth” about it). That change is the only constant in the universe may be the biggest fact of all, but don’t get too stuck on it. That fact too is changeable by itself, literally.
All of this simply underscores that if humans care about the concept of truth, the best thing that they can be are explorers and journeyers – perpetually. The fulfillment does not come from the realization of absolute truth because when will you ever be sure you really have it? It will come from any discovery in itself, no matter how small or big it is, as long as it is significant to the discoverer.
I hope this ramble made ANY sense. After all I’m just one of those explorers stumbling on a thought or two every now and then. Maybe you’ll have a thought or two after reading this as well.
Video quote posted under fair use!