Just something I’ve been pondering the last few days, which I thought I’d share…
that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
a fact or belief that is accepted as true.Definitions from Oxford Languages
Truth is tricky. I look at those two definitions, and I see conflicting meanings. One simply says that truth is based on fact. The second is is far more nebulous, based on the acceptance of something as true – truth as relative to fact or belief, rather than standing on its own merits. I think that’s where it gets a bit tricky.
There are many who subscribe to the notion that if many other people accept a belief, and if you believe it yourself, that belief becomes truth; if a belief is accepted as true it must be true.
And so we create our own truths, in a way, based on our comprehension of the world. Never mind that our comprehension is always limited, because we can only comprehend things within the limits of our knowledge and understanding. And no-one can know everything, or even close to it, much less understand it.
It feels like we live in a time in which people subscribe to their own notions of truth, and are confused when others hold a differing view. Never mind if those truths were created from lack of information, or purposeful misinformation, or an inability to understand information.
Let’s be careful of how we use this word, be mindful of it’s meaning. Let’s consider our assumptions about our own truths.
4 thoughts on “Ain’t that the truth?”
I read your post x 3 to make sure that I understood your point of view properly. I can understand why that topic came up to your mind. I think it comes to the mind of a lot of us once in a while throughout our lifetime. I personally think that truth is something subjective as well. Let me try to explain.
I remember while I was in college (about 35 years ago) our philosophy teacher spoke one day about truth. He quoted Vladimir Lenin: “A lie told often enough becomes the truth”. We had to make a homework about that quote in link whit Nietzsche’s book: “And so was speaking Zarathustra (Ainsi parlait Zarathoustra)”. That book was for me so boring and difficult to understand even in my mother tongue. I couldn’t see what was relevant between Nietzsche’s book and Lenin’s quote. I tossed that homework away for a couple of days.
Then I realized that Nietzsche was talking about trans humanism (‘surhomme’ in French or becoming a kind of superhuman) and to achieve that goal human being had to construct a subjective truth. This is at least what I understood from those two minds. I wrote down my ideas on paper hoping I would just have a good score. Pfiew! I passed.
Dictator Stalin later used that quote for his own evil’s purposes. Many other despotic figures (Khmer rouge leader Pol Pot,…) in history used that quote. It is still used today around the world by some malicious persons.
I think that when you respect yourself you then respect others. When you do so you don’t have to lie and the truth prevails. Sometimes we all make a lie on purpose or not to protect ourselves or some loved ones. At least this probably happened to many of us. I even used my own kind of ‘truth detector’ in my profession knowing that I have to deal with many different personalities. It also apply in many professions as well as in our personal relationship with our relatives and acquaintances.
That being said it is time for me to get some rest.
Sarah, I can relate to Sylvain’s narrative and remember taking philosophy in college and asking similar questions. The professor started the class with the question “What Do You Really Know?” With a bevy of answers, he replied that “You Only Know What Your Mind is Able to Understand,” Descartes wondered how people knew their perceptions of reality were not the illusions of a demon. In fact, he went on to ponder how people know whether they exist at all. He mused that his own perception of himself might be an illusion. The answer Descartes came up with for this dilemma was, “I think, therefore I am,” which means that thinking is the one thing he knew could not be faked.
There are two kinds of truth. One depends on our opinion of things. This is called subjective truth. The other depends on the way the world actually is. This is called objective truth. Most people never think about the difference between the two. And that makes any discussion of the concept of truth a difficult one to tackle. But we must tackle it. The way we understand truth impacts every aspect of our lives. And the way we answer life’s biggest questions depends on it implicitly. Truth is an objective feature of the world we live in. It’s foundational to reality itself.
I believe that the perception of the truth is being manipulated by the echo chamber called social media, and spreading like wildfire globally. People are accepting the theory, conjecture, rumor, and lies as the truth. It is being fueled by fear, uncertainty, loyalty, and misinformation. We live at a fast pace and most people don’t have the time to fact-check the information being spread and it becomes the truth of many and has divided our country and the world.
I find the most interesting exercise in the truth is to select a topic for discussion with the opposite sex. It is fascinating what is construed to be the truth, and can be fun depending on agreeing to the concept, “Friends Can Agree to Disagree.” Debating in college was a true measure of what we really know and how little we understand. Lastly, is a quote from Socrates, the Greek philosopher
“True wisdom comes to us when we realize how little we know about ourselves, and the world around us” ~Socrates
I agree with the dangers of the echo chambers of the internet. It’s too easy to shut out dissenting voices, and too difficult to verify the barrage of information.
Truth is sharing reality, We shared joy, pain, tears, happiness…Someday Very Soon, We will all share the same truth. A World truth. Pain or not, enjoy it and life. You only got one here…