What is your concept of truth?

What is your concept of truth?

What is your concept of the truth, and why is it germane to the practice of your life?

Well think about it.  If you live your life according to things that you believe are true, and they’re only partially true or flat out wrong, what do you think the impact would be on your life?

Pretty dramatic.

Throughout history people believed in many things that we know now are not true.  The earth is not the centre of the universe, diseases like the plague are not afflictions of the poor, there is no superior race and men are not meant to rule over women.  But even today some people will argue some of these points and don’t believe in evolution or that it’s possible for humans to affect the climate.

All of these false beliefs and half-truths have tremendous consequences for how we live together.  For the most part, my way or the highway beliefs lead to separation, strife and conflict.  We literally kill each other because of our beliefs.

How do we know what we know?  it’s amazing that epistemology—the branch of philosophy that deals with this question—is not taught at school.

We’re not taught to validate sources, we’re not taught that we could only be seeing part of the truth; we’re not taught that under certain conditions one thing is the truth, and under other conditions something completely opposite could be true. We’re not taught to look at truth as an ongoing conversation about authentic inquiry into the way things are, were and could be.  We’re not taught to see truth as an ongoing conversation that constantly builds and deepens our connection to the world, each other, and to ourselves.

And we’re not taught to see our truth as only one part or perspective on the truth.  Just like the blind men who encounter an elephant for the first time and touch different parts of it to get a sense of what it is.  Imagine the conversations they had at dinner afterwards.

So it’s left to us to explore truth on our own, and the place to start is by giving up our monopoly on the truth and by being open to the possibility that we could be at least partly wrong on many things that we currently believe.  It’s not so bad.  Really.  it’s a first step to real understanding, forgiveness, and the exploration of reality as whatever we want it to be.

7 Responses to What is your concept of truth?

  1. Funny, I just finished posting my manifesto and musings… one of which was: “Save yourself the heartache – you can’t outrun the Truth.” There is no partial truth; truth can’t be a fraction. It is either Truth or it isn’t, period. Pretty clearcut. But it’s taken me a long time to realize that. Watch my blog for an upcoming personal story on Truth.

  2. The Qur’an is the 100% pure Truth without any doubt as it is from God, and as Muslims we are taught to have a good relationship to the Qur’an in our day-to-day lives.

  3. Brenda, what a great opening for a conversation. My point was exactly the opposite, that when we see the truth this way we stop looking. Yet the strange thing is you are also 100% correct, which leads into an upcoming post on contradictions, things that appear to contradict yet do not.

  4. I see your distinction. My comments refer to Truth, capital T… the absolute, universal Truth that is everywhere and within each of us.

    We call some aspects partial truths (a.k.a. “white lies”) consciously to sugar coat things and hide from the absolute Truth.

  5. I like this post for several reasons. I believe that the more time we spend with our own thoughts, or only get input from limited sources (just a spouse, close family), the high the risk of not seeing the full picture (i.e. the ‘truth’).

    The more time we spend ‘out there in the world’ getting feedback, particularly honest feedback, from more sources, the bigger our perspective become and the closer we get to the truth.

    This is poignant to me as I currently raise funds for my business. There are certain things I (and my team) see as ‘true’ about our busines and our growth plans, but when you start getting the same feedback from more and more investors with the same critiques, you start realizing your version of the truth may not have been the right one.

    In essence, expanding your circle and getting ‘honest’ input from more people gets you closer to the truth, while keeping within your own head or own small circle may keep you further from it.

Any thoughts? Contributions/acknowledgments welcome.