Friday, May 20, 2011

What's The Truth?

I am not asking what is the nature of truth. I will assume that truth is the authentic nature of all things. Truth is the way things really are, and the basis for the way things are. With truth we arrive at solutions, deal with reality, and are capable of navigating the world the way it actually is.

The title question is something much different. It sets the stage for true discussion and genuine dialog. Rather than angry diatribes, ad-hominem attacks, and evil suspicions. The question follows the agreement that truth can be had or arrived at. We have the ability to know and abide by truth. Therefore, the title question is the natural result.

Since something is true about the nature of reality, what is that truth? What school of thought is in line with this truth? What way of living is consistent with this truth?

Let's Just Get Along By Skirting the Issue?

I know some folks want to skirt the issue by saying either there is no real truth, or that truth cannot be arrived at. My question to that line of reasoning is, How do you know? If you claim that you don't know, logically my evidence should trump your lack of any evidence. If you claim that you do know, then you have arrived at truth yourself. And you've just contradicted yourself.

So, let's leave this immature attempt at not accepting responsibility. For everyone has the responsibility to work at arriving at a consistent worldview, and live by it. This work involves dealing with real events, their consequences, and their implications. We need to deal with our observations of reality, and line those observations up with a consistent overarching principle. Even if someone were to believe there is no overarching principle, that in itself is an overarching principle &mdash by the way, is the principle of chaos.

The Fear of the Truth

The overarching principle is called a Story by some. But I don't think that is accurate. Stories tend to be subjective in interpretation. And when we talk about stories in this manner, we tend to personalize stories or meld them with our own personal stories. And we get weird ideas about culture and community that are wholly devoid of a unifying principle. This attempt tends to lean more toward a lazy communal-ism rather than a serious arrival at truth.

I understand people's reluctance to discuss matters of truth. For truth invites arguments about matters that matter. Truth invites pain and struggle. Truth resists error. Truth can be hard to face. And truth can split families and communities. That is an essential nature of truth. It excludes other claims to it.

But truth is also beautiful. Truth lights our path through life. Truth can give genuine hope. Truth can adjust our course. Truth gives us wisdom and a sound mind.

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