Friday, March 29, 2013

The Truth, About Truth...Honest...

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.  John Godfrey Saxe

There has to be a truth, a singular promise that one thing is constant and never changing.  A specific set of circumstances that when repeated always remains the same.  truth  /tro͞oTH/Noun   The quality or state of being true: "the truth of her accusation".    That which is true or in accordance with fact or reality: "tell me the truth”. Synonyms, sooth - verity - reality - fact - veracity – fidelity.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12 

Truth has been touted as a level of perception, with one perception being true with statements like “it’s true to me..” but what of the whole truth, what of the complete picture, what of the entire elephant, do only parts of the truth matter and do we have an obligation to go beyond what we singularly perceive and forge ahead toward a complete understanding?

I have stated a few times an adage of my own design, “most people are wrong about most things most of the time” and in relation to the blind men and the elephant I believe most of us have a strong grasp of a singular truth, the tale, the leg or the truck perhaps but in each grasp we fail to follow the lines that lead toward expanding our understanding, thinking that whatever truth we now possess must be the only and final truth of all that will ever be. 

The problems inherent in humanity is in our desire to believe but in that desire comes a stubbornness of acceptance and a growing myopic view of many singular events that continue to cloud our minds toward a greater reality.

Madison Avenue has excelled at pointing our weak eyes toward contrived realities, selling us on this shampoo, or this type of food or even those that would lead.  In the Movie “Crazy People” the enlightened approach of the “truth” created an advertising sensation with tag lines like, “Volvo, Boxy but Safe” helping everyone to realize that the truth could be uttered without the preamble of hyperbole or exaggerated embellishment.  

So again, what is the truth and are their terrestrial examples of pure, unadulterated truth?  There are multiple theories that discuss this never ending debate.  Coherence theory requires truth have a proper fit of elements within a whole system, perhaps similar to the blind men seeking more than on section of the elephant and eventually discovering the entire being as a whole.  This is perhaps the most logical.

Constructivist theory postulates that truth is constructed by social processes, is historically and culturally specific, in other words it’s relative to the experiences of those who propose it and similar in some regards to the Consensus theory.

Pragmatic Theory as explained by William James, "the 'true' is only the expedient in our way of thinking, just as the 'right' is only the expedient in our way of behaving." Again this is situational and has no basis in long term substantiation.

There are other theories as well but all seem to pursue the blind man holding the tale and espousing that an elephant is like a rope with no conception of the other more important component parts.  Truth cannot be a partial observation or limited view but must demand a complete and thorough understanding. 

2+2=4 can be construed as a truth; for now but as our understanding of math expands or changes even that fundamental conclusion may have to be altered.  The question then arises, are there any universal truths, any unchangeable certainties that will not ever change?

I only know of one and that is that man will continue to think he has the truth when for the better part of his life he will only be holding on to a sliver of what could have been, if only he opened his eyes to see.

Those with Religious conviction seek truth through devotion to the ultimate purveyor of all truth, believing that only from God will the “truth” be revealed, for it is only though Gods eyes that the complete picture can be seen and therefor our only hope of truth has to come from he who sees all.
For those who are not so inclined the search for truth must be a constant battle of discovery with the unending process of rethinking and reshaping our perceived reality in the hopes that one day those crumbs of truth will be combined into a clear and understandable reality of what is.  From the tail to the legs and eventually the entire elephant is revealed.

What is your truth and how does it never change?


  1. I suppose you could say that all our knowledge is only a perceived collection of truths, for we have nothing else to measure it against. We are far from being able to see beyond and perceive the "Ultimate" truth...even the most learned amongst us.

  2. Very well said and a good example of our eternal quest for something so ethereal. That search however is what makes us different from the lower, less enlightened forms, for we at least recognize the need for truth.


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