Posted by: nmontague | September 11, 2010

Anchored to the Truth

There is Truth in everywhere around us. Reality is truth. Truth is just seeing things as they are, as they were, and as they will be. I am convinced that the more anchored and firm we are in the truth, the healthier we will be: Mentally, Emotionally, Spiritually, Physically etc. I think we have an added advantage in the world around us compared to those who are not so anchored.

The difficulty, of course, is determining what the Truth is. Philosophers have debated this issue for ages. In fact, they still debate whether Truth exists at all. They debate whether it’s absolute or relative. I’d like to answer both these questions. Then I would like to discuss some of the ways to learn the Truth.

First, I would assert that the Truth exists. I think this is fairly self-evident, despite the debates on it. Reality exists. Some things are a certain way. There is just no denying that. In fact, logic conclusively proves that there has to be at least one truth in the universe.

Example:

1) There is no truth

2) If premise 1 is correct, it’s truth

3) Therefore, premise one cannot be true.

Naturally, this doesn’t discuss the extent of truth or what truth is. But it appears undeniable that truth exists. I’m writing this blog. That is truth. You can debate and disucss who I am, or what I am writing, or what is truth. But I am still writing this blog. Will this always be true? No. By the time you finish reading this blog, I will be done writing it. I will be doing something else. But since Truth is things as they are, as they were, and as they will be, and this is me as I am, it’s truth.

That’s what we call a relative truth. It’s something that is true, but in time can change. There was a time I wasn’t writing this blog. There will be as time that I will be done. But right now, I am writing it. And that is the Truth.

And that works nicely into the second question: I would argue that there is both relative truth and absolute truth. I don’t think relative truth is as controversial as absolute truth. Absolute truth is more difficult to agree up. However, there are good examples of absolute truths as well.

Water, for example, freezes at 0 degrees Farenheit. It doesn’t matter with what scale you measure the tempeture with, it’s still going to freeze at the same tempeture. It did in the past, it will in the future. The tempeture is absolute, no matter how you label it.

I used this example, because I think it’s a good common point for everyone. It doesn’t matter what faith, political party, background, this is something that I think almost everyone can agree one (At least everyone who is honest, unless there is some principle at work that I am unaware of). My point was to provide evidence that there is absolute truth. Clearly, that is a fundamental premise we need to be working at before we can anchor ourselves in the truth.

Now, if we are going to anchor ourselves in truth, we need to do several things:

1) Gather information about the world around us, our relationship to it, and about ourselves.

2) Discern between truth and falsehood.

3) Apply what we learn to our lives.

4) Re-evaluate, if necessary.

I think, I’ll write alittle on each of these in the next few days. Enjoy your weekend.

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Responses

  1. I see what you are saying about truth and I definitely agree that there is relative and absolute truth. I am being nitpicky, sorry, but the example about water would actually go more with your relative truth example because water mixed with salt has a different freezing point and also water behaves differently in space, however an absolute truth would be that water is always going to be made with two hydrogens and one oxygen.

    Also making the distinction between relative truth and absolute truth really adds some food for thought, especially in regards to religion and politics. I remember a person once asking me how I can be in a religion that believes in war, or supports it in any form. At the time I didn’t know what to say, but then I remember many times in the bible where there were wars and how basically when God was behind the Israelites they were able to win their wars, but whenever they fought without God basically telling them it was okay, they were left on their own. In general I don’t support war or any other forms of violence, but sometimes it is necessary. Relative truth depends upon the situation and what is happening, whereas absolute truth is always true no matter what is occuring at the time.

  2. The temperature at which water freezes and boils also depends on pressure (e.g. altitude). Less nit-pickingly, water freezes at 0 Celsius, 32 Fahrenheit.

    I agree. But being a contrarian, let me give your universal temperature example a few passes.

    Supposedly, heat has a constant enough effect on mercury that we can measure heat on a scale of our own devising. But our every application of that scale is subjective. Is it hot or cold? It depends on the reference point. If you put one hand on a cold surface and one hand on a hot surface, then have both hands grab hold of the same thing, one hand will tell you the thing is hot and the other will tell you it is cold when it’s the Same Thing. The two measures of an independent, absolute truth come to completely different conclusions.

    The average person, medicine tells us, has a basal body temperature of 98.6F, but this is higher or lower depending on metabolism, what a person ate that day, exercise, outside temperature, clothing, where on the body and even where in the mouth the thermometer is placed that any individual reading is not a statement of Truth, but an approximation of it.

    Then there are people like me whose average temperature is 97.2 to 97.6. That’s just where my body is most of the time. (Truth?) Does that mean when I get up to 98.6 I have a fever like an average person would have if they were at 99.6? Got me. I can’t get a doctor interested in the question. How True is medical advice that doesn’t take account of my individual circumstances?

    So there is absolute truth, but if we can be fooled about it so easily, measure it only with error, and communicate it poorly, how relative are we really?

    (I have an active friend in the philosophy department who gets his hackles up anytime someone starts using the word Truth. My only answer to most of this is that when Spirit speaks to spirit, we receive pure flows of Truth that go beyond verbal communication. But I still have to admit how easy it is to misunderstand the absolute Truth He tried to communicate to me that only became clearer later….)


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