Archives for posts with tag: truth

The first reaction, for the ‘average person’, is to ‘love’ this post.

The ‘normal’ reaction, for the ‘fact-checkers’ among us, is to ask ourselves:

Is this actually true?

Heidegger has something really interesting to say about the subject.
I’m gonna put it succinctly and bluntly.

None of us knows everything about anything. Not even about the most trivial thing.
Because the very nature of our knowledge and of our manner of expressing it – language, none of us is able to ‘put together’ even the simplest ‘absolute’ truth.

Hence, according to Heidegger, we have as many truths as there are people interested on the subject.

‘Then the African Proverb is a ‘lie’?’

Nope.

The African Proverb pictured above is a meta-truth.
Heidegger’s truths, as well as those discussed by Popper, all converge towards the ‘absolute’ one.
As each of the ‘people interested on the subject’ dig deeper, each of them gets closer to the kernel. Probably none of them will ever get exactly ‘there’ but their respective positions will become ever closer.

Meanwhile, there’s nothing like a ‘meta-lie’. As we had ‘truth’ and ‘meta-truth’.
A lie, any lie, is also a meta-truth.

We know – we are under the impression, more exactly, that we’ll never reach ‘the absolute truth’. About any subject, let alone the ‘absolute-absolute’ one. But we can conceive that there is one. Somewhere. At least about individual points of interest.

Do we even have the concept of an absolute lie?
What would that be? How could that even be expressed?

This being the reason for some of us being able to come up with so ‘plausible’ lies.
They put so much truth into their words that it becomes harder and harder for us to notice that the ‘proposed conclusion’ is misleading.

That, in fact, they are lying through their teeth.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/#ObjeKnowThreWorlOnto

Three truths about what ‘science’ means.
First part, We.

According to Heidegger, there are two kinds of truths.

A. A proposition is ‘true’ if what’s being said there is in perfect correspondence with reality.
B. A proposition is ‘true’ if the proposition encompasses everything the ‘communicator’ knows about the subject at hand.

‘OK, you promised us a discourse about science and here you are babbling about truth…’

Impatient as always!
How do you determine whether something being said, a proposition, is in (perfect) correspondence with the reality of the fact described there?

To be able to do that, you need first to determine the reality itself.
You know what’s being said – more about that later, and, if you are to determine whether what’s being said is true, you now need to know the truth itself.
How are you going to do that?
You either know it already or you proceed to determine that particular truth.

I’ll leave aside the ‘already known truth’ and proceed towards the ‘future truth’.

A particular individual has two possible approaches towards finding out a ‘new’ truth. A piece of ‘true’ information which is new for that particular person.
Consult a reliable source or investigate the reality.

‘Consulting a reliable source’ brings us back to square one. How do you determine whether a source is reliable or not….
‘Investigate the reality’… Easier said than done!

How do you do that? How do you investigate the reality in a reliable manner? How do you determine the truth of the matter when ‘things’ are a tad more complicated than touching a stove to determine whether it’s hot or not?

You use the scientific approach?
Start from the scientific data base which already exists on the subject(s) closer to your object of interest then proceed using the proven scientific method of trial and error? Emit a hypothesis, try to prove it, formulate a theory and then challenge your peers to tear apart the results of your investigation?

Results you have chased being convinced from the beginning that you’ll never reach the ‘pinnacle’?
Convinced from the beginning that the ‘absolute truth’ – even about the merest subject, is out of reach?
For us, mere mortals, anyway?

‘But if ‘absolute truth’ is out of reach, then how can we determine whether the simplest proposition is actually true?
And why continue to bother about the whole subject, anyway?!?’

Before attempting to find an answer to your question, let me formulate another one.

Let’s consider that you have reached a conclusion about something. That you are in possession of ‘a truth’. How are you going to share it? With your brethren/peers?
I must remember you at this stage of our discussion that language is beautiful but rather inexact. Are you sure that you’ll be able to communicate everything you want to say? To cover every minute aspect of the truth you have just found?
So that the proposition you are about to put together will be in absolute correspondence with the piece of reality you have just discovered?

You are not going to use language at all?
You’re just going to point to your discovery? And let everybody else to discover the truth for themselves?
And how many are going to take you seriously? To pay attention? To what you have pointed?
And how many are going to suspect that you just want to take their focus off what’s really important? To lead their attention away of what you want to keep under wraps?

I’ve got your head spinning?
Then you must understand my confusion. I’m so deep in this that I have to go back and read again what I’ve been writing…

So.
‘Science’ tells us that the ultimate truth is out of our grasp, linguistics/theory of communication tells us no messenger will ever be able to be absolutely precise nor convey the entire intended meaning … what are we going to do?
Settle down and wait for the end to happen to us?

OK, let me introduce you to an absolute truth.

WE ARE HERE!

Who is here?
‘Us’. We are here.

What are we doing here?
‘Are’. We are here.

Where are we?
‘Here’. We are here!

I’ve been recently reminded that mathematics, the most exact language we have at our disposal, is based on a number of postulates. On a small number of axioms – pieces of truth we consider to be self evident, which have constituted a wide enough foundation for mathematics to become what it is today.
But mathematics is far more than a simple language. It is also a ‘virtual space’. A space where special rules apply. A space where our thoughts move according to certain and specific ‘instructions’. A space where we enter holding our arms around a problem we need to solve and which we exit, if successful, with a solution inside our head.

A little bit of history.
Our ancestors had a problem. A class of problems, actually.
How to build something – a house, a temple, a boat, and how to ‘manage’ property – arable land, in particular, but also crops and other ‘stocks’. Problems easier to formulate, and solve, using numbers.
To solve this class of problems, some of our ancestors have invented ‘mathematics’. Had ‘discovered’ the self evident truths – axioms, and then ‘carved’ an entire (virtual) space using the axioms as the foundation upon which they, and those who have followed in their steps, have built – and continue to build, the scaffolding of rules which keep that space ‘open’.

Through thinking, our ancestors have carved a space in which to solve some problems they have encountered in the ‘real’ world…

‘Please stop!
I don’t understand something.
Do you want to say that mathematics is not real?’

To answer this question, this very good question, we need to settle what ‘real’ means.
To us, at least…

Let’s examine this rock. Is it real?
Why? Because you can feel it? If you close your eyes, I can make it so that you experience the same feeling by touching something else to your stretched out fingers than the original rock. In a few years, I’ll be able to produce the same sensation in your brain by inserting some electrodes in your skull and applying the ‘proper’ amount of electric current. What will ‘reality’ become then?

Forget about that rock, for a moment, and consider this table.

Is it real? Even if it’s not as natural as the rock we were analyzing before?
‘Artificial’ – as in man made, starting from natural ‘resources’, might be a good description of the difference between a table and a ‘simple’ rock. Both ‘real’ in the sense that both imply consequences. Your foot will hurt if you stumble in the dark on either of them. Regardless of the rock being natural and the table happening to be artificial…

‘But what about things which are not of a material nature?
Are they real?’

Are you asking me whether ‘metaphysical’ objects – God, for instance, are real?
Then how about ‘law’. Is it real? As an aside, does law belong also to the metaphysical realm? Alongside God? Who determines which thing belongs there?

Or have you glimpsed the fact that ‘truth’, the concept of truth, is a metaphysical ‘object’?
Something which, like God, has a ‘real’ side but makes no sense (to us) unless we think about it?
Something which we have extracted – someway, somehow, from the surrounding reality – where else from? – then ‘carved’ a virtual space around it? So that we may examine it without the distractions of the rest of the ‘real’ world?

Or have you glimpsed also that even the concept of ‘reality’ is a figment of our self-reflecting conscience?

I argued earlier that truth is a convention.
And that the Truth exists but will never be known. Not in its entirety, anyway.

Then what are we left with?
How can any of us decide what is true and what is not?

First of all, any convention needs three things. The two convening parts and the object of their convention.

‘So, you want us to believe that truth is a make-believe?!?’

That it can be, yes!

And the further from the real truth – from reality itself, that convened about truth is, the worse the fate the believers will eventually have to face.

The first example which jumps to my mind is the fate of Bernie Madoff and ‘his’ investors.
Bernie and each of the investors had convened a truth. That his investment fund was sound.
Consider what happened to each of them. To each of the investors and to Bernie Madoff himself.

I’ll come back.

What is truth?
Which is THE truth?
Is this true?

One word, three questions…

‘Truth’ is a convention.
You cannot understand ‘truth’ without ‘lie’.

Watch the video.
Go on, I won’t go anywhere!

It’s irrelevant for the current discussion whether the drongo lies consciously or has just developed an ‘ordinary’ skill. Equivalent to that of feeding itself by ‘fishing’ worms. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwVhrrDvwPM.

It’s enough for me that both us and the meerkats are able to notice that the drongo did lie. And, at least once, did sound the alarm about a real danger.

Hence it is possible, for both us, humans, and the meerkats to tell lies from truths.
Again, I have no idea whether the animals do it in a conscientious manner.

All I know is that we, humans, did coin the concept of ‘truth’. And that of ‘lie’.
And we not only coined the concepts but also attached names to each of them.
We agreed among ourselves to name them truth and lie, respectively.

In fact, we have made an agreement. A gentleman’s agreement… About when to use each word.

And a subsidiary one. About when we must definitely tell the truth and when a lie is acceptable.

http://perflensburg.se/Berger%20social-construction-of-reality.pdf

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As much as I love writing, I do have to eat.
And to provide for my family.
Earning money takes time.
If you’d like me to write more, and on a more regular basis, hit the button.
Your contribution will be appreciated!

As much as I love writing, I do have to eat.
And to provide for my family.
Earning money takes time.
If you’d like me to write more, and on a more regular basis, hit the button.
Your contribution will be appreciated!

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A story opens a space.
An explanation sets limits.

A story empowers.
An explanation tells how those powers are to be used.

Neither are true. Each wants to be true but neither will ever reach the exact place.
‘Bull’s eyes’ are safe. We keep trying, although those of us who know their way around words are aware how elusive truth is.

The downside of the whole thing being that words, ‘storied’ words, might kill.
As in actually! And uselessly…

Unless accompanied by a valid explanation, of course.

Indeed!

Only there are a few hurdles which will have to be negotiated first.

Which ‘truth’?

Mine?
Which will set me free?
Theirs?
Which will set them free?
Or ours?
Which will set us free?

What is Truth in the first place?

What I believe in?
What we believe in?
Something which is out there and we learn about incrementally? In a collective manner but individually driven?

How can we find it? If ever, of course….

Agree to something which has worked until now?
Listen to what those around us have to say about the/any matter?
Do your ‘own homework’?
All of the above, in a respectful manner?

Freedom is too bothersome?!?
Have you considered the alternatives?


“”We have not merely stumbled upon truth in spite of error and illusion, which is odd, but because of error and illusion, which is even odder.” Balfour”, courtesy of Philip F. Crenshaw who shared this on his Facebook wall.

“The good thing is that after only god knows how many times we have stumbled upon a truthful thing, we finally recognized it for what it was: a gem lying in mud for us to pick it up!” Me

Some people find them both ‘stinky’, some-other ‘delicious’ but the fact of the matter is that both are essential.
No one can live in complete falsehood and it is extremely hard to put up a decent meal without using any onions.

There is more.
Truth, exactly like onions, comes in layers.
You peel one, think your knowledge has deepened, peel another one, then another one… and end up having nothing….
The onion is gone and if you dig deep enough into any problem you reach a level which seems incomprehensible for a rational mind – the only visible explanation being pure hazard, something we are not yet prepared to accept.
Not even one of the most gifted scientific minds: ““All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together.
We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”  Max Planck” After he discovered that the world is made up of small bits and pieces (quanta) coming together, at first, in a purely haphazardous way, he still needs to find out what lies in between those bits and pieces. So strong that need that he had to come up with a ‘spiritual’ explanation if he couldn’t find a rational/scientific one that didn’t involve pure chance.

And the third thing that truth and onions have in common is man.
Or, more exactly, a self-conscious observer/operator to search for the truth while gorging on peeled onions.

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