Archive for the 'Absolute truth' Category

ABSOLUTE TRUTH

Monday, April 1st, 2013

There is no absolute truth!” was an argument that I have recently heard. Which is to my way of thinking no different from Pilate asking “What is truth?”

If there is no absolute truth, truth does not exist, for truth is that which is fixed, unchanging, immutable, indisputable.

To say that there is no absolute truth is also to admit that truth, in some sense, exists. It is a bit of a back handed compliment. It is like saying “I'll grant you that truth seems to exist but because I have not got a clue what truth is I will declare that truth is not absolute.” It is all a bit of a fudge, a giving up on the search, a deciding to pick daisies instead!

All the elements we live by, the decisions we make, are based on some presupposed certainty. In fact there is a direct link between faith and truth. For all men live by faith in the truth that they have discovered through the reasoning faculty we each have. So an understanding of perceived truth is essential for us to function in any consistent or coherent fashion. We live on the assumption that our home will be, barring a catastrophe, where we last left it awaiting our return. It is the barring a catastrophe that has us decide that truth is relative, for there seems to dwell within reality the notion or even the substance of change.

All that this means, however, is that we are impermanent in an impermanent world, but this has no bearing on whether or not truth is absolute. For truth to be absolute it has to dwell in a realm other than the impermanent world that our senses perceive. That this is possible should not be too difficult for us to consider for the very world that our thoughts inhabit cannot be discerned or reached by the senses.

It is curious that in our search for truth we choose to reflect more upon the observable universe than upon the world our thoughts inhabit. For it is the world of our thoughts that direct the way we live. It is the thoughts of man that have built our cities and culture, our cars and industry, our war machines and madness, our philosophies and religions. All of these things dwell in a realm that is both within us and yet also outside of ourselves.

How is this so? It can be illustrated quite simply. I can receive an idea outside of myself into myself. So while the world of ideas exists in the lives of men not all the ideas are present in any individual yet they exist somewhere outside of ourselves in such a manner that we can access them. Not much different from our seeing a piece of fruit and eating it.

So where is this leading? Just as a man's physical health is influenced by his diet so a man's spiritual health is influenced by whatever he ingests from the world of ideas. What we believe to be true affects how we live our lives. So if we believe, for example, that there is no absolute truth then we certainly won't go looking for it, just as if we believe the world is flat it is unlikely that we will venture to sail around it. And staying with the question of absolute truth, is it truthful to say that there is no absolute truth? For if there is no absolute truth we can't declare at all on the subject, for as soon as I proclaim that there is no absolute truth I must qualify my declaration by adding but I cannot declare this absolutely!

It is a very strange thing indeed that there should ever exist within us the question, “Is there truth?” Stranger still that we should declare truth a virtue, that we should pursue truth in the courts and in the media, rue the fact that there is no truth within our political leaders and then declare, “But of course there is no absolute truth.” We should drop the word absolute, for there is either truth or there isn't. Truth isn't relative, but we are relative to truth!