Why Do Many People See Truth Differently?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by Meagain, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed and Confused Staff Member Super Moderator

    I have been re-reading Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and it struck me how his search for what quality is seemed to have a direct relationship to the quest for Truth.

    So what I have done, with complete recognition and admission, is I have used much of Pirsig's own words from ZAMM and replaced the word Quality with the word Truth. Many of the sentences I will present are taken verbatim from the book with only the word Truth substituted for Quality. Others have been paraphrased or completely altered to express the point I am trying to make.

    I have included a PDF link to the book for those who wish to see what alterations I have made and to give ample credit to Pirsig.

    This is rather long so I will present it in parts.
  2. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed and Confused Staff Member Super Moderator

    When searching for the truth of any matter we often find that different people have different ideas of what the truth of any one particular matter is. This raises the question,
    “Why does everybody see Truth differently? "

    The following is adapted from ZAMM:

    If we ask ourselves what we mean by truth and how we discern what the truth is we must recognize that Truth in the abstract, is shapeless, formless, and indescribable.
    To define what truth, or the Truth, is we must intellectualize. Intellectualization is the process of considering the form or shape of an experience. Truth is independent of any such shapes and forms. The names, the shapes and forms we give Truth depend only partly on the experience we are trying to define as True. They also depend partly on the a priori images we have accumulated in our memory. We constantly seek to find the relationship of the True event to our analogues and previous experiences. If we didn’t we’d be unable to act. We build up our language in terms of these analogues. We build up our whole culture in terms of these analogues.

    1. Truth has no form and is indescribable.
    2. To define what we mean by Truth we must intellectualize.
    3. Intellectualism relies on analogies we have been taught from childhood.
    4. Our entire understanding of the world is built from these learned analogies.

    More latter.
    2 people like this.
  3. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    Interesting. So far, so good.(1) I'm fond of the saying "Nothing is certain, not even that!" So I'd definitely agree with the first statement. So would, I think, many theologians, although the more conservative ones would say we know Truth because and ineffable Deity has revealed it to us. (2) I think this statement is practically a tautology. (3) Analogies are an important part of our understanding--even for scientists. I'm not sure that all of them are directly learned from childhood, but they are drawn from our experience somewhere along the line. (4) I'm not sure this is correct. It seems to me that mathematics and scientific experiments are not simply analogies, although their interpretation is likely to be. Is evolution an analogy? Analogy is another name for metaphor, and I think the world religions are essentially metaphors to live by.
  4. Moonglow181

    Moonglow181 Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    Responding to the title of this thread...i also think that people see their truths differently is because everyone is coming from a different set of life experiences, so they have different perspectives, too.
    2 people like this.
  5. Moonglow181

    Moonglow181 Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    and I did like the part about getting to the root of anything...motives, intent...so true. that is what I always try to get to the bottom of...not always easy, though.
  6. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed and Confused Staff Member Super Moderator

    1. I'm not interesting in getting into Deities in relation to truth. As Pirsig was not interested in discussing Deities in relation to Quality.
    I am relating Truth to our sensory experiences and the interpretation of those experiences.

    2. To define is to intellectualize, in that sense it is a tautology. But not the other way around, to intellectualize is not necessarily to define.
    But be that as it may, the point is we can't relate what we view as the truth to others without resorting to thought processes such as language, symbols, pictures, etc. that we all agree upon.

    3. I didn't mean to say all analogies derive from childhood, but that is where they begin.

    4. The understanding of evolution is based upon analogies. Evolution would be the truth of what is occurring every moment in the biological world. Our understanding of the truth of evolution is based on the analogies we use to describe and understand the world. As we shall see.
  7. Wu Li Heron

    Wu Li Heron Member

    Socrates said the only thing I know is that I know nothing which is known as the law of identity which is the foundation of formal logic. In a universal recursion of the law of identity everything would express a four fold supersymmetry and self-organizing systems logic where "I am not unconscious, therefore I think" because consciousness and unconsciousness can be considered yin and yang which will always transform into one another in extreme situations. They are up and down, back and front, context and content that prevent even more absurd metaphysical extremes along the lines of God creating a rock even he can't lift.
  8. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed and Confused Staff Member Super Moderator

    Yes, the different set of life experiences both forms differing analogies and is filtered by those differing analogies built from life experiences.
  9. Wu Li Heron

    Wu Li Heron Member

    Oh, I forgot to add that it means people should be largely divisible into roughly eight archetypes with 4,430 variations on the basic themes. You can use 16 or 32 patterns if you want greater accuracy, but they shouldn't be necessary for most uses and most people only use the simplest two or three at most on a daily basis. You could say people are different because life itself is fundamentally fractal.
  10. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed and Confused Staff Member Super Moderator

    Part I continued:

    The reason people see Truth differently is because we all come to it with different sets of analogues. To give a linguistic example, to us the Hindi letters da, dah, and dha all sound identical because we don’t have analogies to them to sensitize us to their differences. Similarly, most Hindi-speaking people cannot distinguish between da and the, because they are not so sensitized. It is not uncommon for Indian villagers to see ghosts. But they have a terrible time seeing the law of gravity.

    This explains why different people arrive at different ratings of Truth in the media. They all have relatively different backgrounds and knowledge. In a sense it’s the people’s choice of Truth that defines them. People differ about Truth, not because Truth is different, but because people are different in terms of experience.
    If two people had identical a priori analogues they would see Truth identically every time.
    1 person likes this.
  11. Irminsul

    Irminsul Valkyrie

    The truth?


    Sorry. Kinda had to. :)
  12. themnax

    themnax Senior Member

    truth may be a single point the foolish have multiplied, but that truth is not a religious belief.
    nor is it hiding behind a tree, nor in a book, nor in some special place.
    truth is the first thing that censorship and narrowness filters out.
    truth simply abhors lack of freedom of thought and expression.
    authoritarianism fears truth.

    truth is that all places are sacred
    and each ego, that wants to see itself as central,
    has a big problem with that.

    the shorter answer would be that truth,
    is not what they are looking for or at, at all.

    every belief, ideology and most non-indiginous cultures,
    teach people to lie to them selves,
    each in their niche specific way.

    even to hating and harassing everyone who doesn't share the same self deceptions.
    1 person likes this.
  13. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed and Confused Staff Member Super Moderator

    I am enjoying all the responses.
  14. morrow

    morrow Free as a bird

    People are individuals, that alone! But with the individual bringing up, can give people individual views, and so truths will always be different!
    Phycologist,s have been proving this for decades, emotions also influence truths!
    I remember studying some of these psychologist and while some seemed quite mad with their experiments, they proved only that people are different according to their surroundings
  15. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed and Confused Staff Member Super Moderator

    Part II;
    a continued explanation of Part I
    Any attempt to find Truth is going to be both successful and unsuccessful precisely because it is an analytic process, a process of breaking something down into subjects and predicates. But what I mean (and everybody else means) by the word Truth cannot be broken down into subjects and predicates. This is not because Truth is so mysterious but because Truth is so simple, immediate and direct. The easiest intellectual analogue of pure Truth that people in our environment can understand is that Truth is the immediate experience of an organism in its environment. In attempting to understand the experience a person seeks analogies, that is, images and symbols from its previous experience, to define the nature of its experience and thus ‘understand’ it. In our highly complex organic state we advanced organisms respond to our environment with an invention of many marvelous analogues. We invent the earth and heavens, trees, stones and oceans, gods, music, arts, language, philosophy, engineering, civilization and science. We call these analogues reality. And they are reality. We mesmerize our children in the name of Truth into knowing that they are reality. We throw anyone who does not accept these analogues into an insane asylum. But that which causes us to invent the analogues is Truth. Truth is the continuing stimulus, which our environment puts upon us to create the world in which we live. All of it. Every last bit of it.

    As Lao Tzu said, “The Truth that can be defined is not the Absolute Truth.
    The names that can be given it are not Absolute names. It is the origin of heaven and earth. When named it is the mother of all things”.

    1. The only real Truth that can be encountered is the immediate experience of an organism with its environment.
    2. The understanding of this immediate experience requires comparing that experience to other direct experiences through analogies.
    3. All that we can know other than what we directly experience in the present moment is nothing more than analogy.
  16. tumbling.dice

    tumbling.dice Senior Member

    I don't believe there is a "Truth", with a capital T. There is only "truth" that is supported by facts as they are currently understood. By observing and experimenting we are continually refining out estimation of the truth, approaching it in a asymptotic manner. All truth is preliminary, subject to the results of the next experiment.

    As to why people can't seem to agree on the truth I believe it is a result of our different prejudices and "beliefs" (things we accept as fact with no actual evidence). People are unwilling to critically examine their own conclusions for a variety of reasons: pride, fear, peer pressure, etc. People hate to be wrong. Honestly seeking truth is a character-building experience.
  17. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    I think I pretty much agree with what you're saying but not with the way you put it. 1. I'm not sure we encounter any real Truth even by our immediate experiences, or if we do, we can know that. We could be brains in a jar being subjected to Matrix-style experiences. Some philosophers and scientists actually believe that this is likely. 2. the understanding of this immediate experiences is a result of constructs. I'm still not convinced that these are all simply analogies. I do agree that we all see Truth differently because of our different backgrounds and life experiences, and possibly different genetic inheritance.
  18. BlackBillBlake

    BlackBillBlake Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    In terms of relative truths as known by mind through analytical reason, I think probably mathematical truth is about the closest we get to something irrefutable. Once the terms are understood and agreed upon, 2+2=4 is very hard to dispute.
  19. Moonglow181

    Moonglow181 Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    I am here responding to this thread at this moment, and that is the truth!
  20. PeakVista

    PeakVista Member

    To put it simply:

    Truth is whatever a group of people define what it is at a certain point in time.

    Lao Tzu's statements above prove this one sentence correct. Perception is reality.

    Edit: This is not the absolute truth though. I cannot say what is the absolute truth on anything.

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