Why Do Many People See Truth Differently?

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

  1. PeakVista

    PeakVista Member


    I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. Mathematics has proven to appear to be fundamental to our collective human experience of our natural world (i.e. heavens and earth). I say "appear to be fundamental" because we cannot absolutely say with 100% certainty that there isn't a more fundamental form of describing our perception of reality.

    Some of our greatest current theoretical physicists state that mathematics can prove that we are living in a hologram type universe and our perceptions are just "A Thin Sheet of Reality". To learn more on that, just Google those words.
  2. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    I believe that there is Truth (with a capital T), but that Absolute Truth is inaccessible to us, and if we found it, we'd never know for sure. Truth nevertheless has consequences. Climate change will be a disaster--or it won't. One of two people will win the November presidential election in the United States. We can't say with certainty that it will be Trump or Hillary. It conceivably be could be Johnson or Stein. I'm willing to bet that it won't be the latter two, although I'd grudgingly have to admit I could be wrong (but I doubt it). I'm not willing to bet on whether it will be Trump or Hillary, but I am willing to bet that if it's Trump, he won't make America Great again (whatever that means). These are matters of judgment, based on information, personal experience,analytical skills and intuition. I think a person with more information, analytical skills, relevant life experiences and intuitive abilities is likely to make better predictions than a person with less of these traits. But the predictions won't be completely reliable, because we are all fallible. Nobody knows it all. There's always a faster gun in the West. Truth is in that sense always relative, And then there are values--shoulds and shouldn'ts. I think those trade deals Trump and Hilary are attacking will create jobs in other parts of the world and help American consumers in the long run, but I can understand why blue collar factory voters feel threatened by them--since in the long run (as Lord Keynes put it) we'll all be dead. Bentham and Sam Harris have tried to get scientific about values in terms of human wants and needs, but their hedonistic assumptions have been rejected by many ethicists. That part of Truth I think will never be reached by reason alone.

    What bothers me about the way the thread is framed is the suggestion that everyone's "truths" are on the same plane. This is a useful perspective for avoiding violence at social gatherings, where Trump supporters, Hillary supporters, Johnson supporters, and Stein supporters may be gathered in the same room. But I'm afraid they all can't be right, and I think information, logic, experience and intuition can help us in predicting who is. It does make sense to argue or discuss the candidates' positions. And even in the values area, I'm willing to say that some people have rotten values: the selfish, mean-spirited types, racists, etc. The notion that we make our own reality has been carried to ludicrous and dangerous lengths by "New Thought" followers. I dated a girl from the Unity Church once, who thought we must always be careful not to think bad thoughts because they'll come true. We were walking near a bad neighborhood once and I told her we needed to turn back because we might get mugged. She was horrified that I'd think such a thing because I might make it happen! Gimmie a break!
  3. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    And then there are Godel"s incompleteness theorems: (1) that in any consistent formal system within which arithmetic can be carried out, there are statements which can neither be proved nor disproved within the system; and (2) such a formal system cannot prove that the system itself is consistent.
  4. pensfan13

    pensfan13 Senior Member

  5. Wu Li Heron

    Wu Li Heron Well-Known Member

    A context without any content, and vice versa, is a demonstrable contradiction providing the self-evident truth that Godel's Incompleteness Theorem does nothing more than beg the question, while any self-evident truth provides its own truths and proofs. Like up and down, back and front, the truth has no demonstrable meaning outside of a specific context, which is why everyone sees the truth differently because it is context dependent.
  6. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    But if the context is identified and understood by the observers, they should at least have a shared understanding of truth. To philosophers, the notions of "truth" and "facts" are problematic. Plato and Aristotle advanced the "correspondence" theory of truth: that a proposition is true if it corresponds to reality or the "facts". As we've seen, finding out what the facts are, beyond immediate sensory perception, is a challenge. As a practical matter, I'm inclined toward C.S. Pierce's view that "The opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate, is what we mean by the truth.." It may not really be true, but it's the best we can do. This reveals my own tendency to accept scientific consensus on such matters as evolution and climate change, as well as scholarly consensus on the existence of an historical Jesus. It's not just a matter of expert opinion, but opinion which is arrived at by the best available methodologies and supported by the weight of available evidence. Some, however, may have a strong need to resist the evidence. I understand, though disagree, with the pragmatists who say that truth is what is useful to believe or what "works" for a given individual. If the Twelve-stepper in a recovery program is able to get himself/herself out of the gutter with the help of a Higher Power, far be it from me to challenge the "truth" of that belief. If a coal miner in Appalachia is inclined to believe that climate change is a Chinese conspiracy to interfere with the U.S. economy, I'd disagree but understand why the "inconvenient truth" of global warming is denied by so many Republicans. For the sake of conceptual clarity, however, I think some variant of the correspondence theory is essential for meaningful discussion.Of course, we always need to be aware of the limits of our assumptions and hold our "truths" tentatively, awaiting further empirical refutation. Santayana used the term "animal faith" for acceptance of the basic unprovable assumption or postulate that we can trust our senses as the necessary starting point for constructive inquiry. I assume when I'm typing this that you all exist, and that I'm not talking to myself in a solipsistic loop of self-delusion.
  7. Wu Li Heron

    Wu Li Heron Well-Known Member

    There are many lesser truths which are all both contexts and contents in different situations and, then, there is the One Greater Truth of Socrates which he called the memory of God that none can remember in all its glory which is, of course, the greater context that the Truth determines everything. That might sound dramatic or mystical, but its another way of saying a statistic of one is an oxymoron. Normally we think of the number one as content, but when placed in the context of statistics it becomes the greater context. Thus, the One Greater Truth progressively reveals itself to us from one moment to the next, while lesser truths only thrive and endure according to how they evolve to support each successive truth. This last is similar to Constructal Theory and Chinese "Chi" in that it describes a systems logic where the truth always remains context dependent, but it can still accommodate classical logic as a subtype in Intuitionistic mathematics.
  8. PeakVista

    PeakVista Member

    I hate to quote myself but if the foo shits wear it:

    To put it simply:

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

    Edit: Added a missing the to the "I hate.."
  9. PeakVista

    PeakVista Member

    I am very impressed myself. Truth is very philosophical concept. We definitely have some very good philosophers on this thread.

    <cringe> Thankfully current politics have reared there head here. (looking over my shoulder) No, no don't shoot me. HELP! </cringe>
  10. Wu Li Heron

    Wu Li Heron Well-Known Member

    Hippies and leftists in general are an eclectic bunch. I've lived on communes for ten years and on one commune we had no less than two physicists, a historian, an environmental chemist, and so on in a population of fifty people. Its easy to dismiss us as all being merely insane drug addicts or whatever without a brain our heads, but the reality is far from that.
    1 person likes this.
  11. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed and Confused Staff Member

    Part III:
    The two kinds of Truth.

    In that light Truth can be broken down into two parts: Romantic Truth and Classical Truth.
    Truth (Immediate Romantic Truth) and its rational manifestations (Classic Truth) are in their nature the same. It is given different names (subjects and objects) when it becomes classically manifest. Romantic Truth and classic Truth together may be called the "mystic." Reaching from mystery into deeper mystery, it is the gate to the secret of all life.

    Romantic Truth is the experience that cannot be defined. Once defined it is subject to our web of analogous and rational thought. Classical Truth and its analogous thought is rational.

    As Romantic Truth can never be defined our world is held together by Classical Truth. Rational thought guarantees the objectivity of the world in which we live, as that is what makes us see our world in common with other thinking beings. Through the communications that we have with other men we receive from them ready-made harmonious reasonings. We know that these reasonings do not come only from us (Romantic Truths) and at the same time we recognize in them, because of their harmony, the work of reasonable beings like ourselves. And as these reasonings appear to fit the world of our sensations, we think we may infer that these reasonable beings have seen the same thing as we; thus it is that we know we haven’t been dreaming. It is this harmony that is the sole basis for the only Truth we can ever know.

    1. Romantic Truth is the cutting edge of reality, it can never be described.
    2. Classical Truth is Romantic Truth defined.
    3. Romantic Truth is subjective and individual.
    4. Classic Truth is objective and collective.

    ​In the Buddhist Forum they are defined as the Two Truths; Ultimate and Relative.​
  12. BlackBillBlake

    BlackBillBlake Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    Just by co-incidence, I began reading a book last night called 'The Romantic Rebellion - Classic versus Romantic Art'.

    Anyway, I'm not sure about the use of the word 'romantic' in the context of truth. I'm not sure how you derive this meaning or slant to the term. Not saying you're wrong of course, but why 'romantic'? Do you mean because it's a kind of un-examined feeling or perception rather then a rational conclusion?

    The problem is that if romantic truth is individual as opposed to collective, how can romantic art function? Surely once the reader of a romantic poem for instance has read it, the 'truth' becomes a shared truth? Even if that 'truth' is more to do with feeling than thinking.

    Anyway, this does seem to me a very specialized use of the word. You could argue I suppose, that romantic art is seeking to express something inexpressible - and probably that's why it came into being. I think though that to some extent it can be defined once it's been made into a work of art.
  13. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed and Confused Staff Member

    I don't have a lot of time right now...

    but simply put the use of the words Romantic and Classical was Pirsig's use. Remember I'm altering his first book in this thread, so far, by replacing the word Quality with Truth (and restructuring parts).
  14. pensfan13

    pensfan13 Senior Member

    Hehe he. Good times.
  15. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed and Confused Staff Member

    PART IV:

    When we are presented with facts, we must weigh the harmony of their being in relation to other rational beings. When Classical Truth enters the picture, facts are no longer arbitrary. The facts are not based on subjective, capricious "whatever you like" but on shared experiences and analogies, which is the only reality in itself that we can know and share with others.

    The experience of Truth can be imagined as a huge, long railroad train, one of those 120-boxcar jobs that cross the prairies all the time with lumber and vegetables going east and with automobiles and other manufactured goods going west. I want to call this railroad train "knowledge of Truth " and subdivide in into two parts: Classic Knowledge and Romantic Knowledge. In terms of the analogy, Classic Knowledge, the knowledge gathered by Reason, is the engine and all the boxcars. All of them and everything that’s in them. If you subdivide the train into parts you will find no Romantic Knowledge anywhere. And unless you’re careful it’s easy to make the presumption that’s all the train there is. This isn’t because Romantic Knowledge is nonexistent or even unimportant. It’s just that so far the definition of the train is static and purposeless. This was what I was trying to get at back in South Dakota when I talked about two whole dimensions of existence. It’s two whole ways of looking at the train. Romantic Truth, in terms of this analogy, isn’t any "part" of the train. It’s the leading edge of the engine, a two-dimensional surface of no real significance unless you understand that the train isn’t a static entity at all. A train really isn’t a train if it can’t go anywhere. In the process of examining the train and subdividing it into parts we’ve inadvertently stopped it, so that it really isn’t a train we are examining. That’s why we get stuck. The real train of knowledge isn’t a static entity that can be stopped and subdivided. It’s always going somewhere. On a track called Truth. And that engine and all those 120 boxcars are never going anywhere except where the track of Truth takes them; and romantic Truth, the leading edge of the engine, takes them along that track. Romantic reality is the cutting edge of experience. It’s the leading edge of the train of knowledge that keeps the whole train on the track. Traditional knowledge is only the collective memory of where that leading edge has been. At the leading edge there are no subjects, no objects, only the track of Truth ahead, and if you have no formal way of evaluating, no way of acknowledging this Truth, then the entire train has no way of knowing where to go. You don’t have pure reason...you have pure confusion. The leading edge is where absolutely all the action is. The leading edge contains all the infinite possibilities of the future. It contains all the history of the past. Where else could they be contained? The past cannot remember the past. The future can’t generate the future. The cutting edge of this instant right here and now is always nothing less than the totality of everything there is.

    One’s rational understanding of Truth is therefore modified from minute to minute as one works on it and sees that a new and different rational understanding has more relevance. One doesn’t cling to old sticky ideas because one has an immediate rational basis for rejecting them. Reality isn’t static anymore. It’s not a set of ideas you have to either fight or resign yourself to. It’s made up, in part, of ideas that are expected to grow as you grow, and as we all grow, century after century. With Truth as a central undefined term, reality is, in its essential nature, not static but dynamic.

    1. Facts can be subjective or objective.
    2. Subjective Truth is never static, it's constantly changing and cannot be pinned down. It's made up of subjective facts.
    3. Objective Truth is the interpretation of subjective Truth through analogy.
    4. The understanding of subjective Truth through the analogies of objective Truth is always open to change and growth as the subjective experience constantly changes.
    5. Facts, objective facts, are valid only when weighed against the subjective facts of other human beings and found to be in harmony.
  16. Wu Li Heron

    Wu Li Heron Well-Known Member

    Ignorant Wisdom
    The bullshit that everyone experiences is not always true,
    The abstract bullshit everyone tends to imagine is never real.
    Ignorance manifests any bullshit that happens and may happen;
    Whatever bullshit we use to represent all that exists and could exist.
    To experience ignorance without abstract bullshit is to sense the world;
    Where experiencing abstract bullshit from ignorance is to know the world.
    These experiences can be indistinguishable from any other kind of bullshit;
    Their construction differs but their effect on various bullshit is the same.
    Beyond the gateway of experience flows the wisdom of our ignorance,
    Which, is ever greater and more subtle, than any ordinary bullshit.
    Truth has no demonstrable meaning outside of the context of ignorance and Socrates insisted that the only thing he knew was that he knew nothing. There are many lesser truths which are both contexts and content in indifferent situations and, then, there is the one greater truth of Socrates which he called the memory of God that none can ever remember in all its glory which, of course, is the greater context that the truth determines everything including our ignorance! That may sound dramatic or mystical, but its just another way of saying a statistic of one is any oxymoron. Normally the number one is thought of as merely content, but in the context of statistics it becomes the greater context that makes statistics meaningless. As each unfolding context reveals greater truth those truths which thrive and endure are the ones which evolve to support any successive truths. This is similar to Constructal Theory and Chinese Chi where the truth can be viewed as either static juxtapositions or flow dynamics (bandwidth). Without humility there is simply no point in discussing the truth anymore than there would be a need if were not ignorant.

    Sorry for repeating myself. :)
  17. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    I doubt that. I think the laws of physics aren't simply what someone "defines" them to be at a given time. They are what they are, and would and will be that way until the end of time, whether any intelligent observers are here to corroborate that or not. Post-modernism is a blind alley.
  18. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed and Confused Staff Member

    Part V:
    Political Truth

    And when you really understand dynamic reality you never get stuck. It has forms but the forms are capable of change. Harry Truman, of all people, comes to mind, when he said, concerning his administration’s programs, "We’ll just try them—and if they don’t work—why then we’ll just try something else." That may not be an exact quote, but it’s close. The reality of the American government isn’t static, he said, it’s dynamic. If we don’t like it we’ll get something better. The American government isn’t going to get stuck on any set of fancy doctrinaire ideas. The key word is "better"... Truth. Some may argue that the underlying form of the American government is stuck, is incapable of change in response to Truth, but that argument is not to the point. The point is that the President and everyone else, from the wildest radical to the wildest reactionary, agree that the government should change in response to Truth, even if it doesn’t. Changing Truth is reality, a reality so omnipotent that whole governments must change to keep up with it, is something that in a wordless way we have always unanimously believed in all along. And what Harry Truman said, really, was nothing different from the practical, pragmatic attitude of any laboratory scientist or any engineer or any mechanic when he’s not thinking "objectively" in the course of his daily work.
  19. Wu Li Heron

    Wu Li Heron Well-Known Member

    John Wheeler was a physicist who famously declared, "A black hole has no hair! Gravity without mass! Time is what prevents everything from happening at once! The only law is that the law that there is no law!" For his part, Richard Feynman famously said, "If you think you understand quantum mechanics you are wrong!" With the corollary joke being that if you believe you don't understand quantum mechanics then you really do understand, because they never made any sense to begin with.

    You can argue about the laws of physics all you want, but a mathematical study of causal physics and mathematics concluded that you can use any number of simple metaphors to describe them fully such as everything is merely composed of springs, string, windup clocks, or vibrating rubber sheets for all I know. Along these same lines, Donald Hoffman is a game theorist who studied all the neurological evidence and after running one simulation after another concluded that if the human mind and brain had ever remotely resembled anything like reality we would have become extinct as a species. Notably, quantum mechanics are by far the most outrageously useful theory ever devised by man and accurate to fourteen decimal places. When you can no longer identify that you have identified nothing you have personal bullshit to deal with.
  20. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed and Confused Staff Member

    Seems to me that the laws of physics are merely analogies used to describe, as best we can, what is really going on.
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