What is the truth?

People are encouraged to be truthful when approaching life situations as the truth is known to be something that is good. However, when thinking deeply about this, what does truth actually mean? It seems like the harder that one thinks about this idea, the more ambiguous this concept becomes. Let’s assess this idea of truth by first looking at a couple of common dictionary definitions, and then we can proceed to look at it from a different perspective.

In the Oxford dictionary, truth is defined as “that which is true in accordance with fact & reality”. At face value, this definition does make sense as the conventional view on truth is something that is factual and exists in reality. However, looking at a second definition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary, truth is defined as “a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true“. Doesn’t this second definition seem a little bit odd as the words judgment & acceptance are used? If something is taken to be the truth, how can it also be based on judgment or if a person accepts something as the truth? To me, this idea of truth appears to have transformed from being something that exists in reality to something that exists only when a person judges it to exist.

From my perspective, I don’t believe the idea of truth can exist since what we perceive to be the truth is a fleeting idea based on perception, judgement and what a person accepts as the truth.

For example, as physicist’s continue to observe atoms using Quantum Mechanical laws, the current “truth” is only knowable to the extent of the knowledge we humans possess regarding atoms & sub-atomic particles. As physicists discover more about this sub-atomic universe, their perception of the truth is constantly changing. In physics, it seems like the truth is constantly in flux until the next truth is discovered.

To drive this point home, let’s imagine a situation where a person wakes up after having a vivid dream in which they encountered a deceased family member. During the duration of the dream, this person would be convinced that the deceased family member was alive and would take that to be the truth for the duration of the dream. Once they wake up, they would realize that what they perceived as the truth regarding their deceased family member turned out to just be something that existed in their sub- conscious mind. In this example, the perceived truth turned out to be something that was false as it is evident that the deceased person is not alive in their awoken state.

Hopefully this article has inspired people to really give this idea of truth a second look as it may not be as concrete and unchanging as people usually expect it to be. Even after coming to the realization that truth may not exist, it is still in the benefit of all humans to be truthful as our idea of truth aligns with the human soul in attaining peace by knowing we’ve been truthful in giving our answer.

 

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