Thursday, December 13, 2007

Truth?

Where does the idea of truth come from? What makes something true? Why do we think in the realm of true and false?

If something is true then it can never be false. For example, 2+2=4. If that is true, then it can never be false. If there exists a possibility for it to ever be false then it was never true. But, some may say, it is now 1 o'clock and in an hour that will not be true, it is only true for that moment. However, we know that the passing of a moment verifies its existence. If it is now 2 o'clock, that verifies the truth that it was previously 1 o'clock. So it does not prove things can be momentarily true because they can still be seen as true once the moment passes. The fact that I'm now 26 years old verifies that it was true to say I was 25 last year.

But we treat some truths as unchanging. We think 2 plus 2 equals 4 now, and will always equal 4. If we say that 2+2=5 is a possibility in the distant future, then the truth of 2+2=4 is undercut. The very reliability of math would be demolished. However, we treat and trust math as very reliable. We think and act as if 2+2 will always equal 4. Therefore, to us, true and false are eternal concepts. It will always be true that I was 25 last year and 2 plus 2 will always equal 4. So we, as finite creatures, at our foundational thinking level, think in infinite terms. This leaves two possibilities. An infinite "thing" exists, and we are thinking rightly, or an infinite "thing" does not exist, and we are thinking wrongly.

If we think in the realm of true and false by a mere evolutionary process, then does truth even really exist? Is it not just something we created? A mere means by which we converse, a way in which we choose to look at existence? And if we created the idea of truth, then we can create a new idea. I can choose to ignore "truth" and think in my own terms. But is such a thing even possible? I can say 2+2=100, but 2 dollar bills added to another 2 dollar bills will not suddenly become 100. If I say gravity does not exist and then jump off a building, I will fall. The things around us simply are. So if something is "there", it cannot suddenly be "not there" just because I say so. So truth must come from somewhere. Truth is, in a sense, imposed upon us. I cannot fly by saying gravity does not exist or create money merely by stating exaggerated addition.

But why do we, as humans, think in terms of true and false? Why do we not just merely exist and act on instinct alone? Even if a man says, "There is no such thing as true and false! All is relative!" Such a man is insisting his view is true and that the opposite is false. This kind of thinking self destructs. Or some say, "There are no absolutes, I trust gravity to keep me in place because it always has. And I trust 2+2 to equal 4, because it always has." Yes, but if your friend was always on time, would you place such a trust in him? "I trust my friend will always be on time because he always has." Such thinking, when placed in another situation, looks quite foolish. People around you would protest, "But what if there is an accident? Or if he forgets?" Would such a person cross their arms and say, "No, he will always be on time because he always has." But alas, such is the reasoning of many. "Gravity will keep me here because it always has and my bank account will stay as it is because it always has." But what if gravity stops? Suddenly, the earths rotation stays the same, but the laws of gravity change. Or what if 2 dollars suddenly became 1 dollar? If there are no absolutes, then such things are possible, and faith placed in gravity or math is really quite foolish. Someone who is sick and claims they are not is often referred to as "delusional". So I suppose someone who has faith in absolute things but claims they do not could also be referred to as "delusional". And I don't suppose anyone should really take what they say seriously.

1 comment:

msvoboda said...

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