Sat pondering the concept of Truth and while in the laundrette.. I’ve seen people saying “tell your truth” a lot in various places recently and that bothers me. Is truth genuinely subjective? Is it a matter of perspective? Surely it’s an absolute? Truth just IS! I guess there are times when it’s contextual on circumstance, like in the illustration…but as a generalisation.. it just is.
People are strange things though. Given the chance they’ll attribute all manner of things to an absolute, but this can be often due to differing understands of the language used. I run into examples daily. I’ll often say “You look good/well” in the course of a conversation to people as an observation, and be surprised by a “thank you”. It wasn’t a compliment. It was a statement of an observable fact.. within a contextual circumstance backed by empirical evidence. There was no need for gratitude. I didn’t gift you something. Too often you can utter the words “You look good”, and what’s actually heard is “I find you attractive”, when in fact these are completely different entities. Those two guys from 2cellos look good, but I’m not remotely attracted to them!
There was a similar instance in a conversation about IQ in the pub. I mentioned mine and it was perceived as something I was bragging about. I wasn’t. It’s just a statement of fact. Of Truth. A numerical statistic gained through testing But it seems it’s all too easy to to superimpose other elements of emotional content to something which is in fact just a stand alone acknowledgement of an absolute. Is that the human urge to romanticise everything, be it positively or negatively? Is it a micro/macro-cosm of humans as a whole striving for understanding of our own existence to the point that we’ve created Gods to justify our own being? To search for meaning/essence in something which has none? And subsequently superimpose our own upon it when inevitably failing to find something which isn’t there.
I love the illustration that I’ve picked to go with my musings. Not just because I’m a 69 fan (the yin yang imagery isn’t lost on me either) (ha you thought I was being filthy!) but because while it does show how perspectives can alter something, it also paints the picture of the average human simply not considering anything other than their first impression. We don’t stand back, and take stock of other angles. We react to an initial stimuli, but that’s often due to a reaction which has been given to us, rather than a learned knowledge. Much like a phobia, it’s often a non-cognative response, irrational, and not based on what’s actually there, hence why cognitive dissonance will elicit and evoke such volatile emotional reactions. Underneath, you’re aware of your own self doubt. But that challenges your own identity, your own ability to make choices based on your own reasoning.
Truth goes through three stages : First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. The insertion of “Your” preceding “truth” will always bother me. It feels like there’s something wrong with the language. Truth is instinctively binary to me. Can you even have a nonlinear Truth? I’m not sure. Schrodinger’s Truth is an entertaining example of a binary output, but then Occam’s Razor if applied to scenarios doesn’t rule out the possiblity of zebra.. it just says a horse is more likely…but again that’s contextual and location dependant.
Perhaps we need new words. In an increasingly non-binary world maybe truth doesn’t even exist anymore. Existentialism on a Tuesday morning! Scary stuff. Still, at least my work shirt is washed and dried!