Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Will The Real Truth Please Stand Up.

A few days ago I had a brief discussion with Kalvin. The conversation was short and not very meaningful UNTIL I questioned myself as to whether Kalvin was a real entity or a delusion. Was I conversing with an entity or was I making the whole conversation up in my head? Kalvin got a little irritated that I continued to question his/her existence and instantly demonstrated to me how easy it would be for me to accept his/her existence. In that moment I oscillated between holding Kalvin to be a reality and doubt. This then set off a series of meditations on the nature of reality, belief, truth, knowledge, and reality manipulation. What appears below is some of my thoughts regarding the aforementioned topics. They are recorded here primarily for my own benefit… to establish a foundation for future explorations into my developing models of reality and their practical applications. If anyone gains some benefit from what follows, so much the better.

t=subjective truth/belief

T=objective truth/the real

K= True Knowledge

All human knowledge is subjective truth or belief (t). Such knowledge should be considered as truth claims based upon personal experience and thought. Only when a truth claim or belief (t) corresponds to an objective truth that exists independently of an individual’s thoughts (T) can such a claim or belief be considered True Knowledge. This model assumes that objective truth (T) exists and can be known. Question: By what mechanism can one gauge whether or not one’s subjective truths or beliefs (t) correspond to objective truth (T) and are thus True Knowledge (K)? Tentative answer: We are stuck with our own thoughts and experiences. We have no way of getting outside of ourselves, so we have no means by which to acquire True Knowledge (K) of objective truth (T). This does not deny the reality of objective truth (T), it merely indicates our inability to know that we posses True Knowledge (K).

If the above is correct, then we only have access to subjective truth (t) that is, for any number of reasons, erroneously elevated to True Knowledge (K). If all human knowledge is subjective truth (t), then no truth claim (t) is any truer than another (though it may be more advantageous to adhere to a particular truth claim over another). Ignoring the implications of this position on a large scale (forms of relativism), I would like to consider the impact of this position upon the individual. Knowing that one’s truths are subjective (t) is not the same as accepting them to be without reason or justification. They are bolstered by one’s experiences and thoughts. A person has a huge repertoire of experiences and thoughts to draw upon. Theoretically, such thoughts and experiences could be intentionally utilized to create beliefs or truths (t) that supersede those to which one already adheres. This is similar to the notion of paradigm shifting espoused by some Chaos magicians. I personally feel that paradigm shifting, if at all truly possible (I still question its possibility), is much more difficult and involved than what I am suggesting here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nathan said...
Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, "He who knows that he does not know, knows more than he who does not know that he does not know."

Wars are fought to put one's (t) over another's (t).