Whatever happened to The Truth?
I miss it
When I was young there was a concept called The Truth
The Truth was absolutely true - no question about it and nobody could disagree.
The Truth was the opposite of a lie.
The Truth enabled social cohesion. Since everybody agreed about what was The Truth it made it easier to get along.
But maybe that's not quite right - perhaps it was social cohesion that created the illusion of The Truth.
Once I had an anti-religious experience when I was about 14. I'd just been baptised after a year of bible study and was sitting on my bed pondering what I'd learned.
I'd learned that God logically had to exist because everything needs a creator and God was the ultimate creator.
A thought emerged - vividly like a voice - what created God? With that thought I didn't believe in God any more and looking back that was when I lost the concept of The Truth as an absolute thing.
All of a sudden I was disagreeing with a fundamental idea that everyone around me assumed to be true.
That is the root of my philosophic explorations.
I wasn't completely bereft.
I liked science and reason.
Long ago Hume pointed out that science doesn't produce The Truth. Science presents The Best We Know. The Best We Know is pretty darned good. Our contemporary world is based on it. It gives benefits from computers to vaccines. We couldn't live as we do without The Best We Know.
But the Best We Know is not absolute. It's not The Truth.
It's a statement that we think is true. That is, a statement is a grammatically correct assembly of words that make sense and corresponds to reality.
It's very easy to make grammatically correct sentences that make sense that do not correspond to reality.
We've come to a time when a lot of people have lost touch with the "corresponds to reality" bit.
If the statement makes sense then it's as good as any other statement that makes sense. Who's to judge?
It's a problem.
A lot of people from Trump to Putin to the pathetic George Santos make statements that are not true, but that are emotionally satisfying to their audience.
Which returns us to the idea of social cohesion.
When you're in a big crowd of people who all share the same beliefs then false statements easily become The Truth. It's a very emotionally satisfying thing to be in a crowd of people who share your beliefs like that.
In the pandemic a lot of people speak of public health measures as an infringement on their freedom.
They are right.
There were and are good reasons for that. Bluntly put, without the public health measures the pandemic would overwhelm hospitals and many many people would die.
Death is a loss of freedom quite a bit more significant than being required to be vaccinated.
But that's just a statement
What do you think?