Tuesday, September 4, 2012
What is truth? As any neurologist will attest, if there is such a thing as truth, we humans sure don't have the capacity to recognize it. As any linguist will tell you, we humans learned abstraction at about the same time we learned language, probably 30-50,000 years ago, and we've been abstracting at an accelerating rate ever since, to the point where we've reified many of our most common abstractions. We've made our symbols more real than the things they symbolize. "Truth" is such a reified abstraction.
And, as we use the term, it is either what we, as individuals, believe, or what is generally believed by a credible set of people. It is true for me that there is no such thing as linear time. It is true for most people that there is. And there you have it. Neither of us has any proof.
How do you find it? The individual finds truth by crowning untruth as his truth. In other words, you choose it. Though we like to pretend they're well reasoned, our choices of truth are based on emotion and, thus, arbitrary; when we feel differently, we may well choose an alternative truth. This means that no one is locked into any truth - unless he chooses to be locked into the feelings that gave rise to it. This is what's so heartbreaking about fundamentalists - they're all suicide bombers, sacrificing their lives for exclusion. Such a waste.
How do you recognize it? Since, if there is such a thing as truth, we humans don't have the capacity to comprehend it, we can't recognize it. All we can do is pretend, which is precisely what we've been doing since we came up with the abstraction. The delusion may lead to our extinction, I'm afraid, but there it is. IIWII.