It may well be argued that one of the greatest drives the human species possesses is the desire to search for truth and thereby begin to understand the nature of reality and how they fit into the universe. It strikes me as curious, then, when I observe so many of my fellow human beings clinging to anachronisms, afraid to look around lest they see something that may challenge what they choose, or have been trained, to believe to be true. “Truth” is simply the best explanation we have for a situation that, when we apply all of the knowledge available to us, cannot be refuted. Since new discoveries are adding to that pool of knowledge on a continual basis, it follows that today’s truth will only hold until a better explanation comes along and yesterday’s truth should already be considered suspect. Certainly, if you examine the fields of mathematics and physics you’ll recognize some truths that have been with us for centuries, but how many more have been replaced in that time? The earth is neither flat nor is it the center of the universe, although if you choose to believe so that is entirely up to you.
This brings me to the axiomatic nature of truth. Many people will argue that truth is something subjective; stating that what is true for one person is not necessarily true for another. What they are referring to here, however, is not truth but belief. Believing something to be true is, indeed, a subjective position, but it has little to do with what may actually be true. Belief in something, especially when that belief is supported by a peer group, may be comforting to a person but it requires that person, that human being, to abdicate thinking. Such behavior eventually atrophies their ability to reason. Truth is, clearly, not subjective but highly objective, and science is the tool that provides us with the means to discovering it.
Is it really in a human beings best interest to cling to comfortable ideologies, embracing them as traditional and sacred? I would argue that for many the reason for doing so is driven more by culture, from a desire to be an accepted member of a particular group, and may even result in inner conflict. It is unfortunate that the individual’s search for truth is often discouraged by our various cultures who train its members from early childhood to repress that innate drive in favor of following the collective creed. For millennia groups have been able to suppress and withhold new information from reaching its membership, but not today. With such free and available access to information that we now enjoy it follows that more and more humans will begin to question the so called truths they have been raised with and recognize that there is no such thing as an all encompassing, universal truth. All truths are both objective and transient, and it is through having an open mind and questioning everything that individuals will be free to not only better understand, but to also add to the collective knowledge of humanity.
I shall be continuing further discussion on the subject of truth in future blog posts.