The Final Truth?
Thanks for your posting. Very thought provoking….
Although there are certain common tendencies among existentialist thinkers, there are major differences and disagreements among them, and not all of them even affiliate themselves with or accept the validity of the term "existentialism". Existentialism tends to view human beings as subjects in an indifferent, objective, often ambiguous, and “absurd” (Absurdism is a philosophy stating that the efforts of humanity to find meaning in the universe will ultimately fail because no such meaning exists at least in relation to humanity) universe in which meaning is not provided by the natural order, but rather can be created, however provisionally and unstably, by human beings' actions and interpretations.
I personally find the pragmatic thinking of existentialists that. Pragmatic! It does not allow for the deeper less tangible elements of the human phycological expereince. Personally speaking it does not sit comfortably with me that we live in an evironment that is random and pointless. I think the key is how one approaches the question on existance and your perosnal rationale behind it. I am also very wary that there is an underlying danger to become focused on the academic as opposed to the practica. The process of living should be so stimulating, if you are actually doing it well, there should be liitle time to devote to scratching ones head at the cosmos! That said there is a huge difference between allowing your mind the freedom to discover who you are, and allowing your lack of self awareness to govern your thought process.
I was chatting with a very good friend of mine, who is an ex dubb, We happened to be sitting on some rocks in a little natural bay on the coast. As we drank in the splendour of the cliffs behind us and the magnetic pull of the waves, we talked about life and the universe and our place within it, as us ex-dubbs seem to do so well ;O). I value my friends opinions highly and he has helped me enormously during my journey away from the confines of the organisation. His balanced and observed views are a great inspiration to me and they sit well with me. I think there is room for a pragmatic overview of life, it helps us digest soul food. The more I think about life as an overall equasion, the more I realise it is our deeper personas that really matter, the parts that we have little understanding of. We are part of the greater picture, and realising this to me is a major hurdle out of the way in learning to enjoy the present, if we are fortunate enough to be able to. Many people who have not really questioned themselves will default to the school of thought that is existentialism, because it sits so well with our conscious minds.
I think it is good to remember that so much of our unconcious mind actually makes me who I am and you who you are!…. Our higher state of being has little room for existentialism. I will leave it those who enjoy the comfort blanket of being able to qualify there place in the universe, without being part of it. That is by very definition, a waste of existance in my opinion…..
I may perhaps discover my own "Truth."
Works for me
The concept of Absolute Truth is sound, but the incredible number of religions and variety of beliefs shows that religion does not offer absolute truth, though maybe a approximation of truth in some areas.
Science also does not offer Final truth either, as shown by the incredible number of changes even in the last hundred years. Quatum Physics is showing that much of science is still only a very basic understanding of this truth.
The benefit of philosophies such as Budhism is that it does not try to pretend to offer the only version of truth as so many other religions, but rather encourage a person to appreciate the here and now. Objectivism is similar.
"Objectivism holds that there is a mind-independent reality, that individuals are in contact with this reality through sensory perception, that they gain knowledge by processing the data of perception using reason or "non-contradictory identification", that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness... (from Wikipedia?)
everyones "Truth" lies within their own free will and conscience . For their truth is the basis upon which they act, hence all act differently, even thoes following a "religion".
everyones Truth lies within their own free will and conscience .
What if that's the biggest lie of all?
Absolutely, my no means throw in the towel. If I were to do that, I’d “hang it up”, permanently, if you know what I mean. What would be the point in going on? No, I must keep searching. Sorry for trying to be flip before while giving you a kernel of my personal journey.
I was trying to take the scientific approach. It seems to work best because it’s one of the best things that can offer a proven and verifiable method to reach conclusions. Of course, it doesn’t always lead to answers. That’s why I said that I’m content with accepting “I don’t know.” as an answer.
The Chinese characters in the picture are a real equation. Years ago, I read Brian Green’s “The Elegant Universe”, which deals with T.O.E. (the Theory of Everything). Recently, a “Nova” video series with the same name was re-broadcast on PBS. That’s how I got the snapshot. While science has not provided the “ultimate” answers to the burning philosophical questions that plague us, it never fails to titillate us as it inches further and closer to some end. That’s why I’m encouraged that we didn’t stop with the answers Newton and Einstein gave us, and we won’t stop with the answers Super String Theory will provide. Ultimately, what we want is continuing satisfaction of some sort of intellectual, spiritual and emotional nature.
What we want is to satisfy our curiosity and to fill whatever void exists in us. There are many ways to do that. I just try to exercise caution so that in the pursuit of satisfying answers, “my own Truth”, I don’t delude myself into some sort of unrealistic panacea. That’s exactly what happened to me when I joined the JWs. I became so certain of everything for a while, I would entertain very little else. Alas, my nature won out. Since then, I had to, in some orderly way question my beliefs on a regular basis. Like Descartes, I have to accept my reality, even though I fundamentally know that I can’t prove it logically with 100% certainty. Yes, it’s like walking a tight-rope.
That’s why, if you’re speaking strictly about Truth (not a belief), something verifiable which fits in the scheme of the Universe as we know it, then it has to apply to everyone and not just be your “own” personal truth. That is not like saying that you happen to like the color red whereas other people like colors other than red. While it is true that you may happen to prefer red as a color (a personal Truth), the fundamental truth lies in the fact that we all seem to agree what red is as a color, unless one happens to be color-blind. That is indisputable. As a concept, that truth transcends language, time, regionalism and even genetic defects because we can now tell if someone is color deficient. So, there are levels or intensities of Truth, just like there are “intensities” or orders or magnitude (a mathematical term) in a quantity such as Infinity (at least 3 that I’m aware of).
That’s why I agree and disagree with jwfacts. I agree that the Buddhist approach is beneficial because it does not try to exclude ideas that may even be opposed but could potentially lead to an ultimate truth. However, due to that very nature, it does have to live with paradoxical and contradictory ideas, which somehow it seems to do well. I disagree with jwfacts precisely because Science as a discipline operates the opposite way: It does not like contradictions and must explain paradoxes. Above all, it offers a verifiable METHOD for eliminating those contradictions, which can be reproduced by anyone else at any other time. Granted that the tool is limited and it doesn’t always eliminate the contradiction. That’s when the true scientist defers from forcing an explanation that is not supported by observation. But nevertheless, he or she doesn’t stop looking. Consequently, I never even entertained the idea that the purpose of Science is to “offers Final truth”. At its simplest, it leads to conclusions based on verifiable observations or provable concepts. When the method is flawed, it yields bad conclusions. If the observable facts or concepts are limited, it fails to yield an accurate picture.
Although Newton’s mathematical and cosmological “truths” about the make up of the universe are not quite valid, his methods of calculations and mathematical constructs are still used in every major work of physics and mathematical science almost 300 years later. So, the fact that conclusions change doesn’t mean that all of what was discovered is no longer true. What happens is that (at least in the exact Sciences) adjustments are made with the current tools we have. We do that because the questions keep getting more and more complicated. When we (mankind) were satisfied with defining the world as composed of 4 elements (earth, water, air, fire), truth was evident because everything we could think of could be reduced to one of more of those elements. Then the question came up about what each of those things is “really” made of, and so on.
What I hope is that when we reach the bottom of that pile of questions and realize some profound and fundamental truth about the universe, our questions may change to one of meaning and purpose. Heck, we constantly do that now. It just seems that we’re too intellectually immature at this time to grok it -- he says, while being jaded by his non-scientific pessimistic opinion). That’s the way we were when the concept of “zero” came along. It took generations for societies to incorporate that idea. Then along came negative numbers, then imaginary (complex) numbers. A few generations from now, imaginary numbers will be incorporated in the elementary school curriculum. I don’t think it likely that they will be eliminated as something that used to be true.
Since you don’t particularly seek truth in religion or philosophy, what kind of truth do you seek? I know labels can confuse things. That’s why I said: “I ceased to differentiate between religion, life, the law of gravity or what have you.” Truth is truth and what little factoid we find is only a piece of a greater truth. How big is the ultimate truth? Hopefully, infinitely big. For I fear that the day we know everything and have all the answers, life is going to get pretty boring. That's why I agree with PaulMarshal's comments and realize that we need to pay attention to ourselves as a "complete being". Do you realize that some of the greatest abstract discoveries in Science have happened while the person was, not particularly thinking about the scientific problem at hand, but in an almost out-of-body state of mind that some people describe as "higher state of consciousness"? Yep. Intuitiveness can be a source of truth. That's one of the first things I learned in my college Logic class. True Science is not pragmatic at the cost of beauty or emotions. It is pragmatic in addition to all that we are. I see beauty in the Universe as I try to understand it. I understand the mathematics of frequencies and the mechanics of a piano keyboard action. But that does not detract in the least, rather, enhances the emotional experience and beauty that I enjoy when play Liszt’s Consolation #3 in Db, for example. Yes, I would feel very much at home “sitting on some rocks in a little natural bay” on some coast along with PaulMarshal or anyone that is willing to entertain the meaning of life as well as its splendor. I as much as I would enjoy that, it would only be enhanced by the analytical (perhaps scientific) outlook I have achieved while trying to seek truth, and above all meaning and purpose.
I beg to disagree. If I had originated your comment, I would have said instead: “What everyone thinks is the Truth lies within their own free will and conscience.” Thinking or believing that something is Truth does not make it so.
If I was convinced that drinking some potion would give me powers or the capability of living forever, but it turned out to be poison, regardless of my conviction, I would die or at least be very, very sick. Why should we treat any other matter that we consider Truth any differently? However, you’re absolutely right in stating that the conviction people have about what truth is, is the basis upon which they act. That’s why the world is so f'ed up right now. Not only do they think they’re right, but they’ll do anything to make you think you should think just like they do. Unless mankind reasons its way out this mess and identifies the problems that really need addressing, starting with differences of ideas, what it will require is some sort of ultimate arbitrator. Some people think that arbitrator is God. Others think that due to circumstances of nature and our own precariousness for annihilation, we will be forced arbitrate among ourselves.
I have thought about this and speculated what the world would look like if a great scientific discovery were to happen, a great equalizer, one that would change everything. For example, imagine that a way was discovered to derive energy from a cheap source; let’s say it was something like, just to hearken back to the old holy grail of science, Cold Fusion. Or, let's say that an amazingly elegant way was found to derive direct energy (something simple, like heat) from water or dirt, yielding only Hydrogen and Oxygen or some other natural element. Now, imagine that everyone in the world was able to use a simple method for producing modest but unlimited amounts of energy for their own consumption. What would happen is that social structures as we know them would start to disappear. Suddenly, centralization in the form of cities would become less meaningful because you can practically live anywhere and have sufficient energy to run your home, drive machinery to extract water from the ground for your own consumption and to irrigate your own food that you grow. Since communications abound at this time, you would have the energy to “reach out and touch someone”. You could even have your own personally sustained transportation mode to visit other people from your remote and secluded location. Now, think about those people living in substandard conditions in third world countries taking advantage of this. They wouldn’t practice deforestation, they wouldn’t starve and they wouldn’t be dependent on those who control the power and resources of the world. That’s pretty drastic if only that one thing happened.
On the other hand, if God steps in and kicks some ass, protect those who want to be at peace, and get rid off those that don’t agree with him, the same thing will be accomplished. But there’s where Truth comes in. Just like Adam, we would have to cede do someone else regarding what is right and wrong, what the real Truth is that we should follow. One thing’s for sure, that Truth can’t possibly be whatever each individual thinks it is.
Bob Dylan said "All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie".
He also said "There is one thing poor people have than any millionaire will never have : Poverty".
When the man's right ..............
Truth is the ultimate reality of something. It is fact not opinion. Incomplete knowledge invites opinion and debates on "What is truth?" (John 18:38) this can be confusing.