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“What defines the truth is often not far beyond our own reach.”
Truth is an interesting concept. In last week’s article, (click here to read it) it was noted that history wasn’t always recorded as it truly happened. Ironically, one of America’s most treasured stories about truth telling – that of six-year old George Washington cutting down his father’s cherry tree – was a complete fabrication!
Distinguishing the truth has never been an easy task. It was first debated by the ancient Greek Philosophers and has since been the center of countless disputes. When a conflict between two or more people cannot be resolved, it often gets decided by municipal judges and courts. But even judges’ rulings don’t ultimately reflect the truth as both parties saw it.
So how will we ever know what the truth is? What method produces, without fail, an accurate and absolute result?
While many of you may have already surmised a response, the simple answer to the above question is quite frankly nothing. There is no magic formula, decree, nor book that specifically provides resolutions for a universally accepted outcome of truth. However, there is an explanation which I hope provides insight into what truth is.
The first hurdle to overcome is to understand we are all humans with the ability to process cognitively and emotionally different from everyone else. While it is one of the greatest assets our species enjoys, it consequently guarantees that perceptions will fluctuate. It is why 2 people can witness the same event and come up with completely different scenarios.
There is no profound or poetic way to say it other than: “The truth is basically what every individual believes and accepts to be true”. Each person determines what is true and then must be willing to accept the consequences of those decisions.
For example, one of the most widely discussed areas about truth involves religion. There are an estimated 4,200 religions in the world, many of which claim theirs is the only “truth”. But what makes one religion more truthful over another? It’s not the number of followers nor is it an overwhelming show of strength. If one religion were the truth above all of the rest, it would be accepted unequivocally by everyone. But the truth remains that each person accepts that religion’s teachings to be more truthful than all of the others.
Unfortunately, in our quest for seeking the truth, there is never enough time to research every aspect. That forces us to accept blindly some facts. Astrophysicists who study the age of our planet suggest it is around 4 billion years old. It is up to each person whether or not to accept it. No doubt further research could prove that wrong.
Perhaps, and ironically so, a search for the truth should be accompanied with a bit of skepticism. Questioning what we believe to be true is not wrong or bad. An investigation will tend to either strengthen our beliefs or unveil new points of view causing us to rethink what is the truth and nothing but.
I look forward to your comments.