Merriam-Webster dictionary defines truth as:
1 a (1) : the body of real things, events, and facts : actuality
(2) : the state of being the case : fact
(3) often capitalized : a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality
b : a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true
c : the body of true statements and propositions
2 a : the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality
b chiefly British : true 2
c : fidelity to an original or to a standard
3 a : sincerity in action, character, and utterance
b archaic : fidelity, constancy
Society seems to now define truth as:
This is what I want to believe, and as it is true to me, it is a truth.
Nope. Not how it works. There is a difference between what someone believes to be true, and that which is true. For example, as a Christian, I believe God exists and sent His Son to Earth. Others disagree and may believe in a God presented by a different religion, believe in a God who is over all religions, believe in no God at all, and so on. We can’t all be right, it’s not possible. There is one truth and we’ll all find out what it is when we die.
But how does this affect our life in the here and now and why does this happen?
It’s the illusion of knowledge. It’s not real. Check out this video from the show Brain Games and it will explain it.
The basic summary is that we don’t like to be wrong. We don’t like to admit “I don’t know”. The problem is that now, in a world where everyone is trying (and failing miserably) at being more tolerant and understanding, we have doubled down and allowed extreme views to take hold. Not only can we not accept “I don’t know,” but we take things a step further by claiming our opinions to be “truth,” and in doing so create a world in which we can’t even be challenged. The real danger here is that if we don’t allow ourselves to be challenged, we won’t grow. We find ourselves joining others who share our “truth,” and create a universe in which we believe everyone sees the world how we do. We no longer seek “truth,” we seek validation and reinforcement.
This week we will look at the danger to society of allowing this to happen, and how each of us can do a little more to help open society again, create actual discourse, and encourage each other to keep learning and pushing towards truth. One thing I will say, we won’t get there by forcing our views on people, no matter how tolerant we are being as we do so.
Here are the three takeaways for today:
1 – We don’t like to be wrong. We don’t even like to not be right.
2 – It is easier and more comfortable to be around people who agree and reinforce our beliefs than it is to be around people who challenge us.
3 – Truth is truth. It does not change, it is not adaptable. It is the reality of something being accurate and remaining so, no matter how many people disagree.
This may be an uncomfortable reality, but you are wrong. So am I. We all are. We are all wrong in something. Whether it is in a relationship, and assumption about how the world works, a mistake we keep making at work or school, or our belief in God. We are getting something wrong, and you know what? It’s OK, just keep learning.