I recall a conversation I had once with a friend of mine in which we discussed truth and all the questions, comments and other minutiae of thought that goes into any given conversation concerning the topic. It wasn’t just that particular day that we discussed all of this; the conversation in its entirety, in fact, probably took place in bits and pieces over the course of a good week or two.
It came to pass that our confabulatory efforts reached their acme in the office (the proximity of our respective seats contributed to further discussion while at work). The core of our personal feelings on truth (as disparate as they were) resided mostly in that while one of us believed that reality was the same for everyone, the other believed that it was different from individual to individual. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about that before but, if not, I would like to suggest giving the idea a whirl. The two stances look something like this (and let’s keep it simple, shall we?):
The Objective Reality – I live in Hawaii. I walk outside my front door and I can see the ocean. From my geography class, I know not only where Hawaii is, but that it is composed of an archipelago of seven main islands of which I live on the third largest. I also “know” that I do not live anywhere near Buckingham Palace, Mount Kilimanjaro or the Great Barrier Reef. I know this to be true and everyone around me (everyone in the world, for that matter) knows this as fact as well. The history that I’ve learned in my life is the same that everyone else has learned and it is true – that’s what happened. Whether I personally experienced truth or not, it’s true. If I learned it in school, from my family or books (or any of the sources of truth that most Sociology classes teach), it’s true. I know that there is a place called Korea, I know that there is a war in the Middle East and I know that most Japanese are Buddhist and followers of Shinto. I know all of this. My world has limits. Of course it does (humanity of today bases all of it’s findings on past discoveries). I know what is and is not physically possible…et cetera.
The Subjective Reality: I am currently typing all of this word for word (I am also reading it in the same style, but I’m reading after I type) on my computer. I am a mundane being (you may want to look up the word mundane) known by those on my plane of existence as human. That’s the word, in my experience, that is used commonly. They tell me I’m in Hawaii now. They tell me that there is a place out there called Africa. I’ve learned (people have told me; they’ve told me…whether via books, others or institutions of “learning”, they tell me that Hawaii is not close to Africa. I don’t know that I’m in Hawaii. I don’t know that. I can only truly know what I experience. I know that I’ve been places where sand and water collide. I don’t know necessarily that it is Hawaii, though. I have been on what those around me call airplanes, but I don’t know that I’m thousands of feet above the ground as I’m made to believe. I know that I see white puffs of air outside my window, but I don’t know that they’re clouds. They tell me that man landed on Luna. I cannot experience that. The possibilities are boundless in the way that I think….et cetera.
Basically, let’s say for example that we can bifurcate the concept of “truth” into accepted truth and experienced truth. Accepted truth is simply all of the stuff that they tell you (whether by way of literature, instruction, friendship, television, the Internet or any other medium of communication). Anything that you cannot assimilate with your very own senses falls into this category. On the other hand, anything that you can absorb with your being belongs to the experienced truth of your own self.
It goes back to the age-old question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one was around to hear it, does it still make a noise?” Our accepted truth tells us that, yes, it certainly does make a noise. Why? Because the physical world around us has conveyed to us that when things fall, a sound is made. This isn’t just the outside world telling us this, but we’ve also possibly experienced this in the past. Based on past events, the world around us says that if a similar action is repeated in the future, it will produce the same effect.
However, our experience can guarantee what happens in the present, but knows nothing of the past nor the future. Experience says to us that the only way to truly know something is what it is experienced – each time it is experienced, it is a new experience and a new truth, a new sense of knowledge. If I watch a tree fall and hear it make a sound. That very moment is one in which I have knowledge. When I am not there, however, I do not have any knowledge of whether that tree makes a sound or not if it falls. How can I know? I’m not there. They tell us all that we landed on the Moon, that Mount Everest is the highest summit in the world, that there is a Herculean body of water known as the Pacific Ocean and that there are beings known in our language as sharks that inhabit this body. Do we really know these things? Can we?
I will tell you this. Where objectivism creates walls, subjectivism relies on possibility and the yen for new experiences. Do you live in a world that is dictated by those around you or within the world that you create for yourself? You decide where you want to go and what you want to experience. Fill yourself with positivity. The world you read about in periodical literature or watch on television is one in which violence is ubiquitous, people are broke, hopeless, depressed, economies are failing and negative energy grasps at you at every corner. There is nothing to truly worry about unless you create worry for yourself. Might I suggest that you consider being subjective (if not always) every once in a while. Choose to create the world the way you want it. It only exists if you believe it to.
Truth is just as you say it is. Don’t let them tell you differently.