Albert Hirsch

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Truth?

The earth is round we say is true. Yet at a time in history this was false. People believed the earth to be flat, like paper. We say viruses and bacteria cause illness. Yet at a time it was the work of the devil. We say that lighting is caused by the work of friction and electrons is true. But it was once the work of a God. How do we define what is the truth? The human race strives to understand and find meaning. 2+2=4 is true, yet if someone decided that 5 should come before 4, than this is false. If we said the truth is that the planets revolve around the earth, it is true. Yet when someone shows that it isn't true, that the planets revolve around the sun, now what we once believed to be true is no longer the truth, it is false. Is there such a thing as, the "truth"? Or is the truth ever changing? What do you define as the truth?

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    Apr 7 2012: There is no truth.
    What you see depends on your viewpoint.
    If you walk the earth it is flat and the sun revolves over and under it.
    Do you see the earth from some distance then the earth is somewhat round and turning on its axis.
    If we see more the picture gets less blurred.
    • Apr 7 2012: Wouldn't your comment be mistaking truth for our ability to figure it out?
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        Apr 7 2012: I don't know exactly what you ask.
        My view is that anything can be true for as far as we know.
        "Truth" sounds like an absolute which it never is. It is always relative to our perception at any moment.
        • Apr 7 2012: Well, maybe this might clarify. From the example above, the earth seemed to be flat, and thus people thought that such was "the truth." Now we know a bit better, and we see it as spherical. Maybe some will argue that it is more like a spheroid with such and such deformations. So, spherical might not be proper, but close to that other view. Still, all of that is mistaking whether we know the true shape of our planet with whether our planet has a true shape (or set of shapes, whatever). Clear now? That our viewpoints might not allow us to grasp some truth about reality does not mean that such truth is not there. It just means we have not, or cannot, grasp it. So, what's relative is our perception of what is true. But is what is true changing with our perception?
        • Apr 11 2012: Thanks for the link, Chris !

          Historical ' fact' is a very tricky concept, indeed ! : )
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      Apr 8 2012: Very TRUE (sic)Frans,

      You say, what you see depends on your viewpoint. Couldnt agree more !

      Further, no one can exist at levels higher than their intellect. You can only be to the extent that you know. This then puts malleability to truth making truth relative or limited to certain parameters.
      I think increase in knowledge/understanding redefines truth.
      How true is this ??
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      Apr 8 2012: Frans, Gabo and Mwenjew,
      I agree with all of you:>)

      If we look at the definition of "truth", it actually embraces different meanings...
      "sincerity in action, character and utterance; the state of being the case; the body of real things, events, and facts; transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality; a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true; the body of true statements and propositions; being in accord with fact or reality; the quality or property of keeping close to fact and avoiding distortion or misrepresentation; in accordance with fact".

      This is why when I talk about "truth", I often say YOUR truth, or MY truth? It can be different depending on our viewpoint, perception, beliefs, etc. Even some "truths" that have been scientifically proven are changing with new information. To me, holding onto old truths is limiting....being open to new information allows me to explore with an open mind and heart:>)

      I totally agree Gabo..."That our viewpoints might not allow us to grasp some truth about reality does not mean that such truth is not there. It just means we have not, or cannot grasp it". To "grasp" new information, we need to be open to it, and if we are not open to new information, we hold onto old "truths".

      What you speak is TRUTH....in my humble opinion..... LOL:>)

      Peter,
      With all due respect, constantly quoting scripture does not feel freeing to me....it feels "stuck" and limiting.
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        Apr 8 2012: Hi Colleen,
        Sorry about that. I guess the Truth may well be stuck & limiting. Something that follows our preferences & fancies is unlikely to be eternal truth.

        :-)
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          Apr 8 2012: Peter,
          I respect the fact that you have YOUR truth...thought I'd let you know MY truth as well:>)
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      Apr 9 2012: Franz, aren't you confusing what people believe to be true, with the actual truth.

      Agree, that our world views are used to interpet what we sense or experience.
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        Apr 9 2012: Agreed...there's a difference between truth and perception of truth. That being said, however, to understand the concept of "perception of truth", one has to evaluate and explore one's own truth. One's perception, based on level of consciousness and awareness is increased or decreased by one's willingness to be open to, and accept information. Until one opens the heart and mind to new information, one's perception is his/her "truth", and I suggest that in some people's mind, there is NO difference between truth and perception of truth. When a person is attached to his/her truth as part of his/her identity, it is very difficult to believe or understand that there may be other "truths" or "perceptions of truth" for different people. It is with increased consciousness, awareness, mindfulness and acceptance, that we may open the mind and heart to possibilities. When we understand that there may be other "perceptions of truth", it is no longer necessary to try to prove our "truth" right:>)
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          Apr 12 2012: Colleen,

          Just wondering. could there be a difference between time and the illusion of time ?
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          Apr 14 2012: Hello Colleen! Sure hope your brother will be OK... I know what you mean by the sense of time during a hospital vigil for a loved one... my heart goes out to you.

          The famous story of the Blind Men and the Elephant addresses the issue of what we perceive to be truth relative to others perceived truth.

          Is it possible to see the whole elephant, the whole elephant being a metaphor for the Truth? With the most open, flexible,big picture mind in conjunction with others, I think we can intuit, resonate with and approach Truth asymptotically. At this level, all truth is unified... no truth contradicts another but no truth can be stated... all is dynamic, all is flow, implicit, energetic and infinitely deep and unknowable with our left hemispheric modes of language and abstraction.

          To resonate with this deepest, unspeakable implicit truth and to do it with others is called "awakening" and it is a state a great joy, insight and creativity...

          Contemplate this lovely animation of wind patterns to make the shift to an awakened right hemispheric mode...

          http://hint.fm/wind/

          No words could adequately describe it... but you know by direct perception that this represents a deep truth...
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          Apr 15 2012: Well put Colleen.

          I agree with keeping an open but reasonably skeptical mind.
          Also it is a joy to explore ideas and expand knowledge and understanding.

          Re: When we understand that there may be other "perceptions of truth", it is no longer necessary to try to prove our "truth" right

          I'm not sure this should extend to not challenging ideas and beliefs of others. Hitler had his version of the truth. It was probably worth challenging. Likewise the Pope or Imans.
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        Apr 10 2012: I'd also suggest not all beliefs about what is true are equal in terms of how close they are to the actual truth.

        Some believe the universe is 6000 years old. Some believe it is more like 13-14 Billion years.
        More than a trivial difference. One is probably a bit closer to the truth than the other.
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          Apr 11 2012: I agree Obey...
          Not all beliefs are equal in terms of how close they are to the actual truth. It depends on what information we are willing to evaluate and accept?
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          Apr 15 2012: Obey,
          Reply to your comment beginning with "Well put Colleen".

          Thank you:>)
          I agree...it is joyous to explore ideas and expand knowledge and understanding:>)

          I don't suggest NOT challenging behaviors that are threatening to other people. I'm suggesting that all people can have his/her own beliefs. However, when those beliefs abuse or violate the rights of others, they are no longer just "beliefs". At that point, they become actions or behaviors that are not beneficial for the whole of humankind. I believe at that point, we can, as a global community, challenge those threatening actions/behaviors. I agree...there are people in our world who would threaten and violate the rights of others because of his/her belief. As long as they are beliefs that don't threaten or violate the rights of others, they can believe what they want. When those beliefs adversly impact the health, well being, and rights of others, I believe we can and should take action to prevent the violation of rights.

          One factor which contributes to the violation of human rights is isolation. We now have the technology to monitor abuse of human rights around our world. I also believe we are evolving to the point of thinking and feeling on different levels..."awakening", as Joe says in his comment above, which hopefully gives us, as a global community, more strength and power to prevent violations of human rights.
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          Apr 15 2012: Dear Joe,
          I could not get this reply directly under your comment...hope you find it!

          Thank you for your encouragemnent and kind words regarding my brother....yes...time stands still when one is with a loved one whose health, well being and life is challenged. It's always nice interacting with you my friend. That is the truth!

          You ask..."Is it possible to see the whole elephant, the whole elephant being a metaphor for the Truth?"

          I believe it is possible, as you say with an open, flexible, mind and heart, and willingness to look at the big picture

          You may notice that Salim's elephant story begins with..."5 blind people went to see an elephant , time was limited.....so they tried to see the elephant with in that time span".

          Time was limited...they tried to see what they could see within the time span.
          What happens when we take the time to see, hear, and evaluate the many different parts of the whole? What happens when we are mindful, aware, attentive in each and every moment? My experience tells me that I am open to more information, which allows me to be more accepting of other people's "truths".

          I want to clarify that I do NOT advocate accepting someone's "truth" which manifests into abusive behaviors which are a violation of human rights. I suggest being open to "beliefs"....NOT behaviors which adveresly impact others.

          Unfortunately, I could not access the link you provided:>(
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        Apr 14 2012: Dear Mwenjew,
        Sorry for the delayed response. I've been with my brother in Boston, as he had surgery to remove lung cancer, and have not been very active on TED in the last few days.

        Your question:
        "Colleen,
        Just wondering. could there be a difference between time and the illusion of time ?"

        For me, time seems to be both reality and illusion. It is a human construct, which is used consistantly in our world, so in that respect, it is very real...is it not?

        In another respect, I am aware of different levels of consciousness, where tiime is simply an illusion. Because it is a human construct, it is not relevant when one experiences the different states of consciousness.

        I have not worn a watch for 25-30 years. I eat when hungry, sleep when tired, and sometimes get lost in projects, like the gardens for example, and totally forget about time and space. The last few days, while with my brother in the hospital, felt like an eternity, although it was only 4 days.

        Do you think it is a matter of how we use and percieve "time", which causes it to be "real", or an illusion? I see many people getting attached to time...they think/feel they do not have enough time, or are not using their time appropriately, and in that way, they/we allow time to be a limitation.

        "Time" is "truth" as created by humans, and as with any other human construct, may be subject to change and/or may be an illusion.

        What do you think/feel about this Mwenjew?
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          Apr 15 2012: Colleen, You are one of the aware and a very fine teacher of awareness. I have recently been fascinated with the idea of flow... at one level, the Universe is a fantastically complex interaction of interwoven flows. Since it is dynamic and ever changing, we can intuit its truth, perceive it directly, especially with the capacities of the right cerebral hemisphere, but there is no way to describe it with total accuracy or to turn it into a intellectual abstraction that we call truth... it just is... we can resonate with it and know it in some way but cannot turn it into an object.

          Here is another great animation of flow... hope you can get this one... let me know what you think. I feel we need to stay in touch.

          http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/perpetual-ocean.html
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          Apr 15 2012: Hi Colleen
          All my best wishes for your brother.......I know you are capable enough to handle such tough situation but even then my best wishes for you as well.

          As usual you enriched the discussion with your experience and practices from life itself.
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        Apr 15 2012: Thank you Joe,
        I try to be as aware as possible, because I do not like to deny myself an opportunity to learn, grow and evolve:>)

        I agree...everything is about "flow". I love the video....thanks....talk about ripple effect huh???

        Are you aware of the book entitled FLOW by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi? Excellent! I think he also has a talk here on TED, which I haven't watched yet.
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        Apr 15 2012: Salim,
        Thank you for your thoughts of my brother, and your kind, encouraging words. He is doing well...stabalizing and out of ICU:>) He is the 2nd brother who has had major, very invasive surgery for cancer in the last 6 months.

        No matter how tough/strong I am, or think I am, support and encouragment from friends is always appreciated and welcome in my heart. One of my important "truths", is that we are all here to support each other in our life journey:>)
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    Apr 13 2012: The truth is that which is so. How we determine what is so is tricky. Our own senses can sometimes elude us, such as in illusion. In hypnotism, a subject can be persuaded that something is so, and the subject will create the illusion from memory.

    In science, the truth is determined from repetitive results. Some claims are simple such as gravity always pulls objects towards the earth. We can define it with a formula and test it repeatedly with accurate results. Some claims are complex such as evolution. We can infer various factors involved with the process, but may not be able to prove every one to be correct. The more complex the truth is, the more difficult it is to prove it without doubt.

    In religion, the truth is determined from spiritual revelation (not to be confused with belief in sacred scripture). Sacred scripture was to act as a guide. It is very ambiguous and requires meditation in order to come to any understanding. Without understanding, religion is blind. Because it is ambiguous, the truth is much harder to find. Misinterpretations abound in religion because we don't have the mindset of the writer to define what was intended. Sometimes we don't even have the original words, but only translations.

    "The four corners of the earth" led to the belief that the earth was flat. It really refers to the four cardinal points of the compass and has nothing to do with geometry.
    Distortions in the mental field can create all sorts of psychosomatic disorders. Since Satan represents the master of deception, there is merit to the claim that the devil causes illness, but one must distinguish what is causing illness. There are many doctors that refer their patients to therapists because they cannot find any physical cause of their illness. In such cases, distortions in what a person believes has been found to be the cause.

    We have to distinguish between what we know to be true, and what we believe to be true, and go from there.
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      Apr 13 2012: Perhaps revelations should not be considered the truth automatically.
      These are usually interpreted via cultural religious lens and may simply be psychological behaviour.
      These insights conflict with each other.
      Perhaps they should be treated carefully and not accepted blindly via faith.

      I'm not sure what biblical evidence there is for satan being able to create life such as bacteria.
      God created lfe according to the bible. It doesn't mention bacteria because the authors did not know it existed. Like wise there is probably more biblical consistency with god causing storms, earthquakes and floods than the devil. Some Christians still think Katrina was god punishing the USA.
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        Apr 14 2012: Obey,
        Revelation is a window into the unknown. Often it is not complete or all encompassing, so you are right that revelation should not be considered as truth, only a means to ponder on what the truth may be. Revelation causes us to think outside the box.

        I am not saying that Satan can create bacteria, only that not all illness is the result of bacteria. There was man who was losing his eyesight. The doctor could find no physical explanation for his symptoms, so the doctor referred him to a therapist. The therapist discovered that the man had an addiction to pornography, but felt that looking at it was a sin and would incur him eternal torment, so he was praying to God to take away his desire to look at it. Unbeknown to him, his own mind was responding to his prayer by making it not possible to look at it at all. Once the therapist got the man to deal with his addiction, his eyesight was restored to normal.

        Psychosomatic illness is not due to bacteria but some distortion in the mental field. That was the point that I was trying to convey. The mind computes by what it knows. So if what it knows is false, the results will be disturbing. That is the underlying nature of the character that we call Satan. Misconceptions can be deadly as any study into the witch trials of Europe would reveal.
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          Apr 15 2012: The mind is an amazing thing.

          I'm not sure you see Satan as a metaphor or as an entity in the more traditional sense - deceiver, fallen angel, adversary, person/spirit/angel.

          Satan is a fairly loaded term. Like god.

          They still have issues in Papua New Guinea where people are murdered for witchcraft. Until recently they law was more lenient in these cases then for other motives.
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        Apr 15 2012: Obey,

        I see Satan as a mythological character as that which embodies evil in the spiritual realm. And I see the spiritual realm as the collective consciousness of all humanity, and possibly beyond. Although I don't know what beyond means, only that I have had experiences that I cannot explain by any conventional wisdom.

        The mind is an amazing thing. It is sad that many are still motivated by fear and wild imaginings.
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          Apr 16 2012: Thanks for clarifying Roy.

          Agree. We have enough real things to worry about without these cultural imaginings like Limbo etc.
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    Apr 9 2012: Of course there is truth. Truth is absolute. The problem is that we as a race, throughout history, had thought that our beliefs were true. We must be very careful about what "we" consider to be true.

    Many people believe tha truth is relative, but this is a deception: what we believe to be true becomes true to us, and in that way we are creating our own reality. And in that way we make ourselves gods.

    Sounds crazy, I know, but when you've been around as long as I have, the only things that sound truly crazy arw listening to what other people are stone cold sure is the absolute truth . . . even when you know it's complete balderdash.

    Much like the type of balderdash I am leaving you here.
  • Apr 7 2012: Yes. Truth. Truth is powerful. Truth works. Repeating words that have been brainwashed into you is not truth. If you are honest with yourself and others, you observe and express the truths that you personally behold.....even if it means taking a personal risk. Only TRUTH will make us free. Repeating words like a parrot is not an expression of truth. SEEK TRUTH, FIND TRUTH. Perhaps it takes courage to be who you really are, but it certainly pays off in that you get to live an authentic life. Don't be intimidated by a bunch of dead people who tried to control you and others. Live your own truth.
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    Apr 7 2012: John 14:6 (NIV)
    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

    John 8:32 (NIV)
    Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

    :-)
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        Apr 7 2012: Do you have an germane example of Atheistic intellect at work, Gerald?
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          Apr 7 2012: yes I do. Truth is something we get closer to whenever we improve our theories about the world. improvement is mesured by the amount of knowledge gained.
          To know something is to have a good explanation for it.
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        Apr 7 2012: Lewis Carrol had a good explanation for Wonderland, is Alice real/true?
        Isn't truth kind of like pregnancy Gerald, in that you are either are or you are not. Close to truth is not truth. I don't see any more merit in atheistic intellect than in judeo Christian arrogance. We all lack knowledge and that is what keeps us from truth. Thanks.
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          Apr 7 2012: Good point.
          Truth is infinite knowledge, so it's not something we can reach.
          So no one is pregnant. Some claim to be, though. But I don't trust them.

          Close to truth is not truth, but closer to truth is better. It's all about keeping the progress going. And this is how it starts : "All I know is that I know nothing."
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      Apr 9 2012: And there are plenty of people claiming to know the Truth about the human condition.

      Probably been that way for thousands of years.

      Suggest we have a more accurate picture of reality now than 2000 years ago.
      • Apr 9 2012: Hardly... but we learned to ask questions.

        What is real ?
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          Apr 9 2012: "what is real?"

          Well, what is real is what affect what is real.
          This definition may seem to be rolling around. That's because it is.

          And because the question "what is real" is already a statement about what's real.

          much easier to say what isn't real. For instance, the Easter Bunny does not affect my backyard. So it's not real.
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          Apr 10 2012: We now know about evolution, bacteria, viruses, stars, planets, galaxies, atoms, medicine, electricty, nuclear power etc. Physics, Chemistry, Biology and all their practical applications.

          Seems to be a bit more than our ancestors knew 2,000 years ago.
      • Apr 9 2012: If you are absolutely sure, that you know what your backyard is, there is no necessity to bring the Easter Bunny into the picture to introduce your point:)
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          Apr 10 2012: Hi Chris,

          I would have to actually disagree with your statement being that consensus does not constitute as truth and most relativist approaches to topics I think is bankrupt (although I understand where relativist are coming from). and this is of course if you were refering to Geralds perception.

          Secondly, millions of children may believe in the Easter Bunny, Santa or the Boogyman etc but this does not lend to the slightest credence that any of the three exist and we know for sure that none of these things exist in the way that we talk and describe them. The same goes for God: millions of people believe in some sort of God but their beliefs do not match the true nature of what some would call Ultimate Reality. The same goes for those who do not believe in some sort of God.

          I agree with you that not all perceptions equal truth but nonetheless not every perception is wrong all because there are different approaches to one particular subject.

          All that is required nowadays is evidence and reason: If someone has good reasons to believe something then we accept that. If what someone believes scales with the evidence then we accept that. If you do not believe this statement all I have to say is that you were doing just exactly what i said when you and Natasha responded to Gerald's post.

          In other words, what I am saying is that when we listen to what someone has to say about something we evaluate their reasons and look at the evidence.

          This is usually the case with all value statements and if this still seems a bit fuzzy just think about how you would react if I was to go on here and state that Hitler's notion of Aryan Supremacy was absolute truth and accounts of what he did in during the holocaust was nothing but fabricated history. I would expect that you would totally dismiss such a statement being that not only is such a claim unreasonable but it does not correlate with the events that actually took place during that time
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          Apr 10 2012: ahhh I agree, perception is NOT truth.

          In fact perception is not even perception.
      • Apr 11 2012: Obey,

        Don't take me wrong, I don't want to belittle scientific achievements.On the contrary, I think, two millennia of empirical observations and great progress in science make us realise that we have no clue what IS real, what IS reality. The very ' IS' is challenged now. Check out here http://www.ted.com/conversations/10581/how_does_virtuality_translate.html
        it's just an example to illustrate my point and there are plenty of those.
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          Apr 15 2012: Good point. The more we know, the more we know we don't know.

          Some elements of science/reality may be beyond what most of us humans can understand intuitively.

          - Natural selection no problem.
          - What is gravity and how it actually works - no idea - although we can do the calculations with remarkable accuracy

          Still I think some perceptions, approximations of reality are a lot closer to the truth than others.
          And in practical terms some perhaps trivial claims are reasonable - earth goes round the sun. The earth is spinning relative to the sun giving us day and night - the sun does not rest in a cradle overnight.
  • Apr 6 2012: There is a great book called "Beyond Feelings" by Vincent Ryan Ruggiero. There is a chapter on this subject called "What is Truth?". The summary of the chapter is:
    Truth has to be discovered not created. Period.

    ....It was the work of God. Did someone discovered it or was it a belief.
    Our ideas and beliefs are unavoidably influenced by others, particularly in childhood. Our perceptions and memory are not perfect. Our information is incomplete or inaccurate. Flaws in our thinking. All of these reasons push us towards "creating our own truth". It is not truth, just beliefs, ideas that we accept as true but that could easily be false. Our beliefs and assertions are true when they correspond to that reality and false when they do not.
    Truth is apprehended by discovery, a process that favours the curious and the deligent. Truth does not depend on our acknowledgement of it, nor is it in any way altered by our ignorance or transformed by our wishful thinking
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    Apr 16 2012: We shouldn't have one word for "truth"- it suggest a yes or no quality to the very word.

    We should have variations of "truth" - struth (slightly true), ptruth (partially true), mtruth (mostly true), atruth (always true) - (I'm not suggesting we add any words to any dictionary, rather just start thinking in variation, process and dimension)

    Ambiguous statements...
    A. The world is round. Rather, the world is round is true, but not entirely. mtruth - it has qualities of shape that are rounded.
    B. Religion is nonsense. False, Religions vary historically and modernly, however modernly fundamentalism proves nonsensical. struth - Extremist of fundamentalism prove careless of rational, empirical and/or intuitive cultures developing globally.

    The way we must look at truth should be both a process and as an anticipation of a fuzzy factor - the fact there are a lot of REAL variables we must consider to be fully aware.

    While the goal is to be "objective" and "absolute" we must realize we have to do go through subjective measures to obtain those goals of knowledge. Since we are only able to be attached to our own minds, we must absorb what others have to produce and trade in the ontological and semantic realm as to gather more subjective evidence of the objective truth... While there is a constant (or should be) push and pull of internal and external belief systems... We should also realize we have a physiological part of our brain-body influencing our unconscious mind...

    We are not one entity, we are three. Or at least we are not one simply entity, but a thing with three dimensions of qualities pushing and pulling on another. Mind + Brain + Body - or - meta-spiritualism + neuropsychological + physiological...

    I love this speech - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WibmcsEGLKo

    I would give that speech an atruth rating - explanation - the music!

    We are a multitude - how can truth be any less variable than we ourselves are, if we are just a consciousness in existence?
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      Apr 16 2012: That vid certainly made me listen and you're right excellent choice of music.
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    Apr 15 2012: As long as there is change in universe...there will be no Truth!!!!!!
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      Apr 15 2012: Hello Khushal! I posted some links to awesome animations of flow on Earth below... perhaps we can harmonize ourselves with that change, intuit it in some way but of course it could never be stated with words or abstractions... all stated truth would be partial as per the Blind Men and the Elephant mentioned below...

      Knowing these things, I still think it is worthwhile to try and approach the truth and to attempt to perceive it directly without words, using the capacities of the right cerebral hemisphere...

      See... http://www.ted.com/talks/iain_mcgilchrist_the_divided_brain.html
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    Apr 13 2012: There are things that are true and things that are false.
    There are things that are on the right road to truth,
    and there are things that off in a field somewhere picking daisies,
    and things that are are on the road but going in the opposite direction.
    We want to think we are on the right road to truth...but we wont know till we get there.


    Somethings we have already got there and we know as truths...the whole round earth thing for example..(sorry Chris Kelly for bringing that up again) But there are many things we are still on the road to discovering...its this journey that makes life worth living...to me anyway.
  • Apr 10 2012: Hi,
    " What do you define as the truth?"
    Wikipedia gives what I consider an accurate definition: As such, "truth" must have a beneficial use to be retained within language. Defining this potency and applicability can be looked upon as "criteria", and the method used to recognize a "truth" is termed a criterion of truth. Since there is no single accepted criterion, they can all be considered "theories".

    Or is the truth ever changing?
    Well, such a conclusion could be drawn after reading tons of history books. : )
    Changing paradigms takes time.. maybe because... "If it's not your experience it's not your reality"
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    Apr 10 2012: The word itself denotes a human condition a human disposition.
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    Apr 8 2012: An analogy of seeing or experiencing TRUTH....well known story it is....

    5 blind people went to see an elephant , time was limited.....so they tried to see the elephant with in that time span

    After their elephant experience....they started describing

    First saying "Elephant is like a pillar"......as s/he could touch one of the legs of Elephant
    Second disagreed ....."no no its like a hose pipe or a python"....s/he could get hold of the trunk of the same
    Third loudly decalred ...."both of you are wrong it's like huge size carrot"....it was the tusk s/he could grab..
    Fourth ...."all of you are dead wrong , it's like a huge fan".........one of the ears s/he touched
    Fifth told ..."come on friends I could see better....its like a enormous lump of thorny meatball' .....s/he could touch through the main body

    That's what the TRUTH is......well it's my feeling only
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      Apr 8 2012: The blind person with no hands to feel, heard the trumpeting sound the elephant made, and so.....described it as a trumpet......and that was his/her truth:>)
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        Apr 9 2012: That's a good sixth one Colleen.....:)

        Well I am also giving my example.....I am myopic since my early childhood , so without spec....if something written on wall at some distance & letters are not big enough for my eye sight, it's unreadable....that's the truth for me without spec...... but to a person with normal vision it's readable.....so that's her/his TRUTH.
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      Apr 9 2012: Sounds to me like they all got partial glimpses of the truth.

      Perhaps the error is to believe you have the absolute truth.
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        Apr 9 2012: Yeap that's it......
        Moreover it seems only TRUTH is CHANGE......
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        Apr 9 2012: Good point Obey,
        I believe we base our "truth" on the information we have available to us. When humans believe we/they have the "absolute truth", we often stop exploring and/or being open to more information.I would percieve it to be an "error" on my part to believe I know the absolute truth, because I would not like to deny myself the opportunity to learn, grow and evolve.

        Often, however, people feel secure with his/her "truth" as s/he thinks s/he knows it, and will not open the heart and mind to anything different....it's always a choice. I would not deny myself the opportunity to have more information:>)
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          Apr 10 2012: Thanks Colleen. I guess it is reasonable to put up a bit of a fight before changing your world view, but good to keep an open mind. I have opinions on a lot of matters, some strongly held, but these views have evolved over time. Some have changed quickly when faced with an overwhelming contrary insight. I don't claim to have the absolute truth, but hopefully views that reflect the evidence etc.

          I find debate and discussion a good way to refine my world view.

          The deeply held core views don't change that easily, but can change in their own time if you are open to it.

          I guess some belief systems do claim to have the absolute eternal truth. Some make switching off your reason a virtue. Doubt, questioning, challenging the inconsistencies may not be seen as a virtue.
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    Apr 7 2012: Question: 2+2=5?

    Response: Our very vocabulary or lexicon is ever changing, subjective and individually based. Do not stop at the labels we have assigned to an item when searching for truth or fact. This mathematical question uses labels defined by humankind to express a concept of measuring quantities. The quantities measured are constant or factual. The labels of "2" and "5" can be "doodle" and "turd" but the quantity truth or fact remains the same.

    Question: God created the universe?

    Response: These beliefs may or may not be factually based. Millions of people once believed the world was flat. They lived, died, had children and grew in the world of their time. This incorrect flat earth belief was eventually found to be an incorrect belief. Faith is an entirely unique kettle of fish! Fact and Truth within Faith can be very much a slippery concept. Fact and truth are not a requirement to be a proven item within a faith.

    Thank you both for making me think!
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      Apr 9 2012: Sean, I would add that some relgions teach faith in their truth despite all contrary evidence or other interpretations is a virtue. You have to protect the delusion.

      Meanwhile they judge the delusions of other religions. They say science is a religion, when science is about continual improvement to fit reality not dogma.

      Faith and religion is certainly a slippery beast.
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        • Apr 9 2012: What dogma would that be?
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          Apr 10 2012: The scientific process challenges it theories by it's very nature.
          If a better theory is found that predicts and fits the evidence better it replaces the old.

          Yes, we have to remind ourselves that current scientific theories, or what we learnt in school may have been updated, or may be updated in the future. Science develops as our understanding improves.

          I'm not deluded to think all current theories are the absolute truth and can not be improved. I'm not deluded to think we have all the answers. In fact the cosmic and quantum scales are beyond the intuition of most of our monkey brains yet the theories work pretty well.

          There may be well established theories, that may be wrong. But no dogma. Also science is a human endeavour so I expect some rivalry and perhaps stuborness. The competition is good. Peers test the theories. Perhaps there are blind spots due to human nature, but the scientific process has worked real miracles. The technology today would appear as magic to the ancients.

          Still it is good to maintain some healthy scepticism. I think par tof the issue is modern science has moved past the laypersons ability to comprehend it. We feel safer if we drive the car rather than a pilot flying a plane when the statistics are the other way. This lack of control, this reliance on others may be part of the issue. Plus some theories conflict with religious beliefs. Also, perhaps there are genuine phenomena that non theist laypeople with simplistic materialistic views of reality discount without proper consideration.

          However, science works. You can thank science and its application for the computer you have. The antibiotics. The car. The phone. The lights.

          You may be confusing Science for religion in regards to dogma.
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        Apr 9 2012: The earth is flat until you stop walking horizontal.
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      • Apr 9 2012: I think Chris, that "educated" or "scholars," were not the majority of people in the middle ages. I might be wrong though. What do you think?
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          Apr 10 2012: And what about before the Greeks.

          Anyway while that detail may be suspect, maybe change flat earth to the sun revolving around the earth. Or the evil eye causing disease. Or epilepsy being a medical condition not demons. Or the Sun being a giant nuclear furnace and actually our nearest star not something different to other stars, or evolution not creation etc and the main thrust of the point stands.
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    Apr 7 2012: Truth is not determined by popular vote. An untruth can be erroneously embraced as truth by the entire population, and vice versa. The Relativist philosophers tell us there is no truth. Religious leaders tell us their way is truth. The information we receive through our senses is not always consistent with truth. The human mind can process two types of information; Imaginary and Real. Truth is all the information consistent with Reality. The opposite of truth is false. 2+2 does not equal 4 because it is Truth, but because everyone agrees it is so, that is semantics. The statement, "The absence of heat is cold." is consistent with reality and therefor is truth. To define Truth you must first define Reality.
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      Apr 9 2012: Edward, totally agree that popular opinion does not equal the truth, and with much else in your comment.

      Definition is very important.

      In terms of relativism, while there is no absolute morality we can argue rationally about would values and behaviour enhance the human condition. Slavery does not. Equality does. I would argue capital punishment does not.
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        Apr 9 2012: Thanks Mr. kinobe. The problem is that someone could argue that capital punishment does enhance the human condition so we are faced with a subjective, debatable issue which is, therefore, not Truth. Relativism cannot declare an issue to be "Truth/Right" or "Error/Wrong".
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          Apr 10 2012: Some issues are very complex. Often involving a clash of so called rights or values or freedoms. I a bit of a liberal, if you aren't hurting other people, is a good starting point for analysing things from a non absolute view.

          One issue with absolute morality is that different beliefs have different ideas what the absolute morality is. Kind of makes them look like man made. Even christians argued for and against slavery. Your source material is not that good.
          Thalt shall not kill. But kill witches, homosexuals, rude children, people working on a saturday etc.

          If there is an absolute truth, humans probably don't know what it is. They certainly can't agree on it.

          Imagine for a moment that all the religious dogma is just man made. Couldn't we have a pretty good shot at coming up with something at least as good as what they come up with 2,500 + years ago.

          The challenge is when people have different values. I value men and women equally. Some don't. But we I guess I can put a better reasoned secular argument forward in favour of equality, against slavery, against the death penalty than the opposing view if you don't fall back on scriptures.

          Scriptures are the bane of moral progress. There is some good stuff - lets keep that - I think we have all worked out that it is good to treat others as you'd like to be treated unless the others are masochists etc. But some nasty stuff. Do we really want to stone adulterers in 2012. Do we want to have guidelines for slavery as per scripture or no slavery. These books are the product of their time. A more barbaric pre enlightenment time. Most theists don't realise they pick and choose from the same source material depending when and where they were born. Most western christians wouldn't burn witches 2day

          I think you can make a compelling argument without relying on scripture or dogma or one supposed revelation or another.

          A Jain or Quaker may argue against capital punishment. A Christian might argue in favour - eye for ey
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        Apr 10 2012: Your abundant, youthful energy in conversing makes it difficult for me (not youthful) to focus on your essential point. So, permit me a question, or two. 1) Do you see religious convictions as a barrier to Truth, generally speaking? 2) Are you sufficiently familiar with the moral teachings of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and the Eastern religions to fairly judge their effect on the human condition? Thank you for sharing your perspective Mr. kinobe.
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          Apr 13 2012: Hi Edward.

          I’ll answer in two parts because I got overly enthusiastic thinking about your questions.
          Are religious convictions a barrier to the truth?

          “Religious convictions” covers a wide range of views. I suggest it depends on the type of convictions, and how the individual applies those convictions.

          For example a Deist may have fewer constraints than a fundamentalist Muslim cleric.

          If you are relying on a priest of Jupiter, the pope, your preacher, a or set of scriptures as the foundation for reality, as the absolute truth, and via faith are unwilling to examine or challenge these beliefs, then I suggest that would be a barrier to truth.

          The one exception being if the religious interpretation you follow is actually the truth then obviously not. But it is highly improbable any one human religion is the truth.

          However, perhaps there is wisdom and understanding to be found reading the scriptures if done with an open mind. Actually it helps to understand the bible to understand Christianity and its impact on the world. In terms of spirituality, I got more out of Tolle’s books.

          Likewise any non theist who believes their high school science understanding is the absolute truth and is not open to reality being stranger than we think, that denies people sometimes actually have powerful, transcendent experiences is also closed to the truth.

          However, being certain these experiences are not just psychological phenomena, or that they are from your interpretation of god, is also closed minded.
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          Apr 13 2012: Am I sufficiently familiar with the moral teachings of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and the Eastern religions to fairly judge their effect on the human condition?

          Without giving you my full CV in this regard - I'm not an in depth expert in the thousands of gods and millions of related religious interpretations. I probably have an above average understanding compared to most non practitioners - perhaps better than many theists have of their competing belief systems. But I'm sure there are many who have a far better in depth understanding overall.

          Am I qualified to suggest whether each individual religion has had an overall positive or negative impact on humanity? Who is qualified to answer that?

          With respect, I believe I still make a valid point that we would be better off if we stopped seeing religious texts or what the pope said as the absolute authority on morality. For starters all these absolute moralities conflict in the details. You can not except them all.

          Secondly there are objectionable god given laws. Many of us have moved past the sexism, ignorance and violence of 2000 years ago.

          I find most reasonable religious people actually pick and choose what to take from the bible.

          There are also those that believe that there is no basis for reasonable morality if not revealed by a god, which is ridiculous by any reasoned analysis. We don’t need imaginary or real gods to work out that the human experience and society is improved if life is valued, property ownership respected, and if we have compassion for others.

          In terms of morality there is a mix of good and bad in religious teachings. Aztec human sacrifice. Stoning adulters. Killing infidels. Time we dropped the taboo of treating religion as off limits for ethical examination. Don't ignore the bad teachings, the sexism, genital mutilation, stoning, anti condoms etc.

          Surely we'd be better off using our brains than blind faith in bronze age scriptures. Keep what is good and dump what is not.
  • Apr 7 2012: A good concept is: Truth does not suffer from examination. Human beings will always be both bothered and rewarded from truth seeking, considering the thousands of questions of life for which we seek answers. It is good for us all to discuss what interests us and what is true will emerge over a long time. Consider educational progress through school: an age five child is not capable of post graduate advanced education with mature comprehension. Time is needed to memorize and comprehend relationships of facts.

    It is right to say truth is related to one's experiences. Truth in Moscow may not be true Bogota, etc.

    I think it is good mind activity to seek truth in all life situations as you progress in age and this includes the Cosmos and personal questions as to whether there is a God. You can't slice out what cannot be separated and still call yourself a truth seeker.

    I would offer this for related discussion: You can be a truth seeker and an evidence seeker. Evidence seekers can be involved in proving wrong a theory or seeking evidence there must be more! If you are honest with your inner self, then truth will be discovered or revealed in your thoughts.

    Truth seeking is a major characteristic of science. We think, we search, we test ideas, we invent for better testing and research, and we discover. Then we report and prove to others. Science is a major mind activity and is a great gift to man. Truth seeking as to why this is a gift is also just as valuable and important.

    My 2 cents worth.

    Peace,
    MK
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    Apr 7 2012: To me, it depends on the truth. Some types of "truth" like the Earth being round, the planets revolving around the Sun, etc. are facts based on our observations of the universe. Really, maybe even these truths aren't true. We just don't know the more accurate version at this time. Regardless, the reality of the situation is the truth whether or not we are aware of it.

    Other "truths" such as 2 + 2 = 4 are only true based on human consensus because it is part of a human-created system. Math, counting, many aspects of time, etc. are all parts of systems we created so if we say otherwise, then the otherwise becomes the new truth as we are the creators.
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    Apr 7 2012: Truth is always and present. Humankind's recognition of it's presence is slow to arrive at best. Truth: 2+2 = 4, it doesn't change due to mans need to call it five or skunk, the truth is 4.
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      Apr 7 2012: how do you know it ?

      Imagine I with a couple of million people start saying : 2+2=5 , how would you find us wrong ?
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        Apr 7 2012: how about a couple billion people saying God created the universe?
        how would you find them wrong?
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          Apr 9 2012: Well, to start off they think different gods created it.
          Then they say their gods did it different ways in different time frames.
          Simple logic is they can't all be right.

          Then you can try understand why they believe what they believe.
          Then you can examine the source material or evidence for the claims.
          Then compare this with alterntaive views.

          The numbers might help prioritise your analysis but in no way imply what is correct.

          Didn't Christianity start with about 12 people. At the time Islam had not been invented. Buddhism was going strong, but that only got started 500 years earlier.

          Go back 30,000 or 50,000 years then I guess no one believed in the current major religions because they did not exist. Go back millions of years and modern humans did not exist so there was no religion or imaginary gods I guess.

          I'd take modern science as a better explanation than 2000 year old books that conflict with what we have learnt about the universe in the last 2000 years.
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          Apr 10 2012: Gerald :I wouldn't .

          GM :

          Take modern science , who stops you? I just tried to share you the science it's not in conflict with that books .
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          Apr 10 2012: Chris, I'm not sure ancient science deserves to be linked to the word science.
          Like comparing chemistry and alchemy.

          Can you expand what you mean by ancient science. Are you talking about kabala or complex codes in the bible etc.

          Just a guess but I expect 99% believers in Judism, Islam, Christianity, etc would have taken a more straight forward view of the holy texts.

          So called ancient science didn't seem to deliver any technologies that have improved our lives like good old fashioned regular science.

          What evidence do you have that it is more reliable?

          Modern science isn't that easy to understand. If you think you understand quantum physics, you don't really understand how weird it is. Still I'm glad modern science is not an exclusive club like your so called ancient science.

          E G, I guess depending on how you take those books I have the opinion that they do conflict. No issue if we disagree.
  • Apr 16 2012: The only true Truth is in the design of the universe we live in. Be it by "God" or a teenager outside this uni-verse with a great computer our realm is Truth itself. Cause and effect rule the day.Pray all you wish, I do not deny it's psychological help in getting through the day, but jump from a building and you suffer the consequence.
    The Creators only rule to follow was Truth. From there it had to be a "hands off" experience, no meddling.
    If all had this view we would have no religious war.That is the truth.
  • Apr 15 2012: Hi all

    What is true? ... no matter what it is, we simply can't handle it.

    take your time and think about it. no matter what they historians say.
    even now what is true to you can not be true to someone else.

    you might have an idea of what is TRUE, but some one else might have an idea that opposes yours,
    yet the other idea is true too.
    so now you have got a dilemma, two different ides of TRUTH, which one is true? which one to accept?

    none or both.

    I agree with Khushal, in our changeable universe there will be no truth.
    in our changeable societies there will be no truth.
    Time changes many things, but not everything

    The world has got the shape as it had always got, it was only men's interpretation of how it was.
    can interpretations vary from man to man and time to time?
    so at that time we chose to think it was flat (because we couldn't think of going out and finding it out or maybe we didn't want to)

    we can argue about the existence of some people in the past (ex: Jesus Christ, Buddha, Muhammad, etc)
    we don't know what they will say about Gandhi, Einstein, Hitler in 500 years from now.
    maybe they will have doubts about these people's existence.
    can it be true then? it might be true now.

    is it true that a day has got 24 hours? .... if it had 60 hours, wouldn't that be true?
    what if in the future someone comes up with an idea and says: "from one on, every minute is an hour"
    and the rest accept that as a TRUTH
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    Apr 14 2012: Truth has (at least) two meanings: one allows for it (truth) to change as our understanding of something changes; the other meaning of truth is permanent, unchangeable.

    Here are two poems that describe the differing meanings:

    "Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost

    Nature's first green is gold
    Her hardest hue to hold.
    Her early leaf's a flower;
    But only so an hour.
    Then leaf subsides to leaf.
    So Eden sank to grief,
    So dawn goes down to day.
    Nothing gold can stay.



    "Ode to a Grecian Urn" by John Keats

    The poem ends with these lines:

    "When old age shall this generation waste,
    Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
    Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
    "Beauty is truth, truth beauty," - that is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
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    Apr 13 2012: Some claims are more "yes or no" than others.

    For example does the sun go round the earth or the earth around the sun?
    One is claim is closer to the truth. In fact you could reasonably make the claim the latter is true.

    Things like morality are more subjective as they are human constructs.
    The colour blue is better than red.
    Women are inferior to men.
    The word marriage should just be for male/female not same sex couples
    But you can argue whether a claim betters the human condition.
    Perhapsd there general statements most would agree on in this context.
    E.g. Life is sacred.

    Bills of rights try to enshrine these values in law.
    They have pros and cons as the world changes.
    They can be interpreted different ways.
    The right to bear arms - should this cover automatic weapons, grenade launchers, nuclear weapons.

    Religious texts suffer from this as well. We have moved on from stoning adulterers or killing infidels or killing witches. Actually, perhaps we have not entirely moved on.

    A bill of rights is a human construct, not the truth.There are no absolute rights. There are values we aspire too.
    Same for religions.
  • Apr 12 2012: Truth is constant, everything else about it is changing. Everything includes knowledge, application, benefits and so on...

    Entire life people work in search of truth and this journey of search is evolution.

    regards
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    Apr 11 2012: Why is it that when we think of truth, we tend to think of it as something transcendental of the vicissitude of human experience when in fact a naturalistic and perhaps an introspective approach may lead to the truth?

    Many may side with the introspective approach being that it makes them feel as though they can obtain something that is transcendental but I do not think we'd would be as far as we are without the naturalistic and empirical approaches.
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    Apr 10 2012: This is a very deep topic. I highly recommend you these two books: Truth and Actuality, J. Krishnamurty and David Bohm and A Discourse on Method, Rene Descartes.
    I really think these two could be wayyyy helpful.
  • Apr 10 2012: Is truth absolute or perception? How truth is presented to others may be percieved as truth.

    My example: At a dinner I noticed the person next to me was starting to lift his glass to drink.
    I lifted my glass, sniffed it, tasted it and said to him "I would be careful drinking that . He asked why? Itold him I have a
    bottle at home called dihydrominoxide I use as a solvent and cleaner that smells and tastes just like this. It can be very dangerous if misused. I have heard of many people who have died misusing dihydrominoxide !
    He put his glass down and only sipped it after he saw me sipping mine. Obviously he did not know basic chemistry.
    Every word I told him was true, but truthfully, misleading him to a to a wrong perception.

    Later I explained that dihydro meant two atoms of hydrogen, monoxide meant one atom of oxygen or H2O or water.
    Was his perception now true? A truth can be tested many ways by many others and if proven factual then it is TRUE
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    Apr 9 2012: Hi Natasha

    Ah a branch that changes or adds to the flow.Can i ask you a question? Do you know of two Truths that we can hold within us but are contradictions? I can't think of any,you might be able to.
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    Apr 9 2012: Is there truth to the term "Mass hallucination"
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    Apr 9 2012: I should also add the example that by boundary, I mean that it could range from the universe to one individual. For instance a whole nation believes that obesity is bad is on a larger scale of boundary, where as, one individual believes that birds are creatures that can't fly (extreme example and the only example I thought is not possible, but possible).

    Thanks for reading my thoughts and feel free to share yours.
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    Apr 9 2012: A consensus of ideas among the populace within a certain boundary, which has the ability to evolve through dialogue.
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    Apr 8 2012: Albert, I think you may be confusing beliefs people hold to be true, and what the actual truth is.

    We all get through life with a set of assumptions about the universe. These are limited either by our senses, our measurement devices, our intellect, and the information we have been exposed to and comprehended.

    Reality may be so complex, absolute truth may be beyond our monkey brains.

    But it is a fallacy then to say all assumptions about the universe are equally inaccurate.

    There is enough practical predictability to function. If I press the L button, I believe the letter L will appear on screen. L.

    We can even pass these working assumptions to others, or across generations

    These working assumptions enable us as a species to build planes, computers, and all sorts of tools and devices of increasing etc of increasing complexity and capabilities.
  • Apr 8 2012: There is no Truth, for nothing is certain, everything is in motion, infinitely...
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    Apr 7 2012: The earth is not round by the way .

    The devil is bad (the worse one and only one), bad things happen , therefore illness is caused by him using the viruses.... why to not think so ?

    If God created the universe what could be more true than saying that lighting is the work of God (of course using the electrons.....)?

    You see, what we think and what we do depends very much on circumstances , we are a circumstance . Then that people said something, now we say some other things ; all are we left with is the hope we progressed , and we're still doing that ........... to infinite . Then maybe we'll find the truth .
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      Apr 9 2012: This is a great example of the intellectual gymnatics religious believers conduct.

      They often reinterpret or adjust their beliefs compared to earlier faithful to better fit the world.
      2000 years ago people probably God created Adam and Eve and the universe in 6 days about 6000 years ago.
      Some now claim god set off the big bang 14 billion years ago and is behind evolution.

      2000 years ago, the gods directly intervened to throw lightening, make the crops grow, or make people sick.

      Now god created electricity and the natural processes, but is not so interventionist. The devil previously cursed people, now he just made the viruses. Actually in most theologies the devil does not have the power to create. Their God made viruses, and earthquakes, and the processes that result in birth defects, painful labour, cancer, gangrene, diseases, famine, drought etc.Some people still believe god is punishing us for homosexuality or imorality via floods and earthquakes.

      Others develop fantastic explanations to try fit reality with the orignal views. E.g. a great flood. Then a flatter world because their not enouth water on earth to cover the highest peaks.
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        Apr 10 2012: "All are we left with is the hope we progressed , and we're doing that .......... to infinite.Then maybe will find the truth."
  • Apr 6 2012: It was never "false" that the earth was round. If you are honest with yourself and others, you acknowledge what you know and do not know or you nuance it as accurately as you can. Seek Truth/Find Truth. There are many things that are true. If you have the will to seek and express truth, you are most likely to find truth. Truth works to accomplish our positive goals. Think of what a wonderful world we would have right now, if everyone always uttered the truth as they know it at the moment. Along with seekfinding truth, we can seekfind positive. What a combo! Let's do it.