TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

What is Truth?

Burdened perhaps by a history of social, religious and class intolerance, we – as a society, appear to have lost our way on the certainty of the values of things. Long-held beliefs about God, Country, Society, Tribe, Truth or Falsehood are now regarded as either relative or treated with circumspection. Even love is perceived by many as some grand delusion or fuzzy hog-wash? Is it? In an apparent bid for political correctness or perhaps for fear of bigotry and insensibility, we appear to be over-compensating for our mistakes of the past? Are we throwing away the baby with the bathwater?
Can every idea and inferences of their truths simply be sublimed in relativism? If everything is relative, then what constitutes is the fate of truth? As a premise for exploring this further, let us agree - that beyond relativism and individualism, there are fundamental values we must hold true in order to relate with each other, and live together as a collective in tribes, societies, states, countries and the World. If we shy away from our values, what do we have to correct our mistakes? For example, can’t we safely agree - that racism - in any form, is basically and fundamentally ignorant, if not outright inanity. We also can surmise that a person driving against the traffic on a one-way street is in fact doing something unintelligent. I could go on, and on. Altogether, we can conclude that the only safe extension of the truth still lies within the limits of the context in which it is considered. We can live with the fact that within the context of addition in base 10, one plus one being two - is, and will always be true.

P/s: Please resist subliming this discourse into sheer sophistry and semantics.

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Apr 27 2014: Hi Musk,

    False is false, and what is true has never changed. The trouble is that most of us cannot distinguish between the two. We confuse absolute truth and relative truth.
    • Apr 29 2014: Joshua,

      Could you give me an example of an absolute truth?
      • thumb
        May 1 2014: Hi Wayne,
        How about : "Everything in the universe is made of the same stuff" ?
    • thumb
      Apr 29 2014: Joshua,

      Can't argue that one " False is false" that's the truth. What is real exists what doesn't, doesn't. Might be too simple for complicated minds. To stand the test of time something would have to be changeless. It's rather funny some believe in absolute truth and some don't, I wonder who's in denial? Regards
      • thumb
        May 1 2014: Hi Larry,

        Thanks for your reply.

        I agree, I guess the first stage is whether one believes there is such a thing as 'absolute truth' in the first place (see my reply to Wayne above). Personally I do, but of course trying to describe it from the limited human perspective of perception (rather than ultimate knowledge) makes it difficult to discuss.

        As an added thought, can one deny something that doesn't exist - surely it must exist in order to deny it? (another conundrum).
        • thumb
          May 1 2014: Josh,

          If I may call you that, in my view you do very well in expressing what is difficult to discuss.

          "Everything in the universe is made of the same stuff" To know that you must have followed the "stuff" and have an understanding of fragmentation. Some see the source as the "Big Bang, I like the term "The Grand Division of the Universe" that has given rise to all forms of "stuff".

          To deny something that that doesn't exist could be considered as "Wholesome use of denial" or Truth. Not everything found in my mind exists in Truth and so I deny that as having reality and existing. Strange how one would see what doesn't exist from a false belief. Have I wormed my way thru the conundrum? Regards
      • thumb
        May 2 2014: Hi Larry,
        How about "I deny the denial of truth" as a starting point?
        Josh
        • thumb
          May 2 2014: Josh,

          Why you would choose that as a starting point is perhaps best known to you. 'Deny the denial of Truth" is a mindless journey I have already embarked on. Had I known the amount of undoing I would face my choice would differ. The road home seemed like climbing Mt. Everest just to get to the Tiki Bar. Denial can run very deep, layer upon layer upon layer until trapped in an illusionary world and held captive by the same denial that got me there in the first place. Truth is the freedom from denial. Should I be in denial now may the Power that created me guide me with and to the Truth. Perhaps in knowing this the direction from the starting point would be toward the Truth. I can start by being honest with and about myself. Regards

          Colleen, Did not see a place to post so here it is. I did carefully read over and over his statement and responded "Why you would choose that as a starting point is perhaps best known to you." I was uncertain why he would start there and based on how I read it I trusted he had his reasons. Could I be in error of what he meant, yes. I don't recall telling him he was on a mindless journey, I did in fact express my encounter with a mindless journey of denial in the hope that some one else read and can say that's not for me. What I said did not contain a personal attack or was in the lest bit untruthful. I try to keep a running tab on my own personal inventory. When I am in error I'll admit it and thus find the truth within myself. What's in your wallet?

          Colleen,
          Best I can tell you find something unsettling with something I said. I am perplexed at what it might be. It would appear that there is not anything I can fix other than the thought I hold in mind. I simply refuse to let a you said, I said, he said, be the means and reason to cause a disassociation on my part. My ego mind can come up with a million reasons to say "I can't Love you". The Truth needs only One to say I can. Regards
        • thumb
          May 2 2014: Well said Larry....."I can start by being honest with and about myself".

          When we are honest with and about our self, we tend to encourage others to be honest with and about him/herself as well.

          And yet.....you tell Joshua that what is honest for him is "a mindless journey"?
          Did you carefully consider his statement.... "I deny the denial of truth".

          Did you carefully consider YOUR statement?
          "I can start by being honest with and about myself".


          EDIT regarding edit above:
          Larry,

          You wrote..." I don't recall telling him he was on a mindless journey, I did in fact express my encounter with a mindless journey of denial in the hope that some one else read and can say that's not for me."

          You wrote..."Why you would choose that as a starting point is perhaps best known to you. 'Deny the denial of Truth" is a mindless journey I have already embarked on."

          Joshua did not suggest anything about a MINDLESS journey, and that could make all the difference in a journey of any kind. My impression of Joshua is that he is very MINDFUL with his explorations:>)

          Not much in my wallet at all, and that is the truth:>)
      • thumb
        May 3 2014: Hi again Larry,

        Thank you for your insights. I understand well about the often tediousness of "undoing"; it took me 15+ years to "undo" evangelical christianity from my head.

        Maybe the "undoing" of error, false assumptions and beliefs is an essential part of our journey (albeit often tedious)? And indeed, maybe it ties in with the process of focussing on moving towards truth. I agree with you that "Truth is freedom from denial", and every step towards truth raises some choice-against-life that we have mistakenly taken. My approach is that we need to look at it, feel its full impact emotionally, and then we are ready to let go of that bit and prepare to take the next step.

        "I can start by being honest with and about myself." I agree entirely. Total self-honesty is a pre-requisite on our journey to heal and become whole. This includes admitting to and accepting all the bits of us we don't like, but knowing we are not it/them; we are "other", observing ourselves and our journey back to the original error (or denial) where maybe we thought we could improve upon perfection. And to know that in all this "stuff" and pain we go through and try to unravel, Truth loves us back home as innocent travellers towards experiencing the truth of us as always has been, unchanged.

        Have you ever read any of the Pathwork lectures?
        • thumb
          May 3 2014: Hi Josh,

          I am Grateful for your deep understanding of denial and the undoing. I took a risk and it resulted in something. I have heard say " the first to be understood is the ego". The source of what is not true and deeply rooted from what I gather. Cunning, baffling and powerful beyond what a man can surmount with the power of his own will, for the ego uses the will. The ensuing denial assures the foothold. I know of but one way out, reaching out for the Truth. I will say again:

          'Deny the denial of Truth" is a mindless journey I have already embarked on."

          and being guided while moving I will add:

          'Deny the denial of Truth" is a mindful journey I have already embarked on."

          Both are true in a differing form. To be clear projected images directed at no one particular.

          I have not read Pathway lectures, yet. I did go to the website and skim the surface and titles of the lectures. I immediately fell in Love with the titles.

          "Truth Loves us back home, unchanged". Thank you
      • thumb
        May 4 2014: Hi Larry,

        Thank you again for your insights.

        Having been kick-started into life via evangelical christianity (which I then chose to leave behind in my early 30s) I am slowly gathering my understanding of life and "how things work" from "A Course in Miracles", the Pathwork Lectures (it's Pathwork by the way, not Pathway. There are 258 lectures in total, {I'm up to no:195}) plus finally 5.5 decades of life experience.

        I like your addition of 'mindful' to 'mindless'. I guess that ties in with the old adage that 'an unexamined life is not worth living'. The clues are all there, whatever journey we take.

        My belief is that in the end we all get there together; and the three qualities I have found most essential are self-honesty, courage and perseverance. I am reminded of the old blues line "none of us is free if one of us is in chains" - and the 'together' aspect (since Truth is One) is the guarantee of our homecoming.

        best regards,
        Josh
        • thumb
          May 9 2014: Hey Josh,

          Correct Pathwork, my typo error came after going to the correct site. I have not done a lecture as of yet due to time but look forward to it. I am 6.2 decades in time, been doing or am being done by ACIM for 2.5 of that and searched a lot of other stuff. Have been fortunate to have the same facilitator since beginning and find it to be the best thing I have ever involved myself with.

          Yes 'mindful' & 'mindless' is interesting dependent on the more or less of the stuff occupying the space. Regardless I would suggest using the term mindless as little as possible.

          Check this out our story in two minutes:

          http://marcbrecy.perso.neuf.fr/history.html

          See you further down the road. Best Regards, Larry

          Thanks to Musk for the continuing subject matter.
      • thumb
        May 5 2014: Larry,
        Regarding your latest edit, which reads...
        "Colleen,
        Best I can tell you find something unsettling with something I said. I am perplexed at what it might be. It would appear that there is not anything I can fix other than the thought I hold in mind. I simply refuse to let a you said, I said, he said, be the means and reason to cause a disassociation on my part. My ego mind can come up with a million reasons to say "I can't Love you". The Truth needs only One to say I can. Regards".

        I am sorry you feel "perplexed" Larry. I think my statement is clear..."Joshua did not suggest anything about a MINDLESS journey, and that could make all the difference in a journey of any kind."

        I agree with Joshua regarding your addition of "mindful":>)
      • thumb
        May 9 2014: Hi Larry,
        Many thanks for the video-link. Nice one.
        Can also recommend Cheri Huber's "There is nothing wrong with you" - helped me a lot.
        Best wishes,
        Josh

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.