I have been thinking about this topic for a couple days now. I was trying to discern a way to have this discussion that would avoid some of the obvious pitfalls involved. The best way I have been able to come up with so far is to impose a kind of entry fee (not money). Each participant should start their first post with their definition of what "the truth" is. That way everyone has a starting point to understand what each is trying to say.

So I will start.

To me, "the truth" is that one thing that connects everything together and gives it meaning.

Everything that is, has been, or will be, exist within the truth.

What this means is all the opposites we deal with everyday, good and evil, hot and cold, even up and down, all exist within "the truth". So nothing on it's own can possibly describe "the truth" because all of them exist within "the truth" (this goes for our definitions as well).

So if one only considers good things, then ones relationship to "the truth" would be good biased. This would limit ones understanding of "the truth" to that part associated to good. Given that evil has an equal part in "the truth", then ones understanding would only be half true. Considering both good and evil would yield a fuller understanding of "the truth".

This is why I think it important for us to give our own definition of "the truth" It is only when we include all understandings of "the truth" that we can (together) gain a fuller understanding of "the truth"

My apologies for the repetition of the words "the truth". It just doesn't feel right to refer to "the truth" any other way.

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anyone who can control and predict things from the mind "only" must, in general, be closer to reality than those who can't. I meant nothing too profound here.


Would that mean they were closer to reality as it really, really is, and farther from the pseudo reality we perceive?

Just a question.

just closer to reality as it is, when compared to the average person. As Below - So Above.

>>  the thread began with the idea of a box, being looked at from various perspectives. add the perspectives together, and you get the proper full description of the box. the box represents 'reality as it really really is'.

I have to disagree. Add the various perspectives together and what you get is not the "proper full description of THE box or A box as it really really is" but rather a group description with hopefully some relative degree of mutual consensus resulting in a shared interpretive description ABOUT IT.

That said, even amongst members of the same group or tradition, individual views will still differ, even about the interpretation of meaning of a single shared word, let alone the whole group vocabulary.

If interpretation of "truth" is being processed, or attempted to be expressed and/or communicated through individual minds and perspectives, who then publicly discuss, talk, write or speak about it, that's the best you can hope for, in my opinion.

IOW, there are two truths, relative and absolute. Absolute truth cannot be spoken or represented except through individual interpretive relativities, which will always impose a limit on apparent adequacy.


there seems to be a tension is your note. From a 'shared interpretive description about it",and an atomising "individual views will still differ, even...a single shared word". If you put forward an absolute truth and relative truth, i am asking if the absolute truth of anything constrains our relative conception of it? Do we touch reality, and if so, how? As far as i am aware pretty much all of contemporary philosophy rejects a correspondence theory of truth. That is, there is no privileged representation which somehow mirrors truth, or reality as it is. What is the extent of the 'limit of apparent adequacy'? Is it a partial limit, a total limit? What is a human being? What is he/she capable of in terms of understanding 'absolute truth', and how? Dewald

Hi Dewald, Not sure exactly what you mean by 'tension" - but as far as the notion of "individual and collective" goes

“Via Joseph Campbell: My friend Heinrich Zimmer of years ago used to say, "The best things can't be told," because they transcend thought. "The second best are misunderstood," because those are the thoughts that are supposed to refer to that which can't be thought about, and one gets stuck in the thoughts."The third best are what we talk about.” 

Thank you Mark. A very good description of 3 "levels" of understanding, or 3 different perspectives, or the 3 languages that emerge from those perspectives.

In my understanding it would be slightly different though (no surprise there).

some things we are only vaguely aware of, because they transcend feeling.

some things we feel transcend thought

some things we think transcend words

The only way to communicate such things is through "the truth" that exist within all of us. All things can be described through it.

The thread began with a concept, the box was merely and example. Are my analogies really that hard to grasp? The concept is, that to "know" anything you have to understand it's connections in every possible perspective. The more perspectives, the closer to the truth.

As for reality as it really really is, good luck, I don't think it is possible for us to "know" that. I don't think it is possible for us to see all the connections to every perspective. We just have to do the best we can with what we have. We won't have the truth (about anything), but as long as this understanding is maintained, then we will only suffer for not knowing the truth.

Much worse than not knowing would be to think we knew, but was wrong, and continued thinking we knew. Everything from that point on would be wrong, but, because we thought we knew, noone would be looking, and even if someone did look, noone would be listening. This I experience on a daily basis.

Even this post is based on something I did not say. I did say that by considering every perspective we were aware of, we would gain a fuller understanding (closer to the truth), nowhere did I indicate that the whole truth could ever be recognized. That you read into it, most likely influenced by something you already believed, proving my concept valid. If you believe something that is wrong, that belief will hide truth from you.

There is a difference between having faith, and believing. Having faith can open your eyes, believing is what we do with our eyes closed. We have to close our eyes to believe, otherwise we would see the truth of that belief, and understand we were wrong (incomplete).

I generally agree with you, and no, not that hard to grasp.

I do think that it is about as likely for conceptualizing minds to "know every perspective or connection" as it is to know reality "as it really really is." The best we can hope for are partial and limited relativistic views, especially once we start discussing it though forms of language.

That was my point at least.

As for exemplary metaphors treating the subject of knowledge of truth, I always personally liked the "Blind Men and an Elephant."


i think i'm content to leave it at this. thanks, dewald


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