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We all need to know the truth. It’s in everyone’s interest to know what is true. But what exactly is truth?
Truth is that which corresponds with reality. Reality is where you need to look in order to find truth.
For example, the statement “Water flows downhill” corresponds with reality. It hardly needs to be verified because we all see the empirical evidence in our direct experience every day. But it can be easily demonstrated as true by observing reality.
Let’s take another example. If you heard that you can generate an electrical current by spinning a coil of copper wire in a magnetic field, you might just take it as true because it sounds convincing, but you could easily verify the truth of the claim by experiment. i.e. by checking the empirical evidence. Which means, looking at the facts of reality. If you set out to generate electricity on this principle you would succeed because it is true.
But if you acted on the suggestion that spinning a reel of cotton in a tub of lard produced electricity you would get nowhere no matter how many times you tried and no matter how positively you thought about it or how much you wanted to believe that it was true.
Reality dictates truth
It is the facts of reality that dictate what is true. The facts of reality dictate how electricity is generated, or how one form of energy can be transformed into another. This may sound so obvious that it doesn’t need to be said. But these days it does need to be said because so many people seem to be dangerously out of touch with truth on so many issues. They seem to swallow any old nonsense as long as it is presented convincingly by an impressive authority or believed by most people they know.
It is reality that we must discover if we seek truth. We must identify the nature of objects and the properties they possess that govern how they behave. We must discover the principles that govern how various forms of matter interact with one another before they can be harnessed for our benefit. The cars planes and computers that many take for granted all work by strict rational adherence to the facts of reality, and it is the same for all successful human endeavours. We succeed to the extent that we act in accordance with the facts of reality and we fail to the extent that we do not.
This is why we all have a vested interest in discovering what is true and what is not. It is the difference between success and failure. And with respect to growing food, knowing how to be healthy, whether or not to vaccinate or harnessing cheap and abundant energy, it is the difference between life and death.
It serves us individually to act on truth and we have the power to do this if we use our minds. But is also serves us individually to live among other people who are acting on truth, in a society that pursues and values truth. It serves us to live in a rational society. Unfortunately this is not what is happening today. This is an age of disinformation, propaganda, fake news and lies. The truth is still there somewhere, buried under all of the above, and it is your job to find it.
If we value truth, reality is the page where we must all meet in any and all human exchanges of ideas or theories. Most importantly, we must all meet each other on that same page if we are to have any chance of enjoying peace, freedom, wealth and abundance. It is that important.
So what do I mean by all arriving on the same page, called objective reality?
There is only one reality. Reality is the way it is. Things are what they are. You cannot pick and choose between competing ways in which things work. Electricity is generated the way that it is. Its properties and how it behaves are the way they are. They are not open to debate. There are competing theories, only one of which corresponds to reality. One of which is true. When two people have contradictory ideas about how something works at least one of them is wrong and does not possess knowledge.
What is knowledge?
Knowledge is the correct identification of some aspect of reality in conceptual form. Information is not yet knowledge until it is known to correlate with reality. Often people believe they possess knowledge when in fact they do not, because the information they have heard and are repeating without understanding is not true. Information can be true or false. If we act on false information believing it to be true only failure and suffering can result. We all need to find knowledge. We all need to correctly identify the facts of reality and know what is true.
So, given that knowledge of reality is our common goal, it is rational to welcome a proposed idea being shown as false. Because this has moved us one step closer to finding out what is true. Just as Thomas Edison worked his way through 5000 ways the electric light bulb did NOT work, thus eliminating all the false theories until he found the truth, the one theory that corresponds with reality. He then successfully created electric light by putting this correct (true) theory into practice.
It is important to note that it only needs one false component of any composite idea to render it false. Just like in a court case looking to find the truth in a murder mystery. Einstein famously remarked that his theory of relativity only needs to be falsified once, it does not have to be disproven in ten different ways in order to be shown as false.
Being wise to the lies
The same principle applies when you are examining stories in the mainstream ‘news’ narrative. One piece of evidence that contradicts a given story renders the whole story questionable, at best. If you find several facts that contradict that story you must put the whole thing aside and not consider it truth. You must certainly NOT move forward and act on this idea as though it were true. Furthermore, once a news media has been seen to lie it must not be trusted again. Just as you would rationally not trust a known liar.
We live in an age where fiction is widely touted as truth. There are many ideas out there in the mainstream culture that are easily falsified by presenting already known facts of reality that contradict the official story or version of events. The tragedy is that no one needs to be misled and influenced to act against their own self-interest. No one needs to suffer the inevitable negative consequences of doing this. Everyone can find out the truth. But it requires knowing how to think, how to reason, how to follow an argument and understand the logical connection between propositions and thus arrive at an understanding of why something corresponds to the facts of reality. In short you need to know why you know the things you claim to know in order to make sure they are indeed knowledge and not hearsay of false ideas.
The thinking individual steps up to the challenge of discovering truth like a detective solving a crime. But there are many traps to be wary of. There are many ways in which the unthinking can be led to believe something is true in the absence of any thinking or reasoning. In the absence of any facts, and even in contradiction of known facts. These are called logical fallacies.
The standard of truth
Logic is the standard of truth because in reality contradictions do not exist. You can’t be hot and cold at teh same time. You can’t be happy and depressed at the same time. You cant be alive and dead at the same time. Because contradictions do not exist in reality this means that when we identify one in an argument or any issue, when we see that one person says something that contradicts another point of view, at least one of those points of view must be wrong.
Then, further investigation is required to eliminate the untruth by a process of reasoning. We must examine all the facts and discover the error. This process is not as hard as it seems. However, it does require effort and thinking. The best way to approach it is like a detective solving a crime or a murder mystery. Remember logic is your friend. The rules of logic famously formulated by Aristotle are…
- The law of identity
- The law of non contradiction
- The law of excluded middle
I will take you through a closer look at these in a future post.
When to be suspicious
It is wise to be predisposed towards a new idea that contradicts the old for these reasons
- It takes time for the truth to out. The old (false) idea must arrive in the questioning mind and be analysed and examined. Then if it is found to be false, the true version of the idea must then be put out with the disadvantage of the necessary delay. Think of the saying “a lie has gone round the world several times while the truth is putting its boots on”.
- The passage of time means an idea has had more exposure to critical thinking from various independent sources.
- We live in an age of propaganda, spin, lies, disinformation, etc. This context requires suspicion towards all ideas but particularly those promulgated by known liars – i.e. governments, the mainstream media and the ‘establishment’ as represented in any particular issue, such as the General Dental Council in the UK commenting that Mercury amalgam fillings are safe (they are not).
Honest balanced presentation of facts?
In the mainstream media you will not hear the pros and cons of any argument weighed honestly and even-handedly. For example in the vaccine debate, you will not hear the benefits of not being vaccinated, nor will you hear about the dangers of vaccination. You will only hear the benefits of vaccinating and the dangers of NOT vaccinating. This is one side of the story. So, with any issue, make sure you have considered the pros and cons of both sides of the story, of both options, or theories.
The roots of Untruth
The roots of the untruth in the Matrix are philosophical. The many conclusions that are false all around us are the inevitable result of incorrect philosophical premises.
Agendas of control are pursued by misguided men within the existing power structures. The incorrect premise of altruism (that man has no right to live for himself, and that his purpose and moral obligation is service to others) is responsible for the attack on capitalism and freedom and the drive towards collectivism and statist control and tyranny.
The false premise of environmentalism (that the standard of good for the environment is an untouched planet with minimal human impact) is responsible for the anti-human political agenda of the IPCC and governments to reduce fossil fuel consumption by 90% which would return us to a pre-industrial situation where economies could not function.
The philosophical premise that reality is unknowable is held by so many ordinary people that they do not bother to exert the effort to think and find out what is true. The widespread default on thinking results in all of the diabolical agendas moving forward and our civilisation taking the wrong course towards slavery and tyranny instead of peace freedom and abundance.
Be a truth seeker
Sharpen your mind and check your philosophical premises if you want to find truth. Learn about philosophy, the mother of all sciences. This is where the roots of truth are found, in philosophical truth. Today philosophical nonsense abounds. The philosophy of Objectivism created by Ayn rand is a massive leg up towards truth. It contains the basic principles that MUST be followed by any truth seeker, or anyone seeking peace freedom and abundance.
The truth wont set you free if you live under political tyranny, but it will set you on the right path. Truth must be found philosophically before it can enable freedom existentially.
Love your life
Excellent post. The biggest threat to us and the planet is not being able to discern reality and so applying incorrect fixes to misidentified problems. Sadly there are so many powerful forces pushing agendas and so many people prepared to believe the new religions that I fear for the future.
Nigel Howitt says
Thanks for your comment Alec. I too wonder how this will pan out. The propagandist appear to have the upper hand. Nigel