Introduction to: A book of Truth

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A whimsical and philosophical wandering and wondering about Truth.

Picture By Stephencdickson- Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36926237


 

“What is Truth?” said jesting Pilate...[1]

 The very first thing I have to tell you about truth is this: I always wanted to write a book of truth, but I always figured that I had no business trying to tell other people what the truth is – for in truth, I am very confused about it -- as I am about almost everything around me. Why am I here? Why are you here? What does it all mean? Does it mean anything? ETC?

Then I decided, what the hell I know at least as much about the world and things in it as the next person, and in some cases I know more. The problem with knowledge though, is that it is not the truth. I can tell the truth without knowing a damn thing. And I can know things that simply aren’t true. Hell, most of my memories are like that. So, what is Truth?

The truth is like so many things in life, it’s a better thing to seek than to find. Have you ever noticed this about humans? It’s like so much fun to shop for a new car, but after you have it – no big deal. Why is this?

A long time ago in a university far, far away I took an introductory class to Western Philosophy. In this class there was a book, and in this book there was a statement that said the Greek word for truth is alethea, and that the translation was “truth” with a context like “to uncover”. I thought that this was really cool. The truth was simply something that you could find if you searched for it. Well, this turned out not to be the case.

Let’s look at a few aphorisms[2] about truth that the wise sages of the ages have bequeathed to us: We will worry about demonstrations of truths much, much later.

  1. Truth is like the flu. I fight it off, but it changes in other bodies and returns in a form to which I am not immune. A rather cynical few of truth, almost like it gets in one’s way.
  2. The truth shall make you free. This one by no less a person than the Son of God casts truth into a better light.
  3. How about the following story attributed to Abraham Lincoln among others: It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent an aphorism to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words, "And this, too, shall pass away."
  4. Truth is the myth we agree to tell our children.
  5. A truth that's told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent. Now this one is very interesting. We can see in this statement that the TRUTH can be used for other than good purposes. Not the sort of thing we usually associate with the truth is it?

 Well, enough of this. Suffice it to say that having the Truth, knowing the Truth, following the Truth etc… is not sufficient in and of itself. It is obvious that the truth is many kinds of things, and I believe that that is a good place to start our book. Let’s discuss things.

[1] Francis Bacon wrote in his essay "On Truth," "'What is truth?' said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer."

[2] a short, pithy statement of an evident truth concerned with life or nature; distinguished from the axiom because its truth is not capable of scientific demonstration. Hippocrates was the first to use the term for his Aphorisms, briefly stated medical principles. Note his famous opening sentence: “Life is short, art is long, opportunity fleeting, experimenting dangerous, reasoning difficult.”

 

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