Understanding truth


By Stella Baker.

One of the things which science has so far failed to establish is what is truth. One theory holds that there are different versions of the truth. Truth can be something you tell someone else about you. Truth can also be something you tell someone else about them. Truth can be something you tell someone else about another person. Then you have the truth that you tell yourself about someone else. But truth is also what you tell everyone about everything. But one thing should be patently obvious.

There is no such thing as a common, objective truth

There is only perspective. You can call it whatever you like. You can call it opinion. You can call it a fact. You can call it a bare faced lie. You can call it a half truth. A myth. A fairy story. A delusion. You can call it a story. An assumption. But whatever you call it, it is still language. It is still words which are spoken, written on a screen, or written down on a piece of paper. It is still communication. No matter how many people believe it, it's still either one person's attempt to verbalize reality or their strategy to conceal it by creating a different version of reality. Therefore if truth is anything, truth is relative to individual human perception. It's still perspective.

What is good? What is bad? What is evil?

Can there be such a thing as an evil animal? How would you describe a good molecule? How would you define a 'bad' atom? What is the difference between good and bad? What is the difference between good and evil? How do you differentiate good from evil? Where do you draw the line between honesty and dishonesty? What is your definition of a lie? Can a lie ever be justified?

There is of course morality. But what is morality actually? How do you determine what is right and what is wrong? You see you can have a man who is unfortunate to have an epileptic seizure in the street. If he is fortunate enough then passers by will rush to help him. Someone might call an ambulance so that paramedics can check him out. People will hopefully understand that his seizure was involuntary, the result of an illness, and that his seizure is not his fault and he cannot be held responsible for his actions. But say 500 years ago the reaction would have been totally different. His epileptic seizure would have been deemed evidence of demonic possession, and people would have grabbed him, taken him into custody and he would have been tried, imprisoned and subsequently executed.

What is morality?

Morality is a concept which is based on the belief that our choices, decisions and actions are made on the basis of free will and freedom to choose. It is based on the common understanding that there exists a choice between right and wrong and we are free to make those choices out of our own free will. The only problem here is that there is no such thing as free will. Free will and freedom are both illusions.

There is only cause and effect, or action and reaction. But there is also the process aspect which makes every action or choice a consequence, and therefore a reaction to the action which preceded it. In turn this action is also a reaction to an action or event which preceded that, and so on, and this goes right back through what we commonly understand to be time. You see there is nothing to prevent the cause of your choice or decision, or action made in the present moment being a direct consequence to an action or event which took place last week, last year, or even early in your childhood. That what you experienced as a three year old child can just as easily motivate a decision or action you take in the present time as something which took place five minutes ago. You might not be fully conscious of this possibility, but it remains a possibility nonetheless.

Free will v. internal programming

You have a brain, which is an incredibly complex, electromagnetic, quantum organ which processes energy and consciousness so that you can respond to your environment and through a mind perceive everything which is going on around you. It has various regions, functions on different systems, and has two different hemispheres. However nowhere in the brain is an area which controls free will any more than your car, smartphone or kettle has free will. There is just internal programming.

Until we can establish an alternative branch of physics in which existence is an isolated experience and not relative in any way to everything else in existence, or where we can transcend our physical reality and biology, we need to acknowledge the physical impossibility of free will.

This does not necessarily mean that everything is fixed and predetermined. If everything was fixed and predetermined there would be no such thing as failure, or success. There would be no such thing as creativity, or luck, or chance. However what it does mean that is that much of what comes down to your individual choices, decisions and actions in life is as the result of internal programming on different levels - a biological level, an evolutionary level, a cultural level, and a purely individual level which comes from your memory and actual individual human experience. Very much in the same way as a computer or smartphone is programmed to function, or a car for that matter, you are also programmed to function in a way which is individual, unique and unlike anyone else in existence.

The quality of the programming

By far the biggest single determining factor as to the nature and quality of your life, and ultimately the determining factor in all the choices, decisions and actions you take in life, comes down to the quality of your programming. This means that much of what you are able to do, the experiences you need to go through in life, and also what opportunities are made accessible to you and whether or not you are able to perceive them, has already been determined by factors placed well beyond your control. You have no control over the culture or society you are born into, nor did you have any control over the socioeconomic reality of your parents. You have no control over whether or not you are a human being, over your biology, your genetic predisposition, nor did you have much say in how you were educated.

This does not mean that you can, or should, hold certain people responsible for the way you were programmed, because it is also true that their lives were determined by the quality of their programming and this is just another process aspect which goes right back through the different generations, history and time all the way back to the evolution of Man out of a species of hominid apes.

Subjective idealism

The concept of free will, just like the concept of truth and what truth really is lies in the problem many people have in working out what is illusion and what is reality. This is a particular problem in modern culture and it's not helped by the development of the internet and virtual reality. This thorny issue of what is reality and what is illusion is known as subjective idealism. Subjective idealism is the theory that all reality is mental.

Here it's necessary to make the distinction between subjective idealism and solipcism. Solipcism is the theory that you are the only person who exists and everybody else is your dream. You are the centre of the universe and life is essentially a dream with everything created out of your imagination.

Subjective idealism is based on the premise that you do not know anything except in your own mind. The existence of an external world or environment is something which is known to you in your mind. The distance between other people and physical objects from you are distances which exist in the mind. You cannot conceive any world existing unless it is an experience. How can there be a world which cannot be experienced? This would not be a world for anyone or anything then it would not be anything at all. This is because being is always being for something, because nothing and nobody can exist unless they are in a relationship.

The sun exists as a source of light for the eyes and a source of warmth for a skin. Eyes exist as a source of vision for a mind. If eyes do not exist, the sun does not give forth any light. If there are no nerves or a nervous system, the sun gives forth no heat. If muscles do not exist, nothing is heavy. If there is no soft skin, then nothing is hard. It only relative to soft skin that something can be said to be hard. It's only relative to a nervous system that something can be said to be hot or cold. Hot and cold are the impact of energy on a nervous system. Energy in itself is defined as energy by its impact or influence over something.

Then you have the example that you have the awareness of wind because the branches and leaves in a tree are moving. Or you have the waves in the sea which indicate the influence of the Moon on bodies of water. Without subjective idealism we would never have known that bodies of water on our planet are influenced by the phases of the Moon. According to such idealism only the world which can be experienced and which exists in the mind is real. There is a difference between philosophical idealism and ethical idealism. These are two completely different concepts.

Scientific empiricism and logical analysis

Both these concepts arose out of Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (known as TLP) which was developed by Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in 1918 and was first published in German in 1921. The main premise is that only statements which can be empirically verified have any meaning. However this statement cannot be verified but this was the point of departure in this movement. Most people have a metaphysical assumption which cannot be proven.

This is a movement which has had immense influence on Western thinking in the 20th century. The basic argument states that in order to say something meaningful you must be able to verify it. You verify things by prophecy. If you make a statement and it becomes true you have verified it. If your statement doesn't come true you haven't verified it. Any statement which lacks verification might have meaning, but it is untrue. A statement which you cannot think of any way to verify it is in this theory meaningless.

You can say for example that the world is ruled by God. Everything that happens happens as a consequence of God's will. In terms of logical analysis you have made a statement that everything is affected by X, or God. Now suggest a way of verifying this. What difference would it make if this was not the case? Would it make any difference to the way things are happening if these things weren't controlled by God?

This is a problem because it's the same as if you had said that all bodies in the universe are moving in a particular direction. There is no way you can verify this because you can only verify movement from a position which is relatively still. But there is no body which is still relative to all the other bodies which are moving because in the beginning you stated that all bodies are moving. Therefore you can only claim that everything in the universe is controlled by God if you made an exception.

Then according to logical analysis you could have made a meaningful statement. When you start making statements about everything there is nothing you can do. You cannot prove such statements, nor can you disprove such statements. Therefore in terms of logical analysis while you have said something (about everything) you haven't really said anything at all.

This movement has been so persuasive in Western thinking and academic circles that it has made idealism so very unfashionable.

The example of a mirror

There are situations in our everyday life experience which provide analogies to statements such as 'God controls everything' or 'everything exists only in the mind'. We can be aware of these situations because we stand outside them. Let's take the example of a mirror. A mirror will reflect all kinds of shapes and colours. When you look at a mirror the mirror itself will form the basis which is common to all those shapes and colours. It is not meaningless to state that they are all reflections in a mirror, because you can see things outside the mirror. The mirror has an edge, and you can see things outside the mirror which behave differently to everything else which is reflected in the mirror.

You cannot reach out and touch anything in the reflection of a mirror nor can you change anything which is reflected in a mirror. But you can reach out and change something or move it if it is outside the mirror. But nevertheless everything in the mirror exists as a reflection and if the mirror was not there they too would not exist as a reflection.

Similarly consider that everything which exists has its being or exists in the mirror which is called a mind. However there is no way of seeing the edge of the mind as you would the mirror. Is this meaningful? Is this possible? The logical analysts would say no, because the statement makes no difference to anything. It makes no difference to anything in the mind because it is in the mind and is therefore meaningless. It makes no difference to anything in the mirror because it is reflected in the mirror. For example your face doesn't change because it's being reflected in the mirror. The mirror doesn't exercise an influence on anything reflected in it, so they say, though it could.

The example of a camera lens

A camera lens influences the world it photographs. A concave lens will give you a different image to a convex lens and a wide angle lens will give you a different image to a telephoto lens. Likewise the lenses of your eyes distort the world you see, and you take these distortions as normal. There is no way you can create a standard and claim that comparative to this standard your eyesight is wrong unless you use a different lens for an image and argue that this image is right and your eyes distort it.

There is no way you can decide independently whether or not your eyes distort the image of the world you are seeing. According to logical analysis this is a meaningless question. There is no way of deciding the answer and it makes no difference whether it is or whether it isn't. But there are differences in experience and perception which logical analysis cannot deal with.

Differences in perception

Usually there is a difference in feeling and very often also in behaviour between a person who is aware of an underlying continuum for every experience or every reality and a person who is not aware of this continuum. The person who is aware of this continuum where everything is connected feels comfortable in their environment whereas the person who is unaware of these connections doesn't. The first person feels that they belong to the world, but the second person doesn't feel that they belong to the world. They feel as if they are separate to this world and are participating in a conflict or contest.

Additionally one of the difficult ideas to express well and get across in any language which wants to assert a pluralistic universe in which there is no unifying ground - for example in English - is going to create difficulties talking about relationships. Let's look at some examples of this in history.

One of the things which troubled Rene Descartes and really bogged him down was that he could never properly explain the relationship between mind and matter or spirit and matter. He had inherited from Plato and Christianity the theory of the two worlds, the natural and the supernatural, the material and the mental, the real and the ideal. What never could be explained by the people who believed these things was how one world influenced the other.

How does the spiritual world influence the material world? For example we know that any ghost worth their salt can move through a wall without moving a brick. But also how does your mind move your arms? This issue didn't just plague Descartes, but has troubled many different people as well. Even back in the early half of the 20th century Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner was chewing over 'spiritual science' and advocating that it was something completely different from physics. This inability to communicate or explain the relationship between the corporeal and incorporeal or the tangible and intangible has sunken many a promising philosophy. Just as these thinkers could not explain the relationship between mind and matter logical analysts cannot explain relationships between things.

The limitations of logical thinking

These are still issues which plague many people today. In the exact same way as Descartes and Steiner could not explain the relationship between mind and matter people who rely on logical analysis cannot properly explain relationships between so called things. You see if we are going to approach everything in a pluralistic manner in which there is no unifying continuum but everything is broken down into separate events and actions, things we can talk about and explain in a scientific, descriptive manner, how are they related? Obviously they are related. Obviously they influence each other. But how?

How does a cause influence an effect?

This is still a very popular and widespread concept, the principle of cause and effect. But how does a cause influence the effect? is this something like a long line of dominoes arranged in a long line where you flip over the first one and they all fall in a clickety clickety clickety sequence? Or is it more chaotic like a game of pool or snooker where the motion of one ball impacts on the other balls on the table? Here we are talking about the laws of Newtonian physics and mechanics. But are these two concepts of cause and effect adequate?

No they are not. For one reason is that things can influence each other retrospectively. A future event can influence a past event. This is something many people aren't aware of but it can. I can offer an example.

  • the bark of a dog
  • the bark of a tree

Here you can see that the meaning and context of the word 'bark' comes from another word which comes after it, i.e. 'dog' and 'tree'. The same thing happens in music, that something which happens may be completely changed by something which occurs later. You can get someone who is tone deaf. They cannot hear music, they only hear noise and they don't always understand why other people find music so attractive. What is their deficiency? Where are they blind? The issue is that they cannot hear relationships, or in musical language they cannot hear intervals. If you are musically sensitive or 'have an ear' for music, you hear not just the melody or the string of notes, you hear the intervals and spaces between them.

However you cannot teach someone who is tone deaf about music just as you cannot teach someone who is congenitally blind about colour and shadow. This is not to rule out a way of doing this when we learn much more about senses. But there are people who just 'don't get it' just as there are blind people who cannot understand colour, tone deaf people who cannot appreciate music. There are people who don't get such things as finances, as art, as politics, as language. There is nothing you can do because they just don't have the equipment (ability) or programming to 'get it'. The fact that they just cannot get it doesn't in any way diminish their value as human beings. It's just a statement of fact that they are simply not programmed that way and their perspective is different.

Please consider also the existence of such things as tone deafness, disability and blindness disproves the concept of free will. If you are tone deaf you cannot become musically gifted. If you have a disability you cannot become able-bodied and free from disability. There is just programming and programming variables (explained later).

There is no difference between cause and effect

This is the simplest possible explanation for the difference between cause and effect. It's still the continuum which is artificially divided into separate events or actions. For example you have a door which is very slightly ajar and on the other side of the door through the opening you see a cat walk past. First you're going to see the cat's head (assuming the cat isn't walking backwards) and this is going to be followed by you seeing the cat's tail. You can break this down mentally into separate events and complicate the experience, by talking about the cat's head passing the door being the cause of the cat's tail also passing the door, but in reality it's still a cat passing a door.

Creation of truth

When you see a cause as being separate to an effect what you are actually doing is making a statement admitting that your individual perception is limited. This is because you are relative to both the cause and the effect in some way. This is also because you are not seeing the continuum or flow which makes the cause and the effect the same thing. You are not seeing the connection. You are not seeing the action as a whole, but are dividing it into an action and a reaction. This is like not seeing a movie as a complete movie but dividing it down into different scenes or, if you are a professional actor, different blocks. A block in a movie is a single action or dialogue which influences the rest of the movie. It is both the effect of the preceding block and the cause of the block which comes after it. However I offer the complete movie as an analogy of truth.

Truth is essentially perspective. Perspective is based on consciousness, which is something which exists throughout the entire universe. The difference between consciousness and energy is that energy is all about creativity and interaction but consciousness is all about connection, just to keep this all simple. If someone hits you over the head with a blunt object you lose consciousness. You lose the connection between you and your environment and also between you and your ability to think consciously. Likewise the unconscious mind or subconscious relates to everything which you are not thinking about or using to connect you to your environment, thinking and behaviour.

However truth and perspective don't relate to the consciousness in the field, as such, or the consciousness in the universe, but in the consciousness which exists in the tiny tubules in your brain which collectively form a hologram of the entire universe from your perspective. Your perspective, or the hologram of the universe in your brain is unique and exclusive to you. Truth is the process of developing and updating your perspective which happens as a result of living and bringing together your experience and your perceptions of your environment.

Creation of truth is therefore where you develop the connections and update your perception of the continuum which you understand to be your life. Truth is when you make the connections and understand the cause and effect are the same continuous action or event which is what you do through memory, recall, thinking, reflection, introspection and so on. The creation of truth is extremely important because it helps you to understand what is going on all around you, but it is also as equally important for developing personal integrity, personal authenticity and being able to communicate who you are and what you are about to other people. It is what makes you interesting to other people and also is what inspires such things as confidence, trust and also your attractiveness as a human being.

Programming variables

You cannot create truth without connecting to your environment, participating in that what is going on around you and making the choices, decisions and actions which collectively other people perceive as behaviour. You have the ability to adapt to and make changes in your environment just as you have the ability to adapt to and make changes in relationships to other people but the choices and actions you take will be always determined by your programming, and not by free will.

This means that while it may seem you have free will and a relative amount of personal freedom, the chances are you will constantly come across experiences in life which will consistently teach you that you do not have as much free will or freedom as you may think you have. You will make mistakes. You will misunderstand. You will get things wrong. You will try to do something and fail. You will miss out on various opportunities. You will get into conflicts with other people. You will come across people who won't understand you, won't accept you, and even won't like you. You will upset and offend certain people. You will come across other people who will rub you up the wrong way. You might even come across people who will mess you up or create havoc in your life.

This doesn't mean that you cannot overcome or change your programming or alter the programming variables on the basis of which you are functioning. You can. But it will usually be easier said than done and if you do succeed, all you will succeed in doing is create a new set of programming variables as a basis for your functioning.

Nominalism v. realism - the binary of thought

If we look back and examine the history of philosophy or thinking there are really only two schools of thinking divided between the nominalists and the realists. Modern logical philosophers are nominalists. This is how this works out. The realists (not the modern common understanding of a realist, just to point out) claim that in reality there are substances which can be called such things as matter, spirit or humanity. Every individual human being is an instance of something called Mankind. Mankind is a real entity. Likewise the United Kingdom, or the United States, is a real entity. All the individual examples of such things are members of a body or a collective. These collectives are described as Mankind, the state, the church, society, the community, and so on.

By contrast the nominalists say that all your reality and real things are abstractions. There is no such thing as Mankind, there are simply individual people. Calling everyone together Mankind is a way of identifying them but there is no such thing as Mankind. Likewise there is no such thing as the United Kingdom or the United States. There are just people living together who imagine themselves collectively to be the UK or US and who call themselves that. The United Kingdom or United States has no physical reality because when you refer to UK policy you are not referring to the geoographical territory which exist off the coast of Western Europe.

Nominalism is a very big thing for logical analysts and others. They emphasize the importance of not going round calling dogs just dogs, but you also have to talk about poodles, Alsatians and terriers and also about Rover, Fido and Spot. The idea in the semantics of nominalism is this tremendous, precise accuracy, of getting the details right, of understanding the differences between one black man and another.

But these are the two poles of thinking and through trends and fashions we alternate between the two and argue back and forth to create the prickly people and the gooey people. The nominalists like to emphasize the precision, the details, while the realists like to emphasize the connections, the concepts and the generalities.

The fractal nature of existence

The binary of thinking through nominalism and realism is given here to emphasize the absence of truth as an external concept, because reality is a subjective concept. You see if you push the nominalists to further define their concepts the individual human being called Joe becomes individual body parts, then atoms and molecules, then electrons, and at some point you realize that they're trying to define a fractal. The same thing happens if you start pushing the realists back into their corner, you end up going through another fractal.

You see if you push anyone far enough in terms of their thinking or philosophy they will all eventually arrive at the same place. If you push a nominalist far enough and they turn into a realist. If you push a realist far enough and they will turn into a nominalist. The exact same phenomena happens in politics. If you push a socialist far enough you will end up with a capitalist, and if you push a capitalist far enough and you will end up with a socialist. If you investigate matter close enough you will end up with mind. If you investigate mind enough you will end up with matter. If you investigate yourself thorough, what do you mean by you?

Who are you?

Who are you? How do you know you really exist? Exactly what are you referring to when you use the word 'I'? Are you referring to your mind? Your body? Your life? Your state of mind? Your level of consciousness? Your experience? Your persona? Your physical identity?

You see if you investigate yourself thoroughly enough, you start to discover everything else which you thought wasn't you. You only know you exist because of everything else, you have other people to talk to and other things which you can feel and think about. You are a reflection of the world and the universe. So when you investigate you what you arrive at is the external world. Likewise if you investigate the external world, you end up with you.

Truth is relative to perception

As you can see truth can only really be relative to your perception and it cannot be anything other than your unique and individual perspective. This is why the saying "seek the truth and it will set you free" makes a lot of sense. There are really only two ways of seeking the truth, and that is to either look deep inside you and investigate who you really are, in which case you're going to learn more about the world around you and understand your relationship or relativity to everything else. The alternative is to look outside yourself into your environment, the external world and the universe, which is always going to bring you back to the exact same point, which is you. In both approaches you are the common factor, you are looking at the relativity of you to everything else, which explains why truth is really all about your unique and individual perspective.