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Henry David Thoreau
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The Path to Truth

MORE PHILOSOPHY CONCERNING TRUTH

Why search for the truth if it isn't going to do you any good when you find it? would you do that? I doubt it!

Physical reality is dynamic, not static, and it is this dynamic essence that we experience and apprehend with our five senses. There is no experience of physical reality apart from some dynamic aspect, i.e., some movement or change, contrast, difference or discontinuity, or irreversibility. If there were only one color to physical reality, even the best conceivable eyes would see nothing. Or if there were only one changeless sound, even the best of ears would not hear anything.

So is it also with the essence of spiritual or non-material realities. In order to understand the meaningful aspects of human experience and human nature it is necessary to differentiate, to see that which is the same and that which is different.

As a functioning mechanical/biological system we can be compared to a computer we have Hardware (our biological body), Software (our psyche or soul, the composite of mind, instincts, propensities, aptitudes, etc.), and Input/Output (our ability to sense, respond and communicate). This triune pattern seems to hold for Man's intellect, which under sound operation is rational, logical and reasonable. While being rational means being able to distinguish and apprehend the pertinent facts and information of a situation, being logical includes being rational and also means being able to see meaningful relationships between facts and information and to extrapolate those to valid or correct conclusions.

These two lower level intellectual capabilities are meaningless in and of themselves unless they form the foundation of what is ultimately meaningful, that which is being reasonable, or reasonableness. This also includes but transcends being rational and logical by relating to and incorporating a defensible purpose and set of values which can be called human or humane. Being reasonable (ultimately meaning "correct" or right) is so closely bound up with purpose that much of the time we use the word "reason" as a substitute for the word "purpose".

Now, what is ultimately meaningful can ONLY be the search for truth. There is no other meaningful reason to study human and planetary history. But it is one thing to postulate the existence of truth; it is quite another to postulate a trustworthy way of accessing or apprehending that truth.

Accessing Truth

How can we be assured that something is the truth? If the truth walked up to us and shook our hand, how would we recognize it? Truth without a way of accessing it will have no value. Truth without a TRUSTED way of accessing it will always remain tentative. Truth without an AGREED UPON means of accessing it will always leave one isolated: it will provide no basis for a common understanding of the world or our place in it.

Recognizing Truth

Also, truth without a TRUSTED and AGREED UPON means of recognizing it will always leave one isolated: again, it will provide no basis for a common understanding of the world or our place in it.

Many people have their sense of truth tethered to aspects of their society and culture; some to the majority, some to prior schooling, some to a set of "sacred writings", some to tradition, and some to "accredited" authorities, etc. Yet there is ONLY one way to get past the resulting divisions in our collective perception of the world. And that is through OPENING UP TO THE TRUTH BEING BEING BETTER THAN WE CAN INITIALLY BELIEVE IT, and then having a commitment to honest rational, logical, and reasonable inquiry, with nothing else standing between ourselves and the quest for truth.

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