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Only the educated are free. - Epictetus

The Path to Truth
06/20/2018

Some 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! Let me elaborate.

Wouldn't the person that is on the path to the truth take a very pragmatic approach or stance in that they realize that they did NOT design and create objective reality? They cannot KNOW the truth from this ordinate or ultimate position. Don't they also realize that they do NOT have unlimited time and resources to explore every construct our there in the public domain? Therefore, isn't it only logical that they pursue those ideas that at least PROMISE to deliver goodness, i.e., what they really need and want? All other paths can surely be ignored.

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 it would also seem to be with the essence of spiritual or non-material realities. In order to understand the meaningful aspects of human experience and human nature is it not 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 computerówe 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, act, 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 can be ultimately more meaningful than the search for truth? Can there be any more 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 we are accessing the truth without being intellectually responsible?  Will truth without a way of accessing it have any value? Won't truth without a TRUSTED way of accessing it always remain tentative? The premise is that 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

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 recognizing it will have no value. Also, will not truth without a TRUSTED and AGREED UPON means of recognizing it always leave one isolated: again, and will it provide no basis for a common understanding of the world or our place in it?

Do not 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.? The premise is that there is ONLY one way to get past the resulting troublesome 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 TO BE, and then having a commitment to honest, attentive, rational, logical, and reasonable inquiry, with nothing else, no higher motive, standing between ourselves and this quest for truth.

The serious seeker of truth is able, willing and eager to challenge--and seek others to help challenge or defend--EVERY relevant idea or concept to which he is exposed whether it's sourced from himself or from external agencies. Can this not be overemphasized, because do we not all live in a world of noisy nonsense, have we all not been steeped in tradition, myth and falsity, and have we all not held to positions that didn't survive the harsh glare of reality? Isn't this is just a sensible, fundamental aspect of true humility?

Even the J-person said, "Because narrow the gate and constricted the way leading into Life, and those finding it are few." Sounds like bad news, doesn't it? But maybe it is GOOD news. Maybe the first part is really good news, and the second part is just and only a sad commentary! And again, "Strive to enter by the narrow door." Obviously, we can ignore all the normal or wide entrances in our search or approach. And why not? A narrow door and path are well defined and preclude bringing a lot of baggage and drifting or wandering around.

Without palavering around any more, this author sees that the path is bounded on one side to include only those concepts that promise to satisfy what we need and what we want, and on the other side bounded by rationality, logic and reason.

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