Opinion versus Truth
Is there such a thing as Truth? Why is it the modern way to skirt Truth in favour of ‘each may have his or her opinion’? Is the modern paradigm, ‘there is no Truth, rather only opinion, or, each one’s ‘truth’?
Let us examine this.
Truth is easier to find in some cases than others. Let’s start with the simple cases first. Gravity is a truth. According to Merriam-Webster, a truth is defined as ‘the body of real things, events and facts’. Gravity is real, it’s an event that can be and is experienced by everyone consistently, it can be measured and experienced, therefore, it’s a truth. Friction too; we can feel it and measure it. Round can be calculated, so can volume. The easiest truths to define are around simple, and preferably, single concepts. When we progress a bit further with things of substance such as a spoon, debates begin to enter conversations where one individual will state, ‘My opinion is that this is a spoon and that is a nice spoon’. ‘This is a knife, that is a carving knife.’ Are not each spoon and each knife a truth in themselves, in that each one is a real thing?
So how does opinion sneak into our conversations and what is it really? Again Merriam-Webster define opinion as ‘a view, judgement, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter’. We could express it slightly differently in the form that opinion comes in where we like or dislike something for a particular reason. If one spoon is an identical copy of another, we can say that it is a truth as they are the same. As soon as they differ, a space appears where opinion is allowed in ‘next to’ Truth. Is this correct and scientific or not? When we consider more complicated material compositions like cars for example, it generally becomes a question of opinion and truth or the facts are not even considered.
As modern human beings in a world full of complex things, events and false facts, we have to have tools to use to decide what is truth and what is opinion when we consider material items – to start with.
The item itself, the teaspoon, is made up of certain concepts using certain specific materials which have certain properties that allow the form of the teaspoon design to be consistent and remain consistent (a teaspoon constructed from paper would not be practical and real). It measures this way and that in size, volume, mass and more. If one were to want a replica of this spoon, exactly these concepts must be present in the next one or the next one will not be the same as the first. The formula is therefore this:
- Take these specific concepts, out of the universe of concepts, that are required for a spoon.
- Refine the concepts thus taken to give you the spoon that you want.
- Make the specific spoon.
A different spoon would require a slightly different formula in that a volume might change, or a length, or breadth, or base material, or colour.
Both spoons represent the Truth of the concepts that are consciously put into their formation. Opinion has no place here. Each spoon is a Truth, in itself, if conscious recognition is made that, while the core concepts might be the same, there are some added ones that make each a specific spoon. Each is then a Truth in relation to the correct concepts being acknowledged. The process of being conscious of the spoon being a spoon with specific concepts, and no more or less than this, is the process of finding understanding and Truth. With material items this is just as has been described and might seem pretty obvious to you the reader, but allow this reality to live quietly in your experience for a while before we move on to more complex realities in the second part of this examination.
In rounding off Part 1 of this article, we have to draw attention to the fact that there is a two-way process involved here. The first is from us, as human beings, collecting selected concepts and from this actioning them, through tight inner discipline, into the particular spoon that we have in mind.
Put another way, the idea we have of a spoon gets connected to specific concepts that then are diligently actioned into making that spoon.
The second, and reverse of this process is that, if I wish to see the idea behind a particular spoon, I have to very carefully connect the right concepts to the physical spoon in front of me through careful observation and disciplined thought so that I come to the idea. The idea must be completely clear to me at the end of this process.
This reality of the two processes remains the same for finding both physical and ideological Truths; and in fact beyond this also.
When it comes to choosing a spoon set, well then one moves into a more complex domain. It becomes a question of an inner value system which can be more or less conscious in different people. What becomes Truth, however, in such situations, is that the value system of a person can be identified when one starts to see a pattern appearing in their choices of spoons and other choices that they make in life. For example, they are always frugal or always extravagant. These value systems play out from inside them to express themselves in the outer world in demonstrable outcomes like what one finds in their fridge, or what their workspace looks like. This value system in us works as the idea as it does in the spoon. Our value systems are not always conscious, but the effects always become materially expressed but not in such a refined way as a simple spoon. When there is consciousness around a value system expressed as a policy for example, then the policy is the idea. As human beings we attach deep inner feelings to both a value system and a policy. This drives our will to bring the value system or idea about in physical expression. We talk about it, make laws, agreements, and our deeds are connected to the value system or idea. This is how it comes about that there is one rule book, policy, for a particular sport. These rules get passed into conscious human beings through training and practice. The sport then gets played in all parts of the world in the same way.
Here we can again see the idea applied, through an importance motivator, to choices in life that manifest in a certain physical appearance, or pattern, around a person. We often call this a person’s character or nature. This is quite correct, but it can be objectified through what appears, and, through this, become a Truth about a person and not an opinion. There is no longer an opinion, but rather a Truth, about the nature of the inner life of a person, a policy, a sport, or world view. The person can become able to ‘see themselves’ when they observe their own impact on their environment and relationships in the social sphere. They can discover what lives in them as both conscious and unconscious drivers.
The difference between which concepts are included to make up a specific spoon, and so finding the Truth of this spoon, and the ideas or value system within a person that lead to a ‘trend or pattern of decisions’, is that seeing these patterns in a person is much more demanding than being able to observe a ‘still or formed’ material object. All manner of prejudice and bias needs to be removed in order to work out what is consistent about a moving reality – that is the humanity in us. Within the movement of personal preference for different things and ways of being and response, a firm pattern appears. This is then what one can call the Truth.
In the world today, we allow people their own truth but don’t take the time to test it against the process above. Because of this, the social order is full of opinions and not Truths. Opinions are like putting the concepts of a knife forward as those that will produce a spoon-fork. Opinions lead to all manner of confusion, irrelevance, and murkiness. ‘Politicians’- those that encourage the significance of unfounded opinions – excel at putting forward ungrounded concepts that they swear are truth but are far from it. We allow this because we simply don’t know the reality and boundaries of opinions versus Truth ourselves. In this way we become part of the problem.
Opinion-based societies will have highways in the wrong place, trains planned for river trips, five-star food platters delivered to chicken farms and so on. People on the street will look bewildered and confused. Economic activity will produce products of poor quality that are costly. Politicians will have their hands in the kitty. Each will serve themselves at all costs. Soccer will be mixed with tennis racquets.
Truth based societies will have sound legal justice systems applied to all equally. They will be economic powerhouses that don’t abuse natural resources or the rejuvenating power of these. People will want education that is aligned to Truth and meaning. They will be in search of Goodness and Truth at all opportunities.
Let’s know that opinions are weakness itself while Truth is everything. Let’s practice this wherever we can.