Thursday, September 6, 2007

Truth and Belief

We can often be confused about truth and belief. Some people think that truth is some kind of absolute that will be self-evident to everyone. After all what is truth for me must be truth for you.

If not then you are deluding yourself and it becomes our responsibility to lead you to the light because we know what the truth is. There has been a lot of pain and suffering based on this perspective.

How can someone not allow others to think for themselves?

It is because of their beliefs. Beliefs do not require logic, proof, or explanation. We believe because we believe. What does this have to do with truth.

Simply that nothing is true unless we believe it is true. Truth is driven by belief and not the other way around. When we believe we will ignore everything contrary to our beliefs and interpret everything in accordance to those beliefs.

This becomes a closed loop that will feed on it's self until we break the cycle. We break the cycle by allowing that everyone is entitled to their beliefs and truths. We may often disagree but understand that we cannot change someone else's beliefs; only they can.

This requires that we give our perspective not to convince or convert but in order that they may change their own minds. Sometimes it works but often it does not. Then we need to let go of the need to convert them. We need to simply demonstrate our beliefs and truths through our actions.

The choice of change is the one thing that is always ours.

Your thoughts?

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7 conversations:

Reasonable Robinson said...

A very challenging and fascinating topic...following the question attributed to Pontious Pilate - 'What is Truth?'. Even a cursory review of the literature reveals a hugely varied approach touching on how we arrive at was is a 'justified belief'. Paricularly we are engaged in debating the difference between - scientific and meta-physical belief. Scientific beliefs coming from empirical evidence and logical deduction (The Enlightenment) and Meta-Physical /Spiritual Beliefs based on 'faith' of some sort.The Positivists among us will argue that there are 'objective' Truths and this tends to be where many of us start, there is the 'truth' out there that can be touched/ seen/ measured and there are 'false-hoods' where there is no evidence collected. Neitzche on the other hand claimed that 'fact's are exactly what they aren't' and this perspective leads us to a more 'socially constructed' view of 'truth'. Crucially there seems to be the need to appreciate where we stand on the similarites and differences of seeking 'truth' in the natural sciences and the social sciences - can it be the same? is the 'correspondence' theory of truth more 'truthful' than the 'consensus' theory. There is also the issue of clearing up wether we are we debating the 'truth' of fact or the 'truth' of meaning too.

I a reminded of the story of the philosopher who claimed that everything is a 'narrative' as he was about to step off the road in front of a speeding lorry. The truth was he would have been flattened had he not been pulled back.

Ken Wilber - Integral Thinking - attempts to reconcile the dichotomy in an interesting way through his all quadrants all levels model which combines the objective and the subjective...possibly worth a look

thanks for the thought provoking post!

Reasonable Robinson

Peter Haslam said...

Indeed food for thought Reasonable Robinson truth is not as simple as some would believe. Great addition thanks

adavait said...

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Sandee (Comedy +) said...

I agree Peter. Religion and politics are the two greatest conflicts with each group believing they are right. Everyone has the right to their own opinions as long as they respect me with their opinions. What I mean is you don't have the right to riddle me with that which I know is wrong. Racism, hate, illegal activities and those type of things. Excellent post as always. Have a great day. :)

Peter Haslam said...

Thank you Adavait I will be over

Peter Haslam said...

well said Sandee :)

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

peter don't let a baptist see this!! ha ha ha

smiles, bee