Are you a truth seeker? I’ve been one as long as I can remember. However, this blog isn’t about what is true and what’s not true. It’s about the word truth and how it gets used and often abused. The dictionary definitions for truth are many and imply truth and fact are one and the same. One volume states, “Truth: That which is true, factual or genuine; agreement with reality.” Indeed for many people it is the same as fact. The word truth, though like many other words is subject to denotations and connotations, so what it actually means can be questionable.
In your mind, are truth and fact one and the same? If you think about it you might say in some cases, yes, in others, well, not really. For we seek the truth and rely on facts don’t we? The fact is that your perceptions and concepts of truth may differ from those of many other people, so what does that say about truth? It’s good to keep in mind when thinking about this is that facts are in essence undeniable truths; proven one way or another to be unquestionable: Right? Truths are subject to many alterations, degrees and interpretations. For applying the word truth can only suggest what we believe is a reality or actuality, because reality for each of us is different and in most instances based on how we as individuals perceive and experience the world and life as well as how we interpret what our senses communicate to us.
There’s the agreed upon realty that enables us to orient ourselves in relationship to others and live in a world in which we share common perceptions, i.e: Color, sound, smell our sense of the solid forms and shapes around us. However science says that what appears to be solid matter is a congregation of separate atoms, and not solid at all. So the facts versus what we perceive and therefore believe are based on what our senses convey. Yet we know our senses can lie, that is a proven fact. So it seems we all suffer from perceptual handicaps, in this case the inability to see beyond what our sensory equipment tells us. We are usually able to see only in three dimensions, yet we know as a matter of fact there are many more than three. So the facts versus what we commonly accept as true, believe or feel to be true are only based on what our senses convey, proven by science to be unreliable. It’s true that we see that table as a sold form; it’s not a fact that it is indeed solid matter.
Uncommon experiences, such as perceptual variances based on psychological as well as cultural influences are considered perceptual distortions by those whose sense of reality is different. We are in essence conditioned from birth to accept certain supposed truths /realities. If of a scientific bent, we will assume they are not based on fact at all, but on truths come upon through complex functions of mind and brain; as in the case of mental illness and various neurosis. An example would be a woman who perceives herself as fat when in reality she is slender to the extreme. And if we are deaf or blind our reality is different from those who don’t have those handicaps. If we cannot see the world we live in, we would have to trust, if we will, the perceptions of the sighted people around us to inform us of the agreed upon reality; the generally accepted facts. Yet even sighted and color blind people see colors differently.
However there are real facts and assumed facts. Like the blind, sighted people generally have a tendency to assume some things are facts, based on what they have been told; when in reality they are not true.
It is said we create our own reality; therefore, it follows that we create our own truths. Many so called truths are simply based on beliefs, and beliefs are created in many instances without actual facts to support them. A good example was the belief the world is flat. There is an organization called The Flat Earth Society, whose members hold onto that perception.
Philosophers as well as just about everyone who has ever considered the subject have their own ideas, their own beliefs and theories about what truth actually is, not just about what is true. Only those who have a strict dogma will hold onto to the unproven and attempt to influence other’s beliefs by professing to know the truth: Hence all the different religions.
No one can intelligently argue with the proven facts, yet we’ve all known many people who have very strong opinions about what the truth of a matter really is. Truth seekers who have open minds may at least agree that what is true for one is not necessarily true for all,; others with less objective perspectives will argue, often quite passionately for their own perception of truth.
Seeking the truth often leaves us without satisfaction, for we cannot prove that what we find is THE truth, perhaps only a hint of it, the suggestion of it, yet we can, if it suits us, take that hint and with our creative minds make it into a believable unarguable truth for ourselves; whether or not you realize it consciously, you could settle for it and close your mind to the possibility that you may be wrong. Being aware of that fact, I have always been careful not to argue with others about what is or is not true if I cannot prove my own case one way or another.
I’ll quote John Locke the philosopher on that subject: “An unerring mark of the love of truth is not entertaining any proposition with greater assurance than the proofs it is built upon will warrant.”
Yet we’ve all known people who actually do, with great assurance deny facts and cling to their own concepts of the truth, in that instance the meaning of the word true is a connotation. It’s an inherent human trait based on needs to have some sense of certainty about what is true, for it keeps people in their comfort zones.
Of course there are some things that cannot be proven one way or another. It is impossible to verify the unseen; yet for some the truth is that God exists, that God answers prayers, or that our lives are predetermined, or there is life after death and reincarnation; that there is a heaven and a hell. The definition of the word truth in those instances is not factual.
In my own profession, I hear hypnotists say without equivocation that all hypnosis is self hypnosis. They think they are speaking the truth, yet this is not a fact; it is a belief, an opinion based on popular theory. I hear lay people tell me their beliefs about hypnosis (as if they are speaking the truth) based on false information gleaned from unqualified sources, including the internet. I.E. not everyone can be hypnotized; untrue, indeed not fact at all. Yet they expound their pseudo knowledge with great assurance gleaned from stage and screen demonstrations so a person in the audience comes away with a belief that the subject has given over control to the hypnotist, “I saw it with my own eyes, so it must be true,” he proclaims.” Truth is not what is being represented here, it is perception influenced by a skillful stage hypnotist. The word truth and its meaning are once again misrepresented.
We are often left with scientific theory, philosophical thought and generally accepted beliefs, not truths, and often not facts. This can be frustrating, especially when heretofore commonly accepted facts are proven by science to be totally wrong. . Facts as known change as investigation by scientists proves them false or we as lay people discover another piece of evidence that challenges our beliefs. What needs to be said is, in many cases is ” the facts as so far known;” leaving us open to updated information.
But let’s face it, if we are really truth seekers, we study, explore, keep open minds. Our sense of truth is always being tested by our unsettled minds. At times a publicized or commonly accepted fact just doesn’t ring true for us, so we find ourselves arguing with the evidence; we just can’t accept it. This, in some cases may be about the fact that the facts as presented challenge what we have thought to be the truth. For once we as human beings have developed a personal truth it is indeed difficult to let go of it; for long held beliefs help us form our values, (and often the other way around) and have become the foundations of our inner and outer lives
I search for insghts, for knowledge and for a truth about things and people. I say a truth, for as I said before, a truth isn’t necessarily an absolute and irrefutable fact. For example, we must have air food and water to survive, that is a fact and a truth; truth and fact are one and the same in this instance. It isn’t a fact and an absolute truth that a person is innocent of a crime because they are not proven guilty; or that a person is guilty because a jury agrees that they are. Sadly, many people are imprisoned for a long time before DNA science and other evidence proves them innocent. I’ve been bemused about how the public can form an opinion about a person’s innocence and/or guilt based on media coverage. Of course there is most often conscious or subconscious prejudice involved in the making up of those kinds of beliefs that are formed through reports in the popular press. As Carl Yung said, “Prejudice inhibits the power of perception.”
Then there are lies, and half truths, which are often used in attempts to convince us of all kinds of things. Such as things advertised to be free only if you agree to purchase something. We live in a free country: True or false? The fact is that it isn’t exactly true when you stick to the absolute meaning of truth; in concept it is true we have many freedoms, yet, freedom carries with it great responsibilities. We pay for our freedoms through laws, taxes, social regulations and by other means, that’s a fact.
And think about all the grey zones that nature has created, perhaps to prevent us from knowing all of its secrets. So there are some things we may never know for sure. And that’s just fine. The mysteries of life are wonderfully fascinating.
The fact is I’m basically a-theoretical. However, some things I know for sure and cannot question, for I’ve proven them over and over again. Such as when I speak the truth about the fact that we human beings have incredibly powerful inner resources and subconscious minds that are capable of aiding us in all of our life endeavors; that we can change anything about and within ourselves that we want and need to; that our conscious minds can develop a relationship with our subconscious that facilitates the effective employment of all of those resources and bring about positive change; that we have enormous potential and the power and free will to explore and actualize it. Thousands of people have proven this a fact having used the techniques I teach in my Mind Mastery course. And I’ve lost count of the numbers of people over the last forty years who have achieved remarkable things through my Whole Mind Hypnothreapy.
The fact is that when all is said and done, when something resonates with our sense of reality, we get the feeling that it is true for us, and that seems to be all we need. Truth simply means what we believe. So it doesn’t matter if you and I agree on what is true about anything or if it’s a fact. Voltaire said, “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.” I’ll edit that quote by replacing the words have to say, to what you believe. And the facts will inevitably speak for themselves, whether or not we will accept them as true.
So fact and truth and all the shades and zones within and between them end up in many instances being all about you, the way you think, the way you conceptualize, your attitudes, and the way you conclude based on your own perceptual equipment. It’s your personal dictionary definition of the word True.
TTFN, all the best, aways, from Elaine Kissel