Thursday, July 30, 2015

Can We Trust Ourselves

One of the most cumbersome obstacles in the search for truth is overcoming our own opinion. If there is a truth, if there is a standard that it is completely independent from us and what we think or know or like about it makes no difference on it's existence. If it's true, it doesn't matter if we agree or like it or want it to be. The main issue is our own perception. We have complete trust in our own perception and senses, believing what we can see or hear, touch or taste. We never doubt our own senses of reality, even though there is no way to substantiate if our senses are truly accurate. We have no standard to base our perception of reality, so what if your perception of reality and my perception are different. Who is right, which perception is correct? Does that mean there is no reality, or is it simply the consensus of the majority?

Even more dangerous is perhaps we think we agree on what is real, but our thinking, perceiving and experiencing are totally opposite? There is no way to judge, there is no proof that your experiences have any base in reality or truth. This problem is elevated by the reality of social and ethical relativism. How can we trust personal perception without any evidence that it can be trusted?

Taking the example of a crime scene with eye witnesses. Often the police try to get as many witnesses as they can. Each one seeing from a different perspective, it takes many eyes to get a full picture. Society can be the same way, so how can a society trust a system that creates relativism with so many opinions, when it takes multiple perspective for just one truth? Doesn't it seem that the lack of credibility in all the multiple perspectives points to the unreliable nature of the observer? After all, if you and I witness the same event but have different stories, clearly someone is wrong. If I say the car is blue and you say the car is red, I can be wrong, you can be wrong or we both can be wrong. We cannot both be right, so someone's perspective is skewed.

Knowing that experiences and perceptions cannot be trusted, how do we arrive at fact and truth? If the social decay had eliminated the possibility of the multiplicity of witnesses, we are left with a couple of options. We can blindly choose the one which we like the best, which is the foundation of ethical relativism. We can wait until a power or force comes and commands us and compels us towards a certain belief system. That is much of the strategy of Socialism and the tactic of some in radical Islam. We can simply change our belief system based on the situation, adopting a situational code of ethics. Lastly, we can find something that stands as a pillar and a foundation. This has been the function of moral code, laws, ethics and religion. As these things fall apart around us, can truth be found? In which direction do we look, who becomes the keepers of truth, and who's perceptions do we trust as wise? Is there a sage or guru that can be trusted?

The reality of this day and age is so many try to be experts, but with so many voices shouting so many things from so many direction, there is no way to make any of it out. It becomes a tirade of noise and static, everyone screaming from their own direction, quoting statistics and research, contradicting one another, attempting oneupmanship, all in order to get their version of the truth heard. It's no wonder that social and ethical truth has fallen away, because in the marketplace, it cannot be found.

Even in the abandoned places we once considered sacred, those remaining behind cannot agree. The opinions in theoretical, philosophical and religious debate has turned from a dialogue to an assault. Many in the theological and philosophical have turned to the postmodern deconstructionist ideas in order to stay relevant to survive. Others have held on to the foundational truth they have found in the Bible, while others have held to tradition, not changing and hoping they can ride the storm. Many have tried a combination of these approaches, simply to find themselves so confused and lost they quickly fade away into the noise and chaos of the argument.

 If we can't trust our experience and our senses, and if we can't trust the thousand voices, what can we trust, where should be look for a foundation? What is the key, where is the map on the search for reliability, for foundation, for truth? When we reach the end of desconstruction and get to the basics of everything, what is left, what is the core and what is the center? Is there something we cannot toss away or get rid of? What is the one thing that unites and has in common with all mankind? I would argue that one things is the bond that holds people together. Call is love or devotion, commitment or community, it's that thing that keep us talking and sharing. It makes us care enough to find a code of conduct. If this is the core component, where does it come from? Why does it exist and what can it teach us? What are the implications that we are not solitary by nature? Does it lend itself to the connection to something greater than ourselves? If we take the connecting piece of this draw for unity and community, combine it with the ever present search for truth and exploration and add in man's creativity and desire to build and create, can we find a road map? Can we find an undeniable path to find truth and reality, or are we left with nothing.

No comments:

Post a Comment