Disclaimer: This is a subjective take on the meaning of the word TRUTH. I have done NO research except read Francis Bacon’s essay aptly titled “Of Truth.” What you will read from this point onwards is purely my opinion. Proceed with caution and read everything that follows with a grain of salt.
TRUTH, whether we perceive it to be a mere concept, idea, or some form of knowledge, is anything we strongly believe to be TRUE.
The word TRUTH or any of its variations (just like any of the words our civilized world has coined so far) is merely a label we use to identify and describe actions, concepts, events, ideas, knowledge, people, etc. Man uses words to communicate, to get messages across, to understand, and to be understood. That way, we all find ourselves on the same page, reaching a consensus on what is what, who is who, how is how, when is when, and why is why.
How We Sense Truth
Human beings rely heavily on their senses. We normally have the tendency to believe what we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. After all, our sheer presence by itself is already a fact. Our existence is undisputable.
We are alive. We are living. We exist. And we strongly believe in the premise that our actual state of being is real. Therefore, what we are experiencing through our five senses must be the TRUTH.
Just like any other animal living on Earth, we use our eyes to see, ears to hear, nose to smell, tongue to taste, and skin to touch. Our faculties are mainly there to help us understand the world we’re living in, protect us from danger, and make sense of all the chaos as we navigate the complexities of life. But despite our similarities, our superior intellect and judgment have given us a tremendous advantage. It enables us to more accurately discern and understand all the evidence we gather.
We have the power to connect all the dots to paint one big picture. We have the capacity to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. We can sift the truths from all the lies. Even a shard of evidence can make our minds go wild, allowing us to derive multiple stories from different angles or perspectives. Our only limit is the bottomless abyss we call imagination.
But what if what we saw, heard, smelled, tasted, and touched are NOT a hundred percent what they seem to be? What if everything was actually fake? And what if we deliberately made everything up to make them look real?
After all, we always have the option to distort reality. Man has always had the ability to make unreliable information appear as well-proven facts that are eventually widely accepted by the gullible general public.
Human beings, unlike our naïve animal counterparts, are highly capable of lying. Time and time again, history has proven that we have developed the habit of lying. We lie for a variety of reasons: personal gain, greed, power, money, trying not to hurt anyone, making ourselves feel good, etc. You name it. The list is long.
Whether lying (for whatever reason) is good or bad has always been up for debate. Morality is subjective, to begin with. Everyone grows up differently. With varied backgrounds, beliefs, ethnicities, and traditions, there will always be a conflict of perception where everyone agrees to disagree.
No matter which era we’re living in, several, if not all, people would still lie. It’s ingrained in the dark side of human nature. After all, we are complex beings, capable of making mistakes and learning from them. This whole process is what we call character development.
Truth In The Digital Age
In the digital age, where information is readily accessible, just a few clicks of a button are all it takes to manipulate any information, published or not. These newer technologies have amplified the negative consequences of the sheer act of deceit.
Fake news, deep fakes, false advertisements, scams, just to name a few, are so prevalent these days. We can find them all over the internet. Some of them are even spreading faster offline. Unless we are living under a rock, we will always face some form of media on a daily basis.
The various antics and shenanigans of the past now have their digital equivalents. News, movies, TV series, or any other form of entertainment walk a thin line between fiction and non-fiction. And an assortment of illusions constantly fills our social media feeds every day.
To some people, their self-worth and net worth are now quantified by how many followers or subscribers they have on their channels or pages. The number of views and likes on each post now determines success or failure. Of course, the higher the number, the better.
We also live in a time where the need to create a brand or an online persona, separating personal life from business, has become a necessity.
Nowadays, publicists and lobbyists are the newly crowned kings, with the best among them gifted with the Midas touch. With cancel-culture becoming the norm, some of these overlords do whatever it takes to spin every disaster coming their client’s way into gold. They diffuse potential catastrophes into manageable levels, and sometimes even completely overturn them. They have the power to paint their clients red or blue, black or white, or any shade of whatever color they prefer, just like a colorful piece of art.
New forms of oppression commonly occur every day. Bashing is rampant. Anonymity is practically non-existent. Everyone is wearing a see-through mask. Privacy is no longer a privilege. Even silence speaks volumes these days.
With the accessibility of technology, we can now feel the effects and corresponding damage caused by falsifying our truths in real-time. Some of these have dire consequences that affect our mental health. Fake news can trigger so much rage: both in people who are gullible enough to believe them and those who see through the lies. This rage can be directed to one’s own self, the kind of self-loathing that leads to suicide. Or it could be directed towards others that leads to the desire to kill.
Our false sense of security hides the fact that we are NOT really safe.
So how do we deal with all this chaos and nonsense? How do we shield ourselves from all these predatory behavior? How do we uncover the truth from all the lies?
The answer is simple. No matter what we do, there is NO fool-proof way to keep ourselves safe and sound. Wearing a bullet-proof vest all the time will NOT work when we face a nuclear bomb.
Life’s not all rosy, to begin with. Our individual journeys will always have thorny undercurrents. Whether we are following someone else’s path or creating our own, we would always have to tread lightly.
We just need to take one step at a time and see how it goes.
After all, deep down, the TRUTH is whatever we want it to be.
The Truth As Is
TRUTH is a willful acceptance of certain things. With enough reliable evidence, TRUTH is a transformation of simple notions or theories into cold hard facts. TRUTH can be proven by anybody who is willing to do it.
It wasn’t always this way, though. Centuries ago, many people believed that the world was flat; that Earth was the center of the solar system. Decades ago, many believed that blue-eyed people reigned supreme, superior to all other races; that females were second-class citizens, not allowed to vote, much less speak out of turn; that being a homosexual was a crime; that gays, lesbians, or anyone from the LGBTQ community shouldn’t have the privilege to love freely, much less marry each other; that black lives do not matter at all, and should be eternally damned as slaves. The list goes on.
Correcting such misconceptions took quite a lot of time, quite a lot of convincing, quite a lot of influencing, quite a lot of effort, manpower, evidence, and shared sacrifices. The uphill battles for tolerance and acceptance were literally paved with broken bones, blood, sweat, and tears. Although we’ve come to reshape some of these prejudices in our modern society, the war is certainly far from over.
This just proves that the journey towards finding out the TRUTH is an ever-changing process. What is true now, may NOT be true in the near future, and vice versa.
At the end of the day, it is all up to us to scrutinize these new changes and adapt to them, to live in these newer realities. Believing whether something is true or not depends on one's judgment.
We know ourselves better than anyone else. So no matter how far we go down this rabbit hole, we must stand up for ourselves and the causes we believe in. Speaking our own truth, in a way, is a liberating experience.
How about you? What is your truth?
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