September 28, 2005
I was surprised that in this class today, the main topic of discussion was political issues, similar to what we did in our Current Events class.
What is truth?
We started off with a discussion of truth -- What is it? Is there a universal truth? Consensus of the class was that truth varies according to cultures and times. I wanted to see what some sages from the past considered truth, and here is what I came up with:
I soon discovered that truth comes in different bottles. There is the kind of truth you find in a sentence if you think like a specialist in logic. Then there is the truth you find in mathematics. When I did a Google search on "definition of truth," narrowing my search to only edu sites (colleges and university sources), I came up with 20 million hits or possible sources of definitions.
I'm doggone sure of the truth
So truth is not so simple to define. Yet I know when I am telling the truth. When what I say expresses reality as I see it, then I am telling the truth, even if my eyesight is lousy and what I see is distorted, either by my eyes themselves or by my brain behind my eyes -- a brain interprets what I see based on my own background of experience, including my prejudices. For example, if I see five tall, muscle bound, tattooed covered teenagers walking toward me on a path in Central Park, each holding on a leash a pit bull with snarling teeth, my eyes truly see five guys with five dogs, but my brain sees another truth -- I'm in danger and the truth is, I better run like hell.
Now if my eye site hadn't been colored by prejudice, I might have seen the real truth. The guys were five blind seminarians using the pit bulls trained by the CIA as seeing eye dogs, coming to escort me to the safety of the closest church. And the menacing tattoos -- only images of saints with golden halos.
I'm really confused now. I'm not sure I know what the truth is -- and that's the truth.
Squealing on a adulterous wife of my dear friend
Another thing we discussed in class on September 28th -- If I discovered that the wife of my best friend was cheating on him, would I tell my friend this truth? assuming, of course, that I was not the guy the wife was cheating with. -- I would never do that, and that's the truth. But now let's get to my best friend's wife whose cheating with some unknown guy. Let me call my good friend Victor -- because I don't have a friend named Victor, and Victor is close to victim, so it's easy to remember. And the wife, we'll call her Sheater, because, of course, it rhymes with cheater. And the unknown guy, we'll call him X-guy.
I wouldn't tell the truth to Victor. Maybe he'd get a heart attack, and I'd be responsible. Besides, maybe he's been impotent for ten years and his wife Sheater just found out last week she has a terminal illness, and she feels it's now or never. And the X-guy, he's married to a frigid wife who will only make love in an igloo at the North Pole. So I really don't know the whole truth of all the circumstances surrounding Sheater's infidelity. So why reveal my limited truth to poor Victor when if he knew the whole truth, he'd probably forgive Sheater, embrace the X-guy, and blame himself for not being more attentive to his wife's needs.
Before you reveal a painful truth to your friend, be sure you know the whole truth -- which you probably never can know. So keep your mouth shut, and the truth between your own ears.