Matt Bors for August 31, 2016
The Last Four Undecided Voters Homeopathy-Loving Drone Pilot Pilot: Greens...or dems? It's tough! Henry Kissinger Sunday Takes Henry Kissinger: I vant to see more war crimes in ze platforms. Otherwise Reasonable Skinhead Skinhead: The racism is GREAT, but his temperament is VERY unpresidential. Woke Up From A Coma Woman: So how's 2016?
Featured CommentComment Policy Show All Comments
More From Matt Bors
Explore Matt Bors
Celebrate The Most Disgusting Sausage In These National Hot Dog Day Comics
The GoComics Team
July 19, 2017
Indiscriminate truth-seeking is an oxymoron. Every “news” outlet purports to speak the “truth.” But some are demonstrably better at hewing to the actual FACTS than others. For example, I would trust The New Yorker magazine over the Natural News. This doesn’t mean either is “right” all the time. But I do know that The New Yorker is well curated. They have legions of fact checkers who are legendary in journalism. The Natural News—well I don’t know much about them, but I sort of doubt they put the same emphasis on actual facts as The New Yorker. I am not asserting that much of what Natural News reports is either true or false. I really have no idea, but it’s highly likely they do not bring the same rigor to the fact-checking process. And, as an aside, the Natural News may, in fact, report on issues that others miss, and they may do a very good job of it. Certainly nobody has a claim to know everything and “conventional wisdom” is sometimes very wrong. But so is the “alternative wisdom” often in error.
More broadly, though, you say you know the “Truth” when you see it, but, of course you don’t. None of us humans can perceive Truth. Our species’ puny biological observation post doesn’t permit that knowledge. Why, we cannot even detect electromagnetic spectral effects across the entire known spectrum—not to mention the potential for perceiving unknown spectral phenomena.
So, no, however much reading and thinking you do does not make you capable of perceiving the Truth. The best any of us can do is, given the circumstances, try to figure out the “truth” with lower-case “t.” Any claim to the contrary is simply not true. Given the shifting nature of our understanding of the “truth” of things, my view is that only the scientific method has the chance to figure out what we might regard as “truth,” and of course, scientists are flawed in their apprehension of “truth”, too. But at least scientists for the most part challenge each other by interpreting observed facts in an attempt to explain phenomena in accordance with those observed facts. But, unlike the religious, or ideologues who bring “settled thinking” into their contemplations, at least most (probably closer to all) scientists understand in their very bones that “truth” is a journey and not a destination.
Now lest the absolutists out there bridle at this notion of the all-too-human ambiguous and incomplete perception of truth, I do believe there actually might be“Truths” with a capital “T.” But it seems unlikely we humans can perceive them any more than the ant or the bacteria can perceive the “truths” that seem evident to human consciousness. So what would your truth look like to a more developed consciousness than human? And, conversely, how could we ever apprehend a higher being’s “truth?” And I don’t mean a god-like figure as a higher being—although that’s possible. I simply mean in the enormity of the universe, there very well may be beings of some sort with a far higher consciousness. (For those interested, you should Google the “Fermi Paradox” for one thoughtful approach to this question of “beings that have a more advanced consciousness” than humans.)
All that being said, at a human scale, sometimes a certain level of “truth” can be generally agreed upon. Most often, of all humans, scientists are better at perceiving these “true” patterns than the rest of us—at least within each scientist’s own field, that is. But real, unchanging Truth, even with a lower-case “t” is impossible to perceive at a human scale. And, then, at the subatomic scale or the macro scale of the known universe, declaring you know the Truth is simply delusional. If you think I’m mistaken, then just study up on what scientists currently think about indeterminacy and quantum theory.
Everyone’s ability to apprehend Truth is deeply flawed—your claims to the contrary notwithstanding. You say you consider every point of view. But, as with all humans, you bring your own selective consciousness to your observations and conclusions. By definition, if you are cocksure of your “truth” it could very well be closer to Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness” than to the Truth.
Delusional self-congratulatory comments aside, it is obviously helpful to pay attention to all points of view. But for any human to declare they can sift through everything and know the Truth is just plain not true. Sorry.