by Jackson Chenault
Individual truth. The idea that some things are true for some people, and not true for others. On this subject, people “have their own truths”. This is, however, ridiculous. This suggests that facts are subjective. That is ridiculous. Truth is, by definition, hard fact. It is not some wishi-washi opinion. It is reality. Regardless, let’s suppose there is an “own truth”, (mathematicians call this “proof by contradiction”).
Accepting this “individual truth” concept poses some challenges. Should individual truth be admissible in court. Obviously not. That would be a catastrophe. Why couldn’t the guilty defendant, accused of murder, plead that his truth allowed him to do what he did? Rejecting certain forms of “own truth” can’t be, that violates the very premise of it. On a test could you answer “my truth”? If “own truth” is a valid concept, you would have to accept it. It is, after all, true for them, and, again, you cannot deny specific “own truths”. What if someone used “own truth” as scientific evidence, because it is, after all, true. “Own truth” is a gateway to justification of any and everything. That is, obviously not allowable.
The origin of “own truth” is unclear, but let’s venture a guess. This concept seems rather similar to opinions, and so it likely arose from them. People feel a need to be right. People are also rather obstinate. They don’t want to change. No one wants to change. Needing to be right, and not changing are usually mutually exclusive. That is, until you change the rules. If you can define truth as whatever you so please, then however you feel is right. I would warn the reader against this folly. By slipping into it you invite uncertainty into every branch of life. The school and justice systems would be rocked to their core. Just look back at the earlier examples. Debate would persist because the public can decide for themselves, but what about congress or anywhere else decisions that affect everyone are made? It would remove all checks and balances of whatever system is in question as anyone can have their “own truth” about it.
To be clear, I am not advocating the removal or suppression of legitimate worldviews. You can believe in fascism or anarchy, collectivism or individualism, Locke or Hobbes, and that’s your prerogative (and I’ll listen if you back your view up with evidence). In the words of Voltaire “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. What I am advocating against is the belief that some things are “true for you”. There are things that are true about you. There are things that you believe are true. There is not, however, some alternate reality with different facts that you and only you are living in.
I will end with a plea, though perhaps that is too self-righteous. I urge you, dear reader, to think for yourself. I urge you to formulate your own worldview. I even urge you to argue against me. But, perhaps most of all, I again urge you to not fall into the folly that your beliefs are the absolute truth.