The Gustavian Weekly

The write to think

By Eric Schneider Staff Columnist | April 19, 2013 | Opinion

Even Jack Nicholson doesn’t know what the truth is. <em>Creative Commons</em>

Even Jack Nicholson doesn’t know what the truth is. Creative Commons

You can’t handle my non-objective truth

Eric_SchneiderAn interesting question has been eating at my mind lately. That is, how do we know what truth is? To answer this question, we must first examine the nature of distinguishing truth both subjectively and objectivily. Can the chicken exist without the egg? Can light exist without darkness? Can good exist without evil? For each of these questions, we cannot have the former without the latter, and vice versa. This is called a paradox,and this is where the truth lies.

By definition, a paradox is something that is self-contradictory but in reality expresses truth. And this is simply that truth in itself is very hard to come by. Whether or not we think we know the answer to something, actually knowing the answer is much different than thinking we do. We can say that time flows in a completely linear direction, but in reality, what keeps us from saying that time is traveling in a non-linear way?

What really determines the truth of something? Is it our brain, which is in reality a piece of intelligence contrived from nature itself? Or is it our soul, which is an ineffable substance that is impossible to prove? Either way, we only can say for certain what we think the truth is, and not what the truth is as it actually is.

Based on this guessing game, why bother trying to seek truth? We keep searching because there is a chance that we may be right. By examining all that there is in life, there is a slim possibility that we can come to a conclusion that actually makes sense and holds a small amount of truth exists.

Whether or not what we think is in reality true, there is always a part of ourself that wishes to know the truth behind every question ever asked. This part of ourself can be defined as the subjective, or personal, perspective. The true answer we seek is known as the objective, or absolute truth, that is true in itself outside of our own thoughts or feelings.

These two perspectives of truth, the subjective and objective, create a fine line between knowing and over-assumption. This is why we have to be careful when seeking answers to our questions. By giving our personal answer, we give an answer that has been affected by our personal experience and is therefore biased. No matter what the situation, bias does exist, and therefore makes every answer subjective.

But what if we shed our bias in order to form a more perfect union with the beautiful bride of objectivity? Well my friend, this is a very unfeasible task that would require a person to completely shed every single past experience, ergo, making that person nonexistent. Here is where the problem lies. Even when we strive for objectivity, we are still held down by our own personal experience that we cannot get rid of.

However, have no fear! Although our bias is ever present, it is this very bias that leads us to ask the questions we ask and think the things we think. It makes us who we are.

By awakening ourselves to our own biases, we can use them as a tool to sift through answers that do not align with an unbiased truth that may or may not exist in the depths of space and time.