My Truth, Your Truth, and the Actual Truth

“My truth, your truth, and the actual truth” is much discussed and argued. Does it make any sense?

“I’m a male trapped in a women’s body!” said Olivia.  “I’m changing my sex and then I’ll be Oscar.” Wilbur thought for a moment and said, “Yeah, I know exactly what you’re going through. I too was once a male trapped in a women’s body. But then I was born.”

“I have my truth, you have your truth.” Said Jane. “If that’s true…then there is no truth. If there is no truth, then what you just said isn’t true,” replied George. “Stop being obtuse!” replied Jane.

“When did the truth become controversial?” Asked Johnny, age 12. “When a lot of people became intellectuals and decided they didn’t want to face the actual truth anymore,” said Johnny’s mom. “Dad says they’re putting ideology over truth. What does that mean, Mom?” Mom thought for a minute and said, “That means Dad is a smart man, and I’m smart for marrying him.”

The abandonment of truth has terrible consequences. Truth is the enemy of chaos. Telling the truth, the actual truth, points us toward an orderly existence and away from a chaotic one. Truth is a valuable natural resource. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel. It gives light to the darkness. It guides us to understanding over ignorance.

In an interview of a high-brow pretense of a book full of nonsense, David Goldman delivers as eloquent a description as you’ll likely find of the culture rot we face today in the world of academia:

Most educated people hold radically incompatible views about humankind and nature. They believe that the brain is a mechanism governed by the laws of physics, and that not long from now brain scientists will give a complete account of human consciousness. They also believe that machines will be able to think and that everyone will have meaningful conversations with robots, not just the nerds who ask rude questions of Siri. They believe, in short, that we are the objects of deterministic physical systems akin to machines themselves, but that we can design our identities to suit our whim, down to and including our gender.

The majority of educated people embrace mutually exclusive schools of thought: a vulgar sort of 19th-century determinism on one hand, and the existentialism of Camus and Sartre on the other. It does not occur to them that their views about the mind and the human person are illogical because they do not care about logical consistency, either. Not only do they believe that everyone has their own truth, they believe everyone has a collection of different truths to be applied when convenient.

This state of affairs poses a special sort of problem for the philosopher who wants to present Jewish concepts to a broad audience—which is to say, a mainly secular one. One cannot argue from authority, for the secular audience admits of none, and one cannot argue for logical consistency, because most people do not know what it is, and would abhor it if they did.

Jordan Peterson, who seems to have something to say about everything, says,

“If your life is not what it could be, try telling the truth. If you cling desperately to an ideology, or wallow in nihilism, try telling the truth. If you feel weak and rejected, try telling the truth. In Paradise, everyone speaks the truth. Thats what makes it paradise. Tell the truth. Or, at least, don’t lie.”

Or, at least, don’t lie. That’s helpful because it means even when you don’t know the truth you’ll love the truth and seek it passionately. That’s how you find it.

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