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The search for truth

01 Jan

I recently came to an important conclusion:

It is the duty of all sentient beings to search for truth, to accept it once it is found, and to conform to it in thought and in deed.

Why such a conclusion? First of all, because I reject the current popular view that truth is subjective, that it is dependent upon each person’s views. I believe truth to be independent, eternal and unvarying. For example, if the earth really orbits around the sun (a commonly accepted truth), that truth is left unchanged by anyone’s beliefs in anything conflicting with that truth, such as the sun orbiting around the earth.

Secondly, granted that truth is the same for everyone, there is an infinite amount of knowledge that is simply not true. That is a problem if we believe in such things and accept them as truth. Nations that practice ethnic cleansing because they believe that they are a superior race whose right it is to rule over all others, clearly believe in ┬ásomething that is not true, and it is clearly problematic. However, freedom to choose one’s beliefs and to act upon them while respecting the rights of others, is a fundamental concept which has often been the deciding factor in the rise and fall of families, communities and civilisations.

To complete my reasoning, if there is on one hand the truth, and on the other an infinity of falsehood, it makes perfect sense that it is better for everyone to discover, accept and live by the truth, while rejecting falsehood as it is exposed by the discovery of truth. Only human beings with the power to reason and reflect can make a choice between what is true and what is false.

The question is, if a man discovers something true and has to dismiss a false belief in order to accept it, what may entice him to choose the truth instead of clinging to his false beliefs? We have the choice in what we believe, but believing is more than just being exposed to something obviously true. It implies mental exertion, experimentation, exploration and introspection.

The real choice then lies in whether we accept the challenge to seek the truth, or whether we, instead, decide to go along with the hogwash of diluted, second-hand wisdom which comes to us from our confused, fellow beings?

My conclusion is that our search for truth is our duty. It is duty to ourselves, to our neighbour, and the world in general. A true seeker of truth will fight falsehood, misconceptions, prejudices and stereotypes. A true seeker of truth will always ultimately find it, but more importantly, he / she will become an outstanding person thanks to the grueling process of searching. And since there is an infinite amount of truth to be discovered, the search is never-ending.

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Posted by on January 1, 2008 in Musings, Religion

 

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