Quid est veritas?
“Quid est veritas?”
At the top of these stairs, Pontius Pilate asked Jesus of Nazareth “What is truth?”
It is a question that has been contemplated for generations.
Facts are black and white.
They are tangible, evidence based historical recordings.
They are unbiased, simple raw data.
Facts exist within time and space, dependent fully upon the circumstances surrounding them.
Facts can be fabricated (known to us as lies).
Truth informs thoughts, actions and lifestyles.
It carries significance and conviction.
It is filled with integrity.
Truth deals in absolutes that are influenced by the perception of the bearer; the lenses of emotions and knowledge shade the truth.
Truth exists outside of time and space, beyond both discovery and acceptance.
Truth requires belief, acceptance and acknowledgement to appreciate it fully.
Truth can be misrepresented, but cannot be disproven.
Raphael painted the great philosophers Plato and Aristotle as they debated the theories of their time. Aristotle (right center) posited that knowledge is gained through sensory experience (known as empiricism). His gesture points to the earth, inferring that what informs us is what we perceive as it exists before us. Plato (left center) theorized that non-material abstract ideas are the highest and fundamental kind of reality. His upward pointing implies his Theory of Forms, which suggests that what we perceive through our sensory experiences are merely ‘shadows’ or representations of what exists outside of the things before us.
I would classify Aristotle’s position as ‘factual’ and Plato’s position as ‘truthful’. However, both lines of reasoning rely on the human understanding at its core, which is inherently flawed and biased. If truth exists outside of time and space, then it must also exist independently of our perceptions, emotions and influences. It must go beyond informing the sensory and inform the heart, mind and soul. As stated above, facts can be fabricated, twisted, or hidden. Facts are transient while truth is eternal. Truth, therefore, cannot be reliant upon facts. No, truth must be independent of facts. Truth must exist outside of us, outside of our laws, outside of our influences and environments. It is beyond our pre-conceived ideas, our logic and our sense of order. Truth exists outside of our dimensions otherwise it would be dependent upon them to exist. If truth was dependent upon something that is open for abuse and interpretation, it would to cease to exist. Much in the same way that justice is an idea that exists beyond our capabilities to implement it. We pursue truth as we pursue justice, but ultimately they exist outside of our understanding. These two are related; they are intertwined. They both require a belief and acceptance that they exist beyond our laws and reason and that only outside of our understanding will they fully be realized.
This is the logic that so many miss: Truth does not rely upon facts. Fact can support truth, but truth must exist outside of fact. Facts are bits of data that must be filtered and interpreted in order for us to make sense of the world. It is the interpretation of facts that causes truth to become distorted and misrepresented. Each individual will interpret fact differently. Each person will notice a different pattern within data, speculate as to motivations, and assign meaning to various actions. Based on their circumstantial, emotional, and physical influences, they will interpret fact differently. Truth cannot therefore, be dependent upon fact to exist. That is why truth exists outside of our understanding of time, space and interpretation according to our reality; otherwise we would have relativity. Relativity cannot be truth, since it relies on fact, which is open to interpretation. When someone says ‘this is my truth’, they are mistaken; it is not their ‘truth’, but rather, their perception of the facts which they have encountered. This is the flaw of truth in relativity.
Let’s define truth again:
Truth is inherent.
It simply exists.
It always has and always will.
It is recognizing the truth which is difficult; for it is not easily discovered. Truth can be elusive in our environment, but it is worth the pursuit. Sometimes it is right in front of us, if only we would have the eyes to see it.
“And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
*Written in response to the Let’s Blog Off Topic
You can see the original post at the old blog, along with several insightful comments from readers.
Written by: Brinn Miracle