Like the metaphors of a silver bullet being lethal a werewolf or a crucifix to a vampire, truth is the death nail to the clutches of the ego and the last thing the ego wants to do is die. The egoist would sooner sacrifice all they’ve come to know along with all the people they know, (but certainly not all that they own as things are far too important) than to release its’ power and control over the life that it binds and the lie that feeds it.
It seems like the last thing most people want to discuss is the truth, we’d rather ask others how they’re doing, and by all appearances it seems that everyone is doing “Great”! No need to go much deeper than that, by all appearances everyone’s singing zippadeedodah! I wonder why one third of a Trillion dollars is spent on psychotropics each year?!
In Philosophy “Truth” is often defined as, being in accord with fact or reality, or fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal. Truths opposite would be a falsehood, which is a perversion of the truth by one acting deceitfully, resulting in some damage towards another.
“Ultimate Truth” of existence, and the right living attached to that truth, is perhaps a subject that we all seek individually but seems rarely a successful joint venture, as the survival of the group tends to inexorably usurp the Truth it originally sought.
In any case, to be truthful is a highly regarded value when interacting socially, and we all spend much of our existence at least striving to appear to ourselves and others as being truthful, and thus trustworthy.
There are 16 different “Criteria of Truth” that are commonly employed by individuals, groups, governments, legal systems, the Sciences and Philosophy, that provide us with varying degrees of logical and factual validity in approximating truth.
On an individual level, depending on what fuels ones’ motivations, more or less valid or factual criterion of truth may be employed. Is a person motivated to seek the truth “to do the right thing”, or do they seek the appearance of the truth “to be right” in spite of what is true?
The Criteria of Truth:
The Components of Valid Truth
1.) Coherence: All pertinent facts must be arranged in a consistent and cohesive fashion as an integrated whole. This is the most potentially effective test of truth because it most adequately addresses all of the elements necessary to validate truth. It is limited however, as all knowledge would require an omniscience.
2.) Strict Consistency: The claims are connected in such a fashion that one statement follows from another. (Formal Logic and Mathematics are both rigorous and good examples)
3.) Correspondence: A claim corresponds with its’ object, not a valid criterion, but a part of the whole truth.
4.) Mere Consistency: All correct statements that do not contradict one another, but they are not necessarily related to one another. Inadequate criterion because it treats the facts in an isolated fashion without true cohesion and integration, but is a necessary condition for truth in any argument.
Opinions Considered Aspects of Truth
5.) Authority: A qualified individual, or group of individuals through experience or advanced education or training, may be considered knowledgable and proof when considering truth. (In my experience, being a doctor and authority in several subjects, one can ask 10 different “experts” and get 10 different opinions.)
6.) Majority Rule: A statistical method of accepting assertions, poor measure of truth.
7.) Pragmatic: If an Idea works it must be true, but has false positives. Negative Pragmatism Ideas that work, may or may not be true, and ideas that do not work are not true.
8.) Time: “Stood the test of time”, inadequate for the test of truth.
9.) Consensus Gentium: The universal consent of mankind, all humans holding a distinct belief, makes it true. Of questionable value.
10.) Naïve Realism: Something is true only if it is directly observable by the human senses. Invalid, as the human senses are very limited.
Biases and Unprovable Aspects of the Truth
11.) Custom: Assumption that doing what is customary will prevent error. “When in Rome”. Public Opinion or what’s popular, is not a serious or valid test of truth.
12.) Tradition: The standard stating that which has held for generations is true. The Earth was considered flat for many generations, not valid.
13.) Intuition: An assumed truth with an unknown, or possibly unexamined source. Judgement that is not dependent on a rational examination. (Not reason based or factual)
14.) Emotions: A person feels it is true, so it must be true. Too subjective to be valid.
15.) Instinct: The belief that every instinct has a corresponding referent in reality. Not valid
16.) Revelation: revealed as truth from a higher power. Not valid
When seeking Truth, the manner in which we search for it, is dependent on the profundity of the truth we seek itself.
If I want to know how tall I am, I can measure my height with some degree of truthful accuracy, though I can also make a good argument that my keen human perceptions are only an illusion to my senses that themselves are dependent on certain somatosensory receptors and specific nerve pathways that my brain uses to reconstruct into a reality that I put my faith into and call truth.
Of course the argument could go on from there to underlying relativized quantum fields and on and on, but the bottom line is, what is my motivation for seeking any truth in the first place?
If I cannot answer that question, or if I have no access to my own deeper internal psychic realms where I may intuitively discern the “Why” behind my endeavor, then why does truth even matter to me in the first place? Perhaps I want to appear right, or gain something for proving my rightness?
Having said that, if I do possess access to the full range of my self and my feelings and emotions, and I can set them aside when appropriate and employ them at will, then I can approximate the truth as closely and to the highest acceptable degree of “Coherent” validity to the extent that I am willing to gain the knowledge required to do so.
Those who do not possess the faith to trust themselves enough to search for and find truth, have a reason for their lack of self-trust (this mentality projects mistrust onto all others), and though they would never admit otherwise, not trusting themselves is the wisest decision they could ever make.