And why it doesn’t work so well
Truth is a word.
The evolution of truth — how the word happened or came about — is a different story entirely, but typical of words, the fact it exists can be denied only by confirming it.
That explains why the one thing everybody agrees is true about true is that it is a word. Everything is a word and nothing is a word, says more about words than a word-user ever could, and truth is simply no exception.
“Call it a dream, it doesn’t change anything.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
That is because we don’t live in a dream world. We live in a word-world.
In the wordless world
In the wordless world, truth doesn’t exist for self-evident reasons.
In the wordy world
In the wordy world, I’m told there are two different types of word-users:
- Those who are looking for the truth.
- Those who claim to have found it.
But call it as is, a word, and everything changes. Your interest shifts from trying to understand truth to understand words instead, and when you figure out how truth works, you have the key to how all words work.
Call it a perspective, it doesn’t change anything. Everything we have a word for is.
Pre-internet, that is back when the truth was off-line and hotly debated, the truth had been just that for thousands of years. For the adults, that was alright because they had gotten used to it, but for the children, caught in the middle of it, it is confusing as hell. Whom to believe?
- Who claims the truth is in a book they have a copy of, each their own?
- Who insists the truth is what school is about?
- Who pretends the wisest and noblest teacher are the wordless, also known as nature, evolution, or the wild?
Post-internet, the truth is everything it was before, however, with a sizeable difference. The internet provides the short-cuts to truth we had, it seems, invented the internet for.
Now, true is “about 4.24 billion results” (Google), “most commonly refers to truth” (Wikipedia), and “connected with facts rather than things that have been invented or guessed” (Oxford Learners Dictionaries), to name just a few of those short-cuts.
Then as now
Then as now, shouts for “Will the real truth please stand up!” is a waste of energy and time. You might as well ask:
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, which is the fairest truth of them all?”
Things have changed, but the mirrors have remained constant. A mirror will still only tell you who is looking at it, that is what mirrors are for, and the internet cares only about storing as many truths about you as it possibly can.
But what matters to us is for us to decide, each their own, and for many it is like for the children, a decision between black and white. That is all there is, they want you to believe, but my eyes tell me it’s colors everywhere and truth isn’t one of them. And I know I’m not alone, we’re all in this together which explains, I think, why the truth doesn’t work so well.
There are no truths here, only words.
What happens next is anybody’s guess. Were I to write, “Look, my friend, we are talking serious business here,” you might respond with, “That is a matter of opinion!” and both of us would be equally spot on. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, the truth is a question of character and personal preference, to each their own.
When you see truth as is — a word that never happened — you can let go of it and just deal with people’s points of view and perspectives instead.
However, keep your expectations in check. Letting go of truth won’t simplify your life beyond recognition because that is not how simplification works. Simple isn’t a place you find, it’s a decision you make.
Ditto with truth.
The best you can do is decide to forget about it, and when in the presence of people who claim to have found it, run for cover.