You know what? We have no handle on the Truth. We know nothing, and that’s okay. We think in metaphor, labels, taglines, slogans, name-calling, and that’s actually an advantage. Without that layer of abstraction, we would not be able to function. I imagine that holds true for every lifeform with a nervous system. Perhaps even plants.
Light, dark. Food, inedible. Danger, safe. Warm, cold. These are not fundamental truths; they are abstractions, metaphors.
If we move down a level and try to quantify these values, it’s still metaphor. For a reptile, there is a temperature at which they go to a low energy mode, and yet if food comes along they will break that barrier to capture some prey which adds energy to the equation. There is a self adjusting algorithm that absorbs all the information available to any given organism, its needs, its limitations, and a result occurs. The more complex we become, the more information that plays into a grand balancing act that results in a behavior.
In the case of human beings, that dance is arguably the most intricate on the planet. On the other hand, we are intelligent enough to deliberately dumb ourselves down, to simplify, to create larger abstractions and a greater disconnect between any objective measure of truth and the factors we choose to make our decisions. In that sense, the only difference between our intelligence and the simplest nervous system is our ability to self-program our abstractions.
Your top level metaphor may be a philosophy, a religion, a religionless faith, a free-form belief, science, a political view, a sexual identity, a need, a goal, a loved one, an altered state driven by drugs, a medical condition, self image, money, power, creative expression or a subset of creativity, something like fashion, or any combination of all of the above. Given that we know nothing about objective truth, no one can actually say which of these or countless others actually matter.
We count on a base ten system because we have ten digits on our hands. What if every branch of science becomes easier if we happened to have 17 digits? We would never know. What if we had built our entire math based on 20 instead of ten? As a man with nine toes, one lost to infection, I have to ask. Would 20 digits makes things closer to the truth or farther? We don’t know.
Einstein built an entire concept of space-time to explain a set of conditions that eliminated a need for spooky action at a distance. We like an idea of spacetime that controls itself without a real-time connection among every bit of matter, but hey, that’s a metaphor. What if it’s actually the reverse? What if everything in the universe is actually in communication with everything else without regard for distance, because time is an artifact of our limited ability to observe it. We don’t know.
We don’t know.
Instead, we build assumption on top of assumption, metaphor on metaphor. We fiddle with it until we can make it make mathematical sense. The problem, of course, is that the math involves multiple occurrences of both zero and infinity, the singularities at the ends of the mathematical spectrum. This is the equivalent of saying that we may as well call on a mysticism of the unknown to explain the unexplainable. I’m not saying it’s unexplainable. I am a firm believer in the human ability to ferret out explanations. I am saying that there is the possibility that we are incapable of seeing the Truth. All of quantum physics points us to a scary concept that our mere observation affects the result. In blunter terms, intention affects the outcomes.
If we say that’s actually true, then our attention and intention creates our reality, which any groups of people agree upon. If that’s true, in other words, you and I agree upon the elevator we are riding to another floor, and that goes right back to spooky action at a distance. Or brains, or minds of you prefer, are exchanging information about our collective experience at a rate of data that makes Einstein’s theory look like WWII radio in the age of gigabit internet. To borrow further from the data metaphor, either someone is the dominant definer of the reality of that elevator, or there is a reality “server” to which our minds subscribe. If the former, how is dominance established? If the latter, what is the server? God? The universe? An underlying operating system we all follow without knowing? An agreement that is reached among all the party minds (intentions) according to predetermined rules that depend entirely upon spooky action at a distance, and at a data rate we literally can’t imagine?
If the whole universal system works at rate we can’t imagine, do we have any hope of explaining it? If we have no hope of explaining it from our brain-in-skull limitations, do we take it as challenge, or accept it as God’s will, intending that part of the aspect of ourselves that exist in human form are not in on the secret of the ultimate definition of Truth?
Let’s bring this back down to our poor human lives. The point is that we have a certain free will to choose the abstractions that define our day to day reality. This actually a very poignant thing at this point in time. Half of us believe that any change is better than none. Half of us believe that that the change we have chosen amounts to a giant leap backwards in terms of human potential and acceptance.
The choice is a massive downwards cascade of any definition of Truth. In our massive ability to reduce Truth to an abstraction, which again is our singular advantage in a universe we cannot grasp, we distilled the whole thing down to the only reality we can understand, i.e., how it affects us. If you are gay in America, you think in terms of Hillary’s rhetoric of inclusiveness, no matter how much evidence exists that it’s just political rhetoric and not something she says for political expediency. Because of our basic ability to create metaphor to define complexity, we can simply accept our metaphor as reality, and ignore anything that conflicts with that metaphor. Reversing course, we can also take Trump’s various idiotic statements as a blanket of truth, and abstract Trump into a container of racism, homophobia, and sexism.
What’s the defense against a one sided approach to Truth? Listen to both sides. Treat everything as “We know nothing” and evaluate based on too much information. Too much information is a huge problem. As I’ve said more than once, the only conspiracy theory I will actually defend is the idea that “they” bury us in too much complexity to see what is really happening. The left has won the war, which means that they collectively can ignore any other point of view. They lost because the opposition understood that they were being culturally squashed and reserved their real opinion until they were in the voting booth. Ironic that the cultural debate was manipulated in one direction, and went in the other. It reminds me of Princess Leia to Grand Moff Tarken. “The more you tighten your grip, the more systems slip through your fingers.”
All of this is still being expressed in the form of protests, and those lost people of America who were washed aside by the Democrat party. But the only real limits in the balance of the Truth versus the real politic in America, two very different things, is that Americans are used to having an advantage, an advantage that was hard earned, and in the reality of 2016 America, where politicians are apparently willing to trade that advantage for nothing. A concept of global fairness does not equate with the reality of us giving up much for those who would gain very little. And, if freedom and independence counts on the grand accounting of Truth, it’s a terrible trade against a nebulous concept of global equality.
If you want the greatest simplicity, you want the greatest metaphor of Truth. If you want to measure success in a more detailed and granular fashion, you must be willing to sacrifice simplicity in the bargain. This, in turn, means that you must be willing to look outside your point of view, see how the other side thinks, and synthesize your own Truth. There are plenty of forces in play that would prefer, in fact demand, that you accept their truth as the Truth. It’s your option, and privilege, to decide your own Truth, and act accordingly.
The Truthiest Truth, and it’s yours.