Distinguishing Personal Realities from Objective Truths

If you want to produce water, water that does not already exist, you need two molecules of hydrogen and one molecule of oxygen. Substitute two molecules of Nitrogen for the two molecules of hydrogen and you do not get water. Substitute one molecule of chlorine for the molecule of oxygen, and take out one of the molecules of hydrogen and what you get is Hydrogen Chloride.

In Physics, e=mc squared is objective truth. In astronomy, orbit of the earth around the sun is objective truth. Seasons of the year, whether two or four are objective truth, truth absent which management of food production could be chaotic. Consider that absent accounting for leap years, over thousands of years we could end up expecting summer in spring, winter in summer, spring in winter, winter in summer. That a year is made up of 365 and a quarter days is objective truth.

Obvious? Well then why do we argue over objectivity vis-a-vis subjectivity of truth? If truth is objective, it is not that truth is subjective, rather it is the case that the use to which we put truth subjectifies truth that by its very nature is objective. It is also the case that we attempt to pass off our perceptions, beliefs, and biases as truths when in fact these manifestations of our persons do not possess characteristics of truth.

Take gravity. For an airplane taking off, gravity is a force to be overcome. For you and I walking about on the surface of the earth, gravity is a force to be celebrated — without it we would all float out into space. Without gravity, or space suits that compensate for absence of gravity, life on earth would be impossible. While gravity remains objective truth, our response to gravity — ‘overcome’ vis-a-vis ‘accept’ — is contextual.

Take water. Yes we know the formula, yet we make movies about water shortages on earth presumably because any cataclysm which destroys our sources of water likely destroys all of the hydrogen or oxygen as well. Given people continue to exist on earth in presence of water shortages in movies, we have to assume it is the hydrogen only that we lose. If we were to lose the oxygen, well we have a conundrum of ‘no life possible on earth’ and living people looking for water to drink. The point is, regardless of our knowledge of formula for water we realize water that is most beneficial for life on earth materializes naturally via the water cycle. We do not go about trying to manufacture water, we realize that any water we produce artificially never can approximate inherent quality of naturally occurring water. There is objective truth, knowledge of formula for water, yet application of the truth leads us to desist from relying on artificially produced water. We continue to teach instead the ‘water cycle’ for maintenance of levels of water on planet Earth. There is objective truth, and then there is application of the objective truth.

In so far as our perceptions, beliefs, and biases are concerned, consider Christians who at present time are split into hundreds of denominations. Jesus is the truth of Christianity. All of the differences in theology merely are differences in perceptions, biases, or interpretation. Take Jesus out of the equation, and all of the differences become meaningless, meaning there is no truth in any of the differences. The only truth that really matters is Jesus Christ Himself.

One of the biggest problems of our human existence is that people attempt to cast perceptions, beliefs, and biases, which they accept as personal realities, as objective truth. While a person’s personal realities may work for them, this does not imply personal realities automatically can be constituted to be objective truths. If personal realities are objective truths, those personal realities must be true not only in the present, but in the past and future. The earth has rotated around the sun for as long as the earth as existed. If for any moment we thought the earth would stop rotating around the sun, our governments would panic in secret even as we drive obliviously to work on our morning commutes. This is the standard of objective truth — truth whose reality does not depend on you or I, truth that stands the test of time.

If we are to improve meaningfulness of life on earth, we must understand better and live at peace with dichotomy between objective truths, and whatever we consider to be our personal realities.

Educator and Researcher, Believer in Spirituality, Life is serious business, but we all are pilgrims so I write about important stuff with empathy and ethos

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