January 23, 2012 in Commentary, Musings

I may have written about truth in the past  but tonight was so much fun I had to share the evening with you and write about truth again.

I was listening to blogtalkradio when a discussion about answers to humanity’s  problems became the topic.  I suggested that nobody had “the answer(s),” otherwise humanity’s problems would have been solved long ago.  This sparked a lot of debate, disagreement, and discussion which was soon bouncing back and forth between answers and truth.  During the course of the discussion, one of the participants commented, the one thing  they knew to be true was that a positive times a negative always equaled a negative.  At this point I asked, “how about the product of the positive square root of negative one times the negative square root of negative one?”   They asked me, what’s the square root of negative one, and I responded, in mathematics it’s called an imaginary with the property that  when squared equals -1.  Therefore, in the example I presented, we have a case where a negative times a positive gives a positive.  What happened after that, I don’t know, the chat room shut off.

What’s the point?  I don’t know.  What I do know is,  in mathematics there are tests for truth, tests to check if a given mathematical function or solution (answer) is the right one.  I don’t know the same can be said for the answers in life, the solutions in life, for the human experience.

I find it fascinating that we humans have such a hard time accepting that things exist for which there are no absolute answers.   Maybe if we could ever come to grips with this, it would be possible to have a tolerant world,  a world that worked for everyone.

Do you think this might be the answer, the truth?

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5 responses to TRUTH ON JANUARY 17, 2012

  1. Vernon, imnsho, the phrasing “Humanity’s Problems” is part of the “problem”.

    Is their even such a “thing” as “humanity” which can have a “problem”?

    Or do we look at how humans “be” and “dwell”, and work from there, without distracting abstractions?

    Luv ya Bro!

    • Only “part of the problem” Roger? :-)

      BTW, this is fascinating. I think you have fallen prey to what is so common for humans. Me thinks you have gotten caught up in the details of the example. LOL.

      I’ll leave it to you, for the moment anyway, to see if you can “abstract” the wheat from the chaff in the post. If not, the answer will be in the back of the book. ;-)

  2. Imposing a mathematical model of “truth” on humans may be a counterproductive distortion … before the “questioning” ever gets underway!

    “Thinking is not so much an act as a way of living or dwelling — as we in America would put it, a way of life. It is a remembering who we are as human beings and where we belong. It is a gathering and focusing of our whole selves on what lies before us and a taking to heart and mind these particular things before us in order to discover in them their essential nature and truth. Learning how to think can obviously aid us in this discovery. Heidegger’s conception of truth as the revealing of what is concealed, in distinction to the theory of truth as correctness or correspondence, is probably his most seminal thought and philosophy’s essential task, as he sees it. The nature of reality and of man is both hidden and revealed; it both appears and withdraws from view, not in turn, but concomitantly. Only the thinking that is truly involved, patient, and disciplined by long practice can come to know either the hidden or disclosed character of truth.”

    “There is always a struggle to advance a new way of seeing things, because customary ways and preconceptions about it stand in the way.”

    A gift of clips from the introduction to Martin Heidegger’s “What is Called Thinking”.

    • This is actually beautiful Roger.

      In many ways, this is what much of last night’s show on BTR was about. Also, the comment to your post above is relative as well.


  3. Have to think about this but my off the top of the head response is, sometimes. Math is merely a different language constrained by the rules of that language. In that respect it’s no different than any other language.

    The point of the post was, somebody picked what they thought was a rock solid example of an absolute truth and the example they picked was one from mathematics. Therefore I used an example from mathematics as well, to challenge their reality of absolutes. I’m not saying there are not absolutes, I’m just trying to point out that what we call truth and absolutes may not be so and merely saying something is true or calling something truth doesn’t make it so.

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