Seeking Truth

“Seek and ye shall find” is obviously silly. Even our popular fables of searching for such things as the philosopher’s stone, the holy grail, el dorado, or the fountain of youth tell us so. Seeking, we realize, is best reserved for what can actually be found. Defining the quest is certainly more important than rushing into it. 

Those who seek truth have a more difficult task. Some truth is easy along the lines of “will I fall if I jump off this cliff?” Some truth is forever obscure, mostly anything having to do with the future. 

And, more to the point, anything relating to our internal states or social evaluations. I would contend that there is very little absolute truth concerning, for example, happiness or morality. And, for most of us, “relative truth” sounds suspiciously like an oxymoron.

The problem is that we have equated truth with fact. A fact is easily provable or disprovable. We can seek it and get a decent answer. We may need to be careful about definitions, but in general we can tell one way or the other.

Truth has taken on a wider connotation and, while that is useful in itself, it is also dangerous to equate it with fact. There is no simple truth to trying to determine something like “fire is good” or even “you are my friend.”

Seek truth and ye will find confusion.

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