Truth in a Relative Universe

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richrf
 
Reply Tue 21 Jul, 2009 06:44 am
Hi all,

Do we live in a universe where everything revolves around the earth or do we live in a world where everything revolves each other? I believe truth can be seen as such.

When someone declares something to be true, it is tantamount to putting that person at the center of the universe (which it is from that person's point of view).

However, putting oneself at the center of the universe and having everything else revolve around it presents the same problem as the Ptolemaic universe presented to ancient astronomers. That is, ancient astronomers had to jump through all kinds of hoops to keep the earth at the center and at the same time explain all of the anomalies that such a earth centered universe causes.

As quantum physics and relativity demonstrate, the position of the subject relative to the object is crucial. It does not seem feasible to discount the position of the subject relative to the object when discussing anything about reality and truth. In other words, no one person is at the center of the universe. Everyone and everything sees the universe differently depending upon where they exist in the universe.

Rich
 
jgweed
 
Reply Tue 21 Jul, 2009 07:20 am
@richrf,
But when someone DECLARES something to be true, is it also tantamount to asking Others if they share in that truth---in a way, to escape from the bound of a single subject relative to an object. Even the words someone uses to make a truth statement implies the possibility of agreement or disagreement because there must be a common meaning.
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 21 Jul, 2009 07:45 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;78586 wrote:
But when someone DECLARES something to be true, is it also tantamount to asking Others if they share in that truth---in a way, to escape from the bound of a single subject relative to an object. Even the words someone uses to make a truth statement implies the possibility of agreement or disagreement because there must be a common meaning.


Hi jgweed. Thanks for your comment.

Yes, I agree that there is a request that two or more people share in some truth. But:

1) While there may be agreement, is there agreement? Each individual still maintains their own perspective. Further discussion between individuals frequently reveals disagreements still exist though for expediency the individuals will say that they agree. This is what I call consensus building which I think is much different from what most people view truth - e.g. something separate and distinct from individual perspectives as assembled by individual minds, and non-changing over time.

2) There are many reasons that people reach a consensus other than holding some agreement. People may agree, for example, just to keep their jobs or they may not like arguing.

3) Any consensus is subject to change over time. During the 1930s and 1940s, the German people created a consensus on their view of the world which they called the truth. Some people did disagree and voiced their disagreement with these truths. They were taking care of. Some were smart enough not to voice their disagreements and just pretended that they joined the consensus. But, it appears, for the majority of Germans, the truth was the truth. This was a very large number of people looking at the world from their joint perspective which was at odds with many other people in the world. Depending upon where you stood there was a different perception of the truth. After the war, this perspective miraculously changed. A simple demonstration of how truth is formed and changes over time as perspectives change.

What do you think about these points? Are they valid? Do we have different definitions of truths that we carry with us and have we reached a consensus about the definition and nature of truth?

Rich
 
Khethil
 
Reply Tue 21 Jul, 2009 07:50 am
@richrf,
Good twist on a familiar theme, Rich,

richrf;78582 wrote:
Do we live in a universe where everything revolves around the earth or do we live in a world where everything revolves each other? I believe truth can be seen as such.

When someone declares something to be true, it is tantamount to putting that person at the center of the universe (which it is from that person's point of view).


Sure, in a sense. I suppose it depends on how you look at it. For that moment, in that declaration that person - I think - isn't so much declaring to all what is as much as they're expressing the relative weight to which they believe "Such to be So". But yes, I catch your drift and depending on context that could be just the case. Always there is ego, horse-blinders and fleeting moments of over-inflated self-import (I think we all experience this from time to time - I know I do).

richrf;78582 wrote:
However, putting oneself at the center of the universe and having everything else revolve around it presents the same problem as the Ptolemaic universe presented to ancient astronomers. That is, ancient astronomers had to jump through all kinds of hoops to keep the earth at the center and at the same time explain all of the anomalies that such a earth centered universe causes.


Yes, quite so - but by that same token any declaration could be put to insurmountable scrutiny (especially with the rampant "nothing is as it seems"-mindset). There's nothing I can come up with, no matter how obvious and straightforward I think it to be, that could not be torn to shreds with the "that's just how you see it"-mindset. So yes, agree; But that knife cuts two ways... somewhat unfortunately, I might add.

richrf;78582 wrote:
... Everyone and everything sees the universe differently depending upon where they exist in the universe.


Absolutely... a simultaneous source of both rich variety as constant frustration.

Thanks
 
chad3006
 
Reply Tue 21 Jul, 2009 08:06 am
@richrf,
This thread brings to mind some Buddhist wisdom I've read recently:
"We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts, we make our world."

"Believe nothing merely because you have been told it.
Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher.
But whatever, after due examination and analysis,
you find to be kind, conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings -
that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide."
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 21 Jul, 2009 08:22 am
@Khethil,
Hi Khethil,

Thanks for your comments.

Khethil;78591 wrote:
Always there is ego, horse-blinders and fleeting moments of over-inflated self-import (I think we all experience this from time to time - I know I do).


Yes, I too often do this out of necessity. One takes a self-defined position on some issue in order to make a decision in which direction one should go. One must take a personal stand as you have indicated. It is, I feel, a pre-requisite to the execution of free will.

Quote:
There's nothing I can come up with, no matter how obvious and straightforward I think it to be, that could not be torn to shreds with the "that's just how you see it"-mindset. So yes, agree; But that knife cuts two ways... somewhat unfortunately, I might add.
Yes, I agree with you. What I do to address this issue, I believe is the same as what you do. I accept that there are both sides of myself. That is, there are times when I object to the notion of truth, recognizing that it is a perspective, but at the same time I realize that at times I personally must make a decision and for that moment define truth as it is for me at that moment - and do something because I cannot stand still!

Quote:
Absolutely... a simultaneous source of both rich variety as constant frustration.
Again, I agree. One comes with the other.

Thanks for your comments. Very much appreciate them. They have helped me create a new perspective!

Rich

---------- Post added 07-21-2009 at 09:29 AM ----------

Hi Chad,

Thank you for your comments. I have one comment and would be interested in your point of view, because it goes directly to the issue at hand, i.e. that of perspectives:

chad3006;78594 wrote:
This thread brings to mind some Buddhist wisdom I've read recently:
"We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts, we make our world."

"Believe nothing merely because you have been told it.
Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher.
But whatever, after due examination and analysis,
you find to be kind, conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings -
that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide."


I agree with the sentiments of your post. However:

But whatever, after due examination and analysis,
you find to be kind, conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings -


Is it possible to do something, anything, that will benefit the welfare of all beings?

For example, I am involved with the stock market right now. I purchase shares of stock. I am investing in companies. Are these companies benefiting all beings? Are they not benefiting some (their competitors)? The act of buying stocks in itself is hurting some people - those who have sold the stock short (I can live with it. Smile). How does one examine and determine that which is benefiting all beings?

I think this is a good question to examine since most people who are looking for truth are looking at it from their perspective of what is right. But what is right?

Rich
 
jgweed
 
Reply Tue 21 Jul, 2009 08:55 am
@richrf,
The human mind is unique in that it is able to challenge the ground of its own thinking, especially when it has the leisure to put on its philosophic robes and contemplate problems in a philosophical manner. Since the pyrrhonism of Sextus Empiricus, no truth can go unchallenged, and nothing stands on the firm land of undoubted and absolute truth.

But most of us do not wear our philosophical robes all the time. We then seem to understand that there are many different kinds of truth, each useful and appropriate to certain horizons of life and discourse within them. And we do not reject these other,"localised," paradigms of truth just because in the philosophic and absolute sense, that one model it posits of absolute truth cannot be met. When I want to drive from Chicago to New York City, I do not head west--- even though there is no absolute certainty that either city exists or that the latter actually exists to the East of Chicago. I look at a map.
 
salima
 
Reply Tue 21 Jul, 2009 09:15 am
@richrf,
"But whatever, after due examination and analysis,
you find to be kind, conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings -
that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide."......Buddhism

i do believe it is possible to find something as mentioned above-and it is not necessarily something that we 'do' but what we choose to hold sacred.(not to imply any religiosity here) i think it is the ideal to strive for, in whatever life area we contemplate. in short, it is a very good plan, because one should certainly not commit themselves wholly to 'believe and cling to' doctrines lightly. it is about not lowering our standards or giving up, and to keep searching until a certain criteria is met.
 
chad3006
 
Reply Tue 21 Jul, 2009 11:23 am
@richrf,
Well, all I really have is a long-winded way of saying "I don't know."
I'm currently struggling with that very question. I raise goats and every year I haul a load to auction. I know these animals are going to be slaughtered and it bothers me more and more every year. The land won't sustain all the goats if I keep them all, and it would become so full of cactus and shrubs, you couldn't walk, if I got rid of them. I wish the land could return to it's original state of no fences with buffalo and wolves running around, but that's not going to happen in my lifetime, and no one else around me would tolerate such a thing. So I'm just going to have to settle for some practical compromise, like breed only when I need replacement goats.
That's the closest thing to a good truth I can get under the current situation.
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 21 Jul, 2009 11:56 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;78606 wrote:
But most of us do not wear our philosophical robes all the time.


Hi jgweed,

This is where I find philosophy can have practical application in my every day life. I actually imbue the spirit of what I think into my everyday living.

1) I do doubt (which is why I do not take as a given what someone, anyone relates to me).

2) I look for flexibility in body (yoga and tai chi), in mind (decision making), in spirit (my view of life).

3) I allow things to change and flow in body (my blood, fluids), in mind (my ideas), in spirit (I don't feel like everything has to be done now, in this life).

This is very much an Eastern approach where philosophy is incorporated in everyday living and not thought of as some endeavor of a few chosen people who are outside the sphere of the ordinary man (I am afraid Plato had a lot to do with this mode of thinking). In Asia, the feelings, thoughts, understandings are incorporated in every day living, every day health, every day communication. It is a seamless whole. Not every one, to be sure, and it seems to be different in many large cities nowadays with the advent of materialism in large Asian cities, but still large swats of the population still see philosophy as a way of leading a life and not just a thought process.

I think most Asian philosophers will concur that there is a seamlessness in Asian philosophy/health/living that is much different than what is practiced in Western culture. I would be interested in what others might have to say on this.

Thanks for bringing up this interesting point.

Rich

---------- Post added 07-21-2009 at 01:00 PM ----------

salima;78611 wrote:
i think it is the ideal to strive for, in whatever life area we contemplate.


Hi salima,

I would like to understand this further. Do you think it is possible that one strive for something and at the same time do things that are detrimental to the well being of others? This is the issue in regards to the truth of what is being told. Yes, it is true that I might believe that what I strive for is the ideal, but at the same time, without my knowing it, I might be doing things to the detriment of others.

If you can elaborate, it would be helpful for me to understand your point of view.

Rich

---------- Post added 07-21-2009 at 01:04 PM ----------

chad3006;78629 wrote:
Well, all I really have is a long-winded way of saying "I don't know."
I'm currently struggling with that very question. I raise goats and every year I haul a load to auction. I know these animals are going to be slaughtered and it bothers me more and more every year. The land won't sustain all the goats if I keep them all, and it would become so full of cactus and shrubs, you couldn't walk, if I got rid of them. I wish the land could return to it's original state of no fences with buffalo and wolves running around, but that's not going to happen in my lifetime, and no one else around me would tolerate such a thing. So I'm just going to have to settle for some practical compromise, like breed only when I need replacement goats.
That's the closest thing to a good truth I can get under the current situation.


Hi Chad,

And such is my life. Lots of ongoing compromise.

I see things as a pendulum going back and forth. I do not try to keep the pendulum in absolute stillness, because then it is dead and no longer a pendulum. But I do try to imaging the pendulum going back and forth in gentle small swings. The large swings are fine, but the big ups are inevitably followed by the big downs, which I find too exhausting for my own life. So gentle ups followed by gentle downs works for me. And I don't try to create perfect balance, because I enjoy things that are alive and flowing.

Thanks for sharing with me your thoughts and a bit of your life. It sounds darn interesting!


Rich
 
salima
 
Reply Tue 21 Jul, 2009 05:55 pm
@chad3006,
chad3006;78629 wrote:
Well, all I really have is a long-winded way of saying "I don't know."
I'm currently struggling with that very question. I raise goats and every year I haul a load to auction. I know these animals are going to be slaughtered and it bothers me more and more every year. The land won't sustain all the goats if I keep them all, and it would become so full of cactus and shrubs, you couldn't walk, if I got rid of them. I wish the land could return to it's original state of no fences with buffalo and wolves running around, but that's not going to happen in my lifetime, and no one else around me would tolerate such a thing. So I'm just going to have to settle for some practical compromise, like breed only when I need replacement goats.
That's the closest thing to a good truth I can get under the current situation.


i have an awful lot to say about goats! if there were a thread i dont know how many people would be interested...maybe i will pm you if that is ok?
 
chad3006
 
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 10:25 am
@richrf,
Your welcome to PM me. I love talking about goats.
 
 

 
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