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Feb. 26, 2020

Why Truth Matters

Why Truth Matters

We have a problem in America.

No it's not the constant bombardment of political ads, fake news, or even the Covid-19 virus.  Those things are far more easier to tackle then what is going on.

We have an issues in America - and the world to be frank - of being honest about what Truth is.  

For the past several years, the concept of "do what feels right" and "live your truth" have become mainstream ideas.  These concepts at their very core are part of the post modernism movement which started in earnest in the 1980s and became all the more popular in the late 1990's/early 2000's.  I remember being taught in college classes that the concept of relative truth was something that would be big on the scene in the next few years - and looking back now I think that those professors were wise beyond their years.

Since the early 2000's we have told everyone to be "true to themselves" and to "follow your hearts" with the understanding behind these phrases that our hearts will lead us down the path of we are destined for.  We say this to everyone - including young teenagers who are fueled by caffeine, hormones, and underdeveloped brains still attempting to learn.  The base assumption behind these statements is that everyone - by their very nature - is good and that as humans we will only do what is best for ourselves and for one another.  Another assumption made here is that as long as what we are doing is not harming others - then we can do whatever we want to make us happy as this is good.  The other assumption made here is that if something makes us feel good - it therefore must be good for us, never stopping to contemplate if the very thing that feels good may ultimately be bad.

It is with this as the backdrop that we have the concept of relative truth - that is that something that is true for me may not be true for you - and because it is true for me that is good enough and it is enough to make it a truth.  Notice I said a truth - not the truth.  There is a difference there.  When someone talks about something that is true to them - essentially they are saying this is my opinion.  Their truth never amounts to be more then a preference (as Josh would say) and does not fundamentally alter how the world works - even if they wish for it to do so.  In the end, the truth - be it the world is round, gravity exists, etc. - is the truth and cannot be changed by the mere wanting or suggesting otherwise.  

Let me be a little more concrete here.  Truth is something that can be measured - be it through weight, concentration of particles in blood, length of hair, presence, etc.  In order for something to be true it must be able to be quantified in some way - that is there needs to be an objective component to it.  Something that is at it's very nature subjective cannot be by default true.  While sometimes these subjective things end up being true, that is more out of coincidence instead of a one to one correlation.  

So for example.  Say you come across a kid crying in a store.  The truth is that something has caused this kid emotional distress to cause them to cry - objectively you can see they are crying.  The reason behind the crying is unknown.  Maybe they wanted a toy and their parents said no (because it was waiting for them at home as a surprise birthday gift) or they wanted some candy but their parents told them no since they were diabetic.  Subjectively to the kid, their current mindset on what the truth of the situation is is that their wants/desires are not being tended to but the truth of the matter is the parent is either telling them to wait for it or no because it may end up hurting them.

Put it another way.  If my doctor tells me I have high blood pressure, it would be ludicrous of me to insist that I do not in fact have high blood pressure.  The doctor is able to measure with an instrument and see the results of my blood pressure test.  To deny the results is a denial of truth and reality - and in this case living my truth that I am overweight and perfect just the way I am will put me in danger and put me at risk for complications further down the line which may endanger my life.

Another example of this is (especially in America) this concept of body positivity.  This is the statement and movement where no matter your size you are encouraged to "accept your body" for what it is.  Now I am not one to say do not love yourself for who you are but let's be honest with the issues that being overweight can cause.  Being overweight leads to more complications from health then anything else - and is preventable/reversible as well.  I am not saying this as some super skinny guy behind a keyboard - but as one who has many a pounds to loose as well.  This was recently brought to head when Jillian Michaels commented on singer Lizzo's weight - and the internet went up in arms over it accusing Jillian of fat shaming and being thin privileged because she was not letting Lizzo live her truth.  The truth is - from one overweight person to another - it doesn't matter how accepting of your body you are eventually it will catch up to you and impact your health.  Eventually you will get diabetes or some other preventable disease because the concept of living your truth is more important then the truth.

So what do we do?  We need to start rejecting opinion as truth.  People are entitled to opinions - and I would never deny a person their opinions - but when they push those opinions as truth then we are being dishonest with what truth is.  We need to get back to a basis of scientifically observable (and provable) truth.  Our eyes do not lie to us - they help us view what the truth of the world is.  

Of course that is just my opinion.