Musings

Here is my rough understanding of the word “truth.”  

The Functional Truth applies to daily life; it’s a set of premises/assumptions (derived from personal or external evidence) that allow me to make predictions with a satisfactory rate of positive results, and prosper in the long run.  It does not presume to know the nature of reality, and in my mind, is the most important Truth because it works, and due to its lack of presumption about the underlying nature of reality, aligns with a mystical viewpoint that allows for divinity (if it exists) to maintain its mystery by not presuming to know it, yet flow with external indicators and phenomena (divinity’s clues to me, if divinity exists) through a humble stance on new evidence.  In a nutshell:  “Those who say they don’t know, know.  Those who say they know, don’t know.”

Next is the Scientific Truth, which draws a reliable map of cause and effect that must adhere to acceptable error rates.  When applied properly, this truth will adjust its premises for new evidence (physics is a good example of this, the Seven Countries studies is not).  

Next is the Logical Truth, which draws a reliable map of cause and effect, but does not use statistics, or acceptably established rates of error.  This truth, when applied properly, also demonstrates humility and flexibility, for no given premise is accepted as definitely true, and can only be “validated” through not just sound deduction, but also sound experimentation (induction, roughly).  

Lastly is the Definitive Truth, which dogmatic people purport to know (heaven, reincarnation, enlightenment, god, etc. etc.) but real mystics only hint at.  I believe this is because if there is some grander power that structures the universe, then in order to harmonize with it one must avoid purporting to know it and instead DEMONSTRATE they know it by following the clues that are left before them, and transforming their efforts into desired results that benefit the collective.  That’s why I believe seeking effectiveness within ethical bounds (how I define the Functional Truth) is the simplest, most practically relevant pathway to honoring divinity, if such a thing even exists. 

If not, that’s okay too—I’ve covered my bases (my practical and ethical considerations) by honoring the Functional Truth.  😉

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7 thoughts on “Musings

  1. the idea of Truth is a human construct, it doesn’t apply to other species, nor for that matter to other languages, it is, ergo, a minefield, philosophically, it’s a dance we’re doing around a particular notion evolved within our anglophone community – all I’ll say about it is that it’s in the eye of the beholder, that I exist, am, thanks to Descartes, and that mathematics seems to be incontrovertible across all categories, and therefore, apparently, true, in the sense I think you’re giving that word – cheers,
    R ! chard

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    • I was talking to a phd in theoretical math, who said that there are seven presumptions that math accepts without proof, which if were to be proven false, would collapse the entirety of mathematics. I agree with you—mathematics SEEMS to be incontrovertible across all categories, and seems to consistently provide functionality, so I would actually say it’s within my definition of “functionally true.”

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  2. Think of a situation in which each of five people experience the same information and each applies one of the forms of truth you describe, Each person could testify honestly in court the truth they found, and the actions they took as a result. (The 5 blind men describing an elephant story comes to mind.)

    My point is that there can be more than one truth for the same thing. In fact, tactful and gracious people choose the truth that inflicts the least pain or embarrassment.

    Another form of truth is subjective: “I believe, I will, that’s not what I meant.” Without telepathy, no one can refute the internal state, apparent to the speaker only. The speaker may be genuine in their perception.

    Another form of truth is the admitted ignorance truth: “I do not know,” or “no one knows”

    Sometimes, your “Functional Truth” may be provable, but unworkable until you persuade others to agree. Other times it may be irrelevant in the presence of a “higher” priority you do not see. That is why, no matter which truth one holds, it helps to get perspectives from others before taking action.

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    • In the functional truth, my aim is not to persuade or bring consensus, it is simply to align my results with my intent. I believe this is why technology is so powerful; while I have no idea how my computer or phone work, they do so on a regular basis, so I faithfully accept their founding principles, the various sciences that have gone into them. It does help to get perspectives from others, but the art of life necessitates that in dynamic situations, one has to accept that if they get all the info, the opportunity will have passed them by. It’s actually a mainstay of military leadership; you will probably only get 70% or 80% of the information, but you will still have to act anyway. The things that carry you through that ambiguity are the basics: attention to detail, aggression, situational awareness, discipline, etc. etc.

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  3. you are correct about decision points coming before complete, accurate information. Plus, your observations, choices, actions, reactions, produce the dynamic interplay of what you cause and what is context. the unknown and unexpected are risks, with projected consequences. managing risk is a vital function in any endeavor.

    In combat, mission statements incorporate whatever they observe, surmise and how they plan to anticipate expected presence, deployment, logistics, and communications. But, they are clear that everything goes out the window when the first shot is fired. Then the experience and awareness of the leaders direct how to respond in a continuous cascade of observe, evaluate, choose, act.

    fortunately, most non-combat situations allow more time and planning. they also allow more cooperative, collaboration to produce mutually beneficial results. adversarial interactions bring in the power of emotion, determination, and persuasion that can turn the tide. in these cases, leaders must take strategic factors as well as tactical elements.

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    • Indeed, that’s actually where some in the military struggle in their transition to civilian life; they have a hard time understanding why outward aggression may not be the most STRATEGICALLY aggressive way to go. Outward aggression is a great strategy in certain contexts, but to be strategically aggressive in the corporate world, there’s more tact and soft skills involved.

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