A Search For The Truth
When was the last time you were shocked or even offended by the truth? When a discovery or accumulation of facts forced you, even demanded you re-think closely-held beliefs? Forced you to discard an old idea and all it was built upon and replace it all with something new, even if you did not want to accept it?
For many, an examination of the wonders of the universe causes this shock. Anyone who has investigated the incredible strangeness of the quantum world knows it well.
An honest search for the truth in all areas of one’s life is certain to demand this on an on-going basis. It is a statistical certainty that no one’s belief system is an exact overlap of reality, and isn’t reality fundamentally the essence of the truth?
There are of course a few misguided souls who state there is no such thing as truth, everything is made-up. But of course they throw these easy ideas away as soon as a loved one enters an operating room. Then they will want the best science (truth) can provide. And they never seem to purchase products or get on airplanes that are built ignoring the truth. These fools can be ignored.
But the truth can not be ignored, not without great risk. Yet in far too many areas of life we causally look at truth as something that is pliable to our desires… our wants… our beliefs.
Regardless of your political viewpoint, can anyone look at our politicians in action and state they are arguing and fighting in an aggressive search for the truth? Yet government takes trillions of dollars from individuals – would not a reasonable person demand this money be spent building on the truth? Many people treat economics as simply a pliable method to support their preconceived notions. The social arena? There is no truth, only beliefs and feelings that must be supported and promoted in whatever manner possible (and of course anyone who disagrees must have evil, wicked intent.)
Look around you. It affects many, even scientists. It is truly amazing how far too many scientists’ political views correspond almost exactly with their views on certain subjects, like global warming. It is a statistical impossibility for this to occur in an honest search for the truth.
But we proceed down this path at our own peril. We seem to think we can ignore that truth is based on facts. Bertrand Russell captured this essence; “…minds do not create truth or falsehood. They create beliefs, but when once the beliefs are created, the mind cannot make them true or false… [w]hat makes a belief true is a fact, and this fact does not in any way involve the mind of the person who has the belief.”
A search for the truth. Something that has taken us from single-celled organisms to the majestic creatures we are today. In all but our most recent past, ignoring the truth was often met with a crushing response from the natural world. Our collective prosperity now allows one to seemingly ignore truth with no obvious unpleasant repercussions.
So now, as we finally have arrived at a point where humans understand life, earth, and the cosmos to an astonishing degree, is not a time to ignore the truth. The forces we deal with are powerful and unforgiving. We have taken over our own evolution (whether we like it or not) and this process will only accelerate. We have learned our activities can have a profound impact on our planet, for now our only home. We have discovered so many things. Now is not the time to let our prosperity lull us into foolishness. Whether shocked, dismayed, or overjoyed; we must all continue in the quest for the truth, regardless of where it leads.