What is truth? The Part proved objectively or the Whole experienced subjectively?

If you have never seen an apple, then you won’t be able to tell if I am holding an apple in my hand or not. You will have to rely on what I say. You will also have to decide whether or not I am worth trusting on this matter of apples.

In order to actually know the truth, you will have to go learn the nature of an apple from multiple other sources which have nothing to do with me. Only then will you be able to determine these two things:

  • That apples exist.
  • That I do indeed have an apple.

The apple in this example represents the whole — a complete understanding of all there is. We don’t have an understanding of it. All we have is a kind of projection that says there must exist some kind of completely understandable reality. The belief that reality can be understood completely.

We also have claims about this projection. People who say they know the whole and methods which are presented as being the solution. Unfortunately, these are all subjective. Like my claim about the apple, you can’t verify them because you lack a frame of reference. You have to take these people’s word for it. Maybe you will do so. Or maybe you will not and you will test their subjective methods and come to some conclusions.

But you will not have any way to compare your conclusions with theirs, or to even know if what you experienced was the ultimate truth — the whole. Maybe it’s not the whole. Maybe it’s just a larger part of the whole than you previously knew. Maybe it is nothing more than things happening in the prison of your own subjectivity.

Subjective knowledge of the whole therefore, is a free-for-all freestyle wrestling match. Anyone can make any claim and it will all boil down to whether or not people trust them.

The best we can do is to try and understand the part objectively. What we find out will not be the absolute truth because perhaps there is no such thing. But it will be a part of the whole truth and that’s not so bad.

So in a conflict where subjective understanding of a whole (for which we have no frame of reference) battles against objective understanding of a part, it will be smart to choose the latter. We can always make time for both however. Who said that was not an option?

#truth, #understanding, #objectivity, #subjectivity