Relativity Vs "Truth"

Relativity Vs "Truth"

by Justin Zak

What is the "ultimate truth"? Is there an "ultimate truth"? This paper I will give my opinions on the matter and hope to convince you to figure things out for yourself.

Philosophy is often trying to find the "ultimate truth." However, most people rely too heavily on words. Words cannot find "ultimate truth" because words try to describe things in conceivable ways so that they can be communicated ways so that can be communicated. Unfortunately, the "ultimate truth" can neither be physically conceived nor described. This makes most people's searches a waste of time because they get caught up on figuring out the meanings of the words used to describe it. Therefore, any "truths" must be found by thought, and, if communicated to others, they are not "truths" to the others until they are discovered by themselves. Communicating the "truths" to others only helps others to look in the right direction for these "truths."

Some people get very confused by words. They will say that the senses are unreliable because to two people looking at the same thing from the same perspective something may look green and to the other it looks blue. These are merely labels. They are seeing the same thing but call it something different. Another example: one person may see something that they call a table, the other person calls it a chair but both see a slab of wood with four long posts coming out of the bottom. Who's right? Both. They both see the same thing but have a different word for it.

Let's look at something more definite such as numbers and math. I have , and someone gives me . I now have . This is a definite fact, a "truth". No circumstance can make this false. Now let's use words. I have two squares and someone gives me two squares. Now I have four squares. In other words, two plus two is four. Someone can say, "No, that's not true. Three plus three is four." They however are thinking that three squares is: . Are they "wrong" just because they used different words? How about Spanish numbers? Dos plus dos is cuatro. Different words but referring to the same images and thoughts. So in philosophy you must forget the words and rely only on thoughts.

Let's now look at religion as "truths." In this part I will assume that there is a God and that God gave the people the words to write in the original bible, or at least that everything in the original bible was a "universal truth." Does that mean that everything that everyone gets from the bible is "true"? Not necessarily. This is a problem related to words. Translations of translations of translations have distorted the original meanings in favor of the translator. Not to mention that copying in general can distort meaning. One misspelled word can change the meaning completely. To show this, think of a movie on a video tape. When a tape is copied, it adds in slight changes or distortions, when a copy is copied more distortion is added, and so on. Each copy gets more fuzzy and distorted, less "true" to the original. Eventually, the picture is so faded that you can't make out anything, the "meaning" is lost.

Has the bible lost its "meaning" in this way? Well let's also look at the fact that religion often contradicts itself. Killing in most all religions is "wrong" no matter what the circumstances, so what are the "holy wars" all about? Also, in the bible, God kills entire cities. Is killing okay or not? Any "truth" that contradicts itself is not a "truth." This is only one example of how of how religion for the most part is not a "truth," and religion is only one example of some "truth" that is actually not a "truth."

When thinking of "truths," usually ethics is the subject. What is "right" or "wrong"? In this area, however, there is much evidence that there are no "truths." Let's say that you were stranded on Mars with 100 people, and the rescue ship would not be there for five days. However, you only have enough oxygen for one day with 100 people. Would it be "wrong" to kill enough people so that some could survive for the five days, or would it be "wrong" to not kill and let everyone die when the oxygen runs out? Also, what is you didn't have anything to eat? Would cannibalism be "wrong" in this circumstance? Are ethics relative to circumstance?

Society requires that there be laws, but laws may only apply to society's circumstances, and most laws even admit that there are circumstance where they don't apply. For example, in self-defense it is okay to kill. To find any "universal truth," if there is such a thing, one must forget the rules and brainwashing of society.

Science is a helpful tool in understanding how relative most things are. Things like relativity do this best, but are very hard to understand, so let's use motion. If you stand on the Earth and don't move in relation to the Earth, are you completely still? No, the Earth is moving around the Sun. Okay, now let's also make the Earth still in relation to the Sun. Are you still now? No! The sun moves around the center of the galaxy. Now, if you stop the Sun and make it stay in the same place in the galaxy also, are you still now? No! The galaxy is moving, and so on. So what is stillness or motion? It's relative!

Most things depend on circumstance or perspective. As science develops we find less and less things that are constant. The same applies to philosophy. Less and less "truths" are unproved.

Now let's look at the overall picture. If so many "truths" contradict themselves or rely on circumstance, is there really any "universal truth," or is everything relative except for the "truth" that everything is relative? The only way to find out is to doubt everything and except everything unprovable as a possibility.

What do you think of this paper? Email me.


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