I try to be serious with what I write and publish on this blog. My fuzzy goal is to write to help people, regardless of who they are, to live well. Be it through greater purpose, meaning, safety, love, or whatever else comprises a well-lived life, I am there searching for answers, for you and for me.
But this is a big task and when you look around at everything that people have written on blogs, in books, etched on the walls of ancient caves, on Facebook… you cannot help but wonder: who is right?
Who is speaking the truth? Whose ideas should I contend with so that I can learn to live better?
Two weeks ago, I published an article about disengaging from politics. It was an opinion piece, and depending on who you ask, they might say it was true, somewhat true, or false. Indeed, people from all three camps responded to me.
The problem is, the internet and the physical libraries around the world are full of texts just like the one I wrote.
Almost any sentence can simultaneously be deemed as completely true, somewhat true, or completely false, even if it was something as seemingly factual as “when you turn on a microwave with something metallic inside, it will induce a spark.”
Apparently if you put a circular, flat piece of aluminium foil in the microwave and turn it on, you might not get a spark because there are fewer edges for ions to pile-up that might then “rip an electron off a molecule in the air,” inducing a spark.
Your mileage may vary.
The imprecision of words contributes to fuzzy logic. Since words are our primary mode of communication, this means that a lot of what we say can lead to fuzzy logic.
Even objective truths — facts — can be untrue when words are used to describe them.
Consider a cup. A cup is a physical object that holds water. But if there was a small hole at the bottom of the cup, is it factually still a cup?
Now what if the hole was so large the cup now resembled a tube with a handle? Would you still consider it a cup?
What is true to you may not be true to me.
The point here is that you need to ask yourself what you consider true or false. And you can only make that distinction for yourself. Nobody can make it for you, and neither can you for anyone else.
There are, of course, hard facts, like if you pushed a sharp knife into a piece of meat, you will create an incision. But most of the things that we bother to contend with on a day to day basis, the things that people say, are not hard facts.
I researched for many hours the concept of “truth” for this article and I eventually came full circle to arrive at the answer that gets to the heart of this important question: how can we separate false ideas from the true ones?
The answer, I think, is this: you must decide for yourself whether to dismiss, test, or accept these ideas one by one.