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The Truth is Out There - Where? - There on the stair, right There, a Little Truth with clogs on

If you were asked to write down a number of obvious truths, what would they be?
People responding to that very question often come up with statements including the following:
  1. 2+2=4
  2. The speed of light is constant.
  3. People exist.
  4. Nothing is certain.
  5. (Manchester United) is the greatest football team in the world.
  6. God is love.
  7. Love is painful and difficult.
.....and so on. Statements that, #5 notwithstanding, we are all likely to agree with on the whole. But wait a minute - obvious truths? If that's the case, then people throughout time would surely have written the same things. But if you go back four hundred years then you might well have got:
  1. God is a Catholic.
  2. Witches should be burnt.
  3. The earth is flat.
  4. All these things are obvious and anything else is heresy.
- in Europe at least. Go back to pre-Socratic Ancient Greece and you might have got:
  1. II + II = IV
  2. Nothing is certain.
  3. Buggering little boys is the best fun in the (spherical) world.
Oh, wasn't Greek culture wonderful. Of course this is all Western thought anyway. In the East I suspect - though I have no conventional evidence - that a statement about the beauty of nature and the spirit would have been in evidence, and possibly a `truth' in the form of a simile, metaphor or even a haiku. In the West we seem to believe that truth or fact is confined to propositional statements. Why?
But perhaps you are sick of me waffling on like a college lecturer and are wondering what my point is, and what about it. Well, what makes you think I have one? Is the truth confined to a rigid essay strucure, or to journalese? Have we trained ourselves to find any other structure uninformative or unreadable? Why am I asking so many questions?

Well, that is partly my point. Whenever we discuss the nature of truth we always seem to ask a lot of questions and to answer precious few. I am, as you have probably worked out by the web-page, a Discordian, and I am also a relativist (not all of the former are also the latter, though it helps - in my opinion). Our most basic assumptions are precisely that - assumptions, and they may be wrong. A truth is something that is true, and as we have no way of knowing which of our assumptions are true, the truth is intangible. Everything is relative to a partucular set of assumptions, or a Belief System, if you will.

Feel free to zoom in on a possible weakness here. Is `Everything is relative' itself relative, or is it absolute?
Of course it is relative! Everything might not be relative; there may well be an absolute, solid, truthful reality with which some or all of us are in direct contact. I don't know. And nor does anyone else. We pick a Belief System we are happy with, that's all.
Why was I so weak to ask and answer such Aristotelean questions? I really don't want to fall into the trap of thinking that we can map out the world using conventional reason (i.e. Greek thought which has taken over this part of the world and there is plenty of it about anyway) and language (ditto). Neither gives truth, they are just two of many means of exploration.

I am not offering propositions for criticism, I am shaping some thoughts into a frisbee and skimming them gently towards you. Your response is up to you. Wisdom comes in many forms, whether from surfing the Net, reading Chinese poetry, talking to a mad person at a bus stop, or dancing a Scottish jig wearing nothing but a sporran with half a pint of whisky inside you.

As a Discordian I try not to be dogmatic, I try to keep an open mind and I have a damn good time and swallow all sorts of things that aren't on your average respectable menu. That doesn't mean that I believe them, rather that I like to see how things taste, whether it's LSD or Islam or conventional science or a joke. Here at the Tropist Monks of Byzantium (also known as the Tropical Monks of Basingstoke according to the Cystitis Scriptures) we are all, I believe, explorers of one kind or another, though as our cabal contains one of the most soporific cats in the world it is hard to be sure. We also tend to drink a lot and do things with faintly illegal stuff, but again that isn't universal.

That's it really. Think. Reason. Then stop reasoning and try something else. Explore. Laugh. And if you think that we are up our own arses, and you mean it as an insult, then I can only pity you; for it is an obvious truth that it is loads of fun to be up an arse. You just weren't rhythmic enough.

Please respond, in any form whatsoever on any subject whatsoever. Besos.

Jehanine


To read a rambling commentary on this by the Polyfather, click your heels together five times and say 'Kippers for breakfast? Is it St. Swithin's Day already, Aunt Helga?'