Freedom quest of Zork (the) Hun

The cost of free is freedom

Truth can be absolute

2016-07-24 absolute-truth-2

Many years ago I had, with a friend, an intense debate of which I wrote two posts (the nature of truth part #1 and part #2).
I would encourage you to read both, but here is a quick summary:

My friend found my statement “Truth is in the mind of the beholder” offensive. Being an Ayn Rand objectivist, he insisted that truth is absolute, something either is, or is not true.
In my two posts I tried to argue that in an infinitely complex world and from our very limited perspective, we cannot make any statement that is absolutely true.
In part two, I made a promise to talk about absolute truth. I kept postponing it because I wanted to address the subject in an inoffensive manner. My friend is a staunch atheist and he may not like the implications of my final point.

Let me blurt it out anyway: There is absolute truth and its name is God.
Anything that we posit to be absolutely true IS absolutely true. God is God. The invisible pink unicorn and the flying spaghetti monster (may you be forever touched by his noodly appendages) are both absolute truth.
The fact that makes them absolutely true is that they have absolutely nothing to do with reality.

Absolute truth must be proclaimed, posited, asserted, POSTULATED into existence.
The definition of Krishna above is a perfect example. How do I know that Krishna is absolute truth in all circumstances? I know it because the swami said so and I chose to believe him. He is even better than Jesus who, as we know, is only “the way, the truth and the life.”
Cynics may ask what does it even mean for a person to be “the absolute truth in all circumstances,” but those who accept the truth will know better. Absolute truth can only be accepted, not examined.

Truth can only be absolute when it is independent from the real world, when it cannot be measured against it, when it exists only in the mind of the beholder. The truth of faith is absolute because it does not depend on independent verification. Beliefs in the coming of the Caliphate or a communist utopia are absolute. You cannot disprove them.

Compared to the constrained truths of the real world, proclaimed truth is simple. The constrained truths of reality are measured against its infinite complexity and tampered by our limited abilities to make observations about it. Proclaimed truth cannot be clear or complicated. The less it has to do with reality, the easier it is to accept it as absolutely true.

Absolute truth is dangerous because it isn’t really absolute. Since the criteria of it being absolute is that it has to be a posited, it is dependent on the minds of those who agree on its nature of being absolute and true. For every religion (and I include communism and environmentalism among them), the truth of their credo is absolute as are the underlying assumptions. That is why it is impossible to reason with them. You can only argue with reality constrained truth.
Constrained truth can be argued about as we can examine its correspondence to reality. We can set criteria to test it against. Absolute truth cannot be tested as its truthfulness depends on nothing more than its definition. It is not possible to argue the absolute truth of Krishna’s definition.
Absolute truth therefore is fundamentally political. Absolute truth must rely on consensus and/or force.

The ultimate test of the value of any statement is its utility. Does it help us to understand or to better operate in the real world? Constrained truth does that; absolute truth makes understanding the world more difficult.
Accepting the fact that truth is constrained does not diminish its value.

God is not alone. Mathematics is absolute truth. Logic is absolute truth. Any formalized and closed system of ideas is absolutely true. Any self-referenced system is absolutely true. Declarations and statements in a computer language are absolutely true which point leads us to the only criteria to evaluate such systems: referential integrity.

Theoretical physicists have great opportunities in finance. Better than theoretical mathematicians because they deal with the real world, not with abstractions. Mathematics, especially at higher levels, is pure abstraction. Abstractions can be absolutely true, but in most cases they have no relevance to the real world. Mathematics is a wonderful world of truth but it is geometry, physics and statistics that helps us truly understand the real world. Is π true? Absolutely? Does it have to be?

Absolute truth can only exist in closed systems. These systems can be very useful and important in our quest for knowledge as long as we understand that the knowledge gained isn’t readily transferable to reality. A closed system is only as good as its designer and its designing principles.

The world is what it is. Our knowledge and understanding of it will always be constrained. Accepting this fact is the only thing that can bring us better understanding and more truthful statements.
Demanding absolutes is demanding faith.

2016-07-24 flying_spaghetti_monster_1920x1200


3 responses to “Truth can be absolute

  1. Valentin Berceanu July 24, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    I’m not gonna follow you one this leap, Zork. You’re stretching the limits of words and of epistemology and it reeks of sophistry. I wonder, having read you enough thus far, what it really is that you’re trying to get across, but I don’t think you’re doing yourself any service by coming up with such an antagonistical presentation especially when the main point of discontention between rational people and those ascribed the sjw label is the debate between the absolute or relative character of “truth”. I can appreciate shock value in delivering a message, but as you can tell from my comment, the message didn’t really get through.


    • zorkthehun July 24, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      You may want to read the first two posts I linked to in the beginning.
      The problem seems to be the difficulty understanding (or me explaining) the difference between relativism and accepting our limitations.
      You may also want to consider the arguments of my all-time favorite Libertarian book, Thomas Sowell’s Conflict of visions. He differentiates in it between the left and the right by calling their ‘vision’ of the world unconstrained and constrained, respectively. When I was writing this post, I realized that these expressions also make the difference between our perceptions of truth.
      It is a very important to me to know and to live with the fact that our existence is constrained. Reality imposes limits on us.
      I understand and sympathize with your point about moral relativism, and I think it should be addressed.
      I NEVER said that truth is relative in any way, but I strongly advocate for the humility of understanding that it is constrained. It is constrained (as I said) by the infinite complexity of the world and our limited understanding of its working. This is not relativism, but an acknowledgement of our limitations.
      ‘Truth’ to me is the best answer to a question based on our best understanding arrived to with our best effort and outmost honesty.
      I should also expand on the political aspect, to show the dangers of truth by consensus which is the foundation of the SJW BS.


  2. Andras Karacsony July 25, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Zork, fighting against absolutes is self-defeating. Is “Demanding absolutes is demanding faith” absolute or you are just guessing. Either way you are in contradiction. Absolutely.


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