Truth or Consequences
“I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is.” Albert Camus
I’ve been wondering about the incalculable distance between truth and that which we wish to believe.
One idea is about truth telling.
the cell staff was exploring this topic the other day when it became evident that we all have very different ideas about the value and limits of honesty.
We all agree that honesty is the best policy. But the definition of honesty itself was called into question. Can honesty be measured by degrees? Is truth a relative value?
We wonder, do you deliver a truth to others in the way you’d like to hear it, or in the way you believe they’d like to hear it? When the truth can be hurtful, do you deliver it by softening the blow with a half-truth or a lie of omission? Is it kinder or better, or even okay to tell a lie of omission to save someone’s feelings or to deliver a truth that might hurt, yet actually benefit the other? Maybe every situation is so unique that it requires a rabbinical council to determine the answer!
Another idea is about absolute Truth (with a capital ‘T’). The discovery that one is attached to ideas, which may or may not have anything to with reality, can throw us off balance. To explore this territory is not for everyone! It means leaving your safety zone and entering an area of deep instability where everything is questionable. Like Alice through the Looking Glass we may try to find objectivity, but we see through a lens of relativity, which invariably distorts our perception. It might be fun to think about but it can leave the inquisitor in a state of existential crisis. I think Camus and Beckett lived there.
Still, honestly, when it comes to the question of absolute truth, though I have to agree with Albert (the Darth Vader of philosophy) I prefer Sam’s brighter outlook. He, at least, had a sense of humor.
Of course, these are mind games that cannot be solved in a short blog or by a quorum of scholars over a millennium. But we love the discussion and welcome your comments. Your participation is our reason for being - our reason for being a salon.