Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Dance of Truth and Fact

Is there a difference between something factual and something true? If so, what? How do you decide whether or not something is true?

Artwork by Cindy Hesse. Many thanks.


Derek said...

I would say that truth exists only in the moment of now. What is gone is no more, therefore *was* truth. What was, is no more. So really something factual is only now (this moment) in truth. So isn't fact the same as truth?

I remember reading somewhere something a spiritual teacher had said. It was something like, "the truth is experienced, but the truth when believed, is a lie".

So I guess this question reminds me of the question, "if a tree falls in a forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a noise?"

"I am" is a fact to me, but not to you. Yet your "I am", to you is a fact. In enlightenment according to the spiritual teachers we have the ability to transcend this me and you relativity and realise that all is one - both you and I disappear. Up until that point, we only have our belief in what the teachers tell us and for us it is non-factual, non-experienced. Not true, until it is.

Albran said...

"Not true, until it is." So true, however, it also always is the only thing that is true, and we have to declare it, to want it above all else, just like the declaration of independence had to be made for the American people to be free. We have to declare our freedom from the bondage of this world. And that is the least we want to do. But we have to, because it is what we are. We inevitably have to wake up and give everything away.

Albran said...

Is this world a fact, Molly? Is what perception reports factual? If so, then we would have innumerable opposing truths, for we all know that each one sees something different. If God is a fact, then this world is not factual in any regard, and does not exist. Truth would have to be what is unopposed. Truth can have no opposite and still be true. That can only apply to what we conceive of God. Yet it could not be a concept. It would have to be a reality, a totality of experience, that does not know of this world whatsoever.

Evita said...

I think also that it is a very personal issue, where as for one person a fact and the truth can mean the same, for another they are different and yet for another neither really exists.

I think on a physical realm perspective there are some factual items or truths, like if I jump off a building then it is true I fall. However as soon as one brings in the spiritual realm, and/or uses the power of the mind in this example then it can also very much be false.

So without going in circles - as I said earlier I think Derek and Albran really got to the point very well - it is a matter of personal perspective and experience in the moment of now.

How do I decide that something is the truth? - By listening to my inner being and my feelings. Our emotions always guide us to what serves us in truth and essence. However again, having said that what I feel as true for me will not necessarily be true for another.

Albran said...

"However as soon as one brings in the spiritual realm, and/or uses the power of the mind in this example then it can also very much be false."

I like that, Evita. When we confront our limited ideas with bigger, more inclusive ideas, the former loose their validity in our experience. And finally, using the idea of a single truth, reasonably we would have to deny even the idea that there is another person. There is only truth. And that has to be shown to us, because we cannot reason or think to this experience.

Phil said...

Truth is that which is, that's a fact. the issue is can we perceive truth? For example, the sky is not blue--a red sweater is not red---green plants are not green. Reality is not the same as actuality. Truth is actuality.

Derek said...

"Reality is not the same as actuality" - Thank you Philip, but how is this?

Actuality and reality seem the same - the only difference seems to be in the semantics. It is actual that the blue sky is not blue, the red sweater is not red etc. whether we perceive it or not.

Isn't that a reality and an actuality? Isn't it our perceptions that are not seeing the reality of it? With instruments and analysis, the true nature of color is seen and is therefore actual and true. So now we come back to the idea that the world is not really there, but for now we each have our own perception of it, and it is different for those of us who may be color-blind.. :-)

Hanna said...

This is something that I view differently at different points of my journey. In the beginning of my adult life I'd probably say it's the same. Now I feel it's the exact opposite! Isn't it amazing?

Now, to me, fact means something that I experience as physical. It is in other words a creation, an element of the dream I'm dreaming. And so - and there's a beautiful humor to that! - a fact - which we tend to associate with something solid, stable, measurable - is really but a divine soap bubble!

Truth however is that which is real - that which creates the illusory facts- that which you cannot measure, cannot document, cannot prove, cannot grasp. But you can feel it. You can know it - not intellectually but intuitively and/or as a direct experience in consciousness.

I am Truth. You are Truth. And we play with facts as if they were real! Wow!!

Jamilah said...

The only difference I can see is that some truths cannot be empirically proven. For instance, my greatest truth would be to say that God created the heavens and the earth. For me, this is very true. However, there is no verifiable evidence of God which does not, in some way, require a degree of faith.

Facts, on the other hand, are proven through our five senses and can be verified by more than one person. If I say it is raining outside, and it is, then everyone in my cty can step outside and experience the rain.

Truth is very hard to comprehend. I struggled with it greatly during my college years. Since then, I have reached a level of peace. I know what I believe. You are welcome to join me, or to go your own way.

Can I say it is a fact that we will all find out the real truth in the end?

Chris said...

Fact: I have a dog.
Truth: I love my dog.

While neither has more epistemological value than the other, at least in my opinion, the fact is observable. The truth is not necessarily so.

Pat said...

So, all facts are true but not all truths are facts.

Pottsie said...

A fact may change. Truth does not. A fact is transitory. Truth is permanent.

The sun is shining in Charlotte, NC right now. That is a fact. Tomorrow it may not be and it will no longer be a fact.

Truth is that reality which never changes. And nothing is real except Reality/Truth

A river is always the same, yet it is always changing.

(I realize that there is a point where the analogy of the river breaks down, but that is the reason that only the Ultimate Reality or Truth can be said to be permanent. No analogy is absolutely true......only Absolute Truth is Absolute. Only the Tao is the Tao. Nothing that can be spoken is Absolute Truth. That is the reason that the Tao says, 'He who knows does not speak; He who speaks does not know" And it is the reason that someone can come along and prove that what I've just said is wrong.......but that doesn't mean that there is not such a thing as Absolute Truth!)

Justin said...

If something is contingently true then it is factually true. Contingently true means that there is no reason for it being true it just is... like the fact that the earth goes around the sun. It just happens to be true right now. It could have been that there was no earth going around the sun. There is nothing essential that would cause it. The Pythagorean theorem is true but that is not due to some fact that happens to be and could have been otherwise. It is due to the essence of what is involved (non-euclidean geometry excluded). It is a result of the meaning of the terms involved - not just their definitions but more importantly - their meanings.

Facts are the specifics of time and space. That truth which is not fact is beyond time and space. Facts are observed and must be established through experience. Essential truths are understood by recognizing the meaning.

One of the key indicators of fundamentalism is that a fundamentalist confuses things which are essentially true with things that are factually true. For example, to a fundamentalist the existence of God is a question of fact. It is possible in their minds to conceive of a world in which there were no God but they know that this world is not like that for some reason - like intelligent design - that just happens to indicate that there happens to exist a God.

New Age secular fundamentalists are equally confused when they ascribe metaphysical experiences with, oh, let's say quantum physics. The first is truth that is essential, the latter is truth that is factual or contingent. The idea that "the vibes" are really "quantum waves" is just such a fundamentalism. At best it is an analogy. But when an analogy is taken as an identity then there is a problem.

The relationship of Art and Love are all essential. It is through a realization of Being that one experiences the essential nature of existence - its meaning. In a strange way the factual and essential become one in Being. Being is the - to use a loose phrase - essentializing of facticity. It is an experience of the meaning of the fact of fact. All ethics and aesthetics are rooted there.

How to live in the face of it all is the question. As science fiction is to science there needs to be something that expresses the real artistic possibilities for us - projects the future of our Being. There are dark horizons and bright ones. Which will occur is the question.

In my generation the great artists abdicated their political responsibilities and so we headed back into the darkness. Perhaps the next time around we might get it right.

ornamentalmind said...

"If something is contingently true then it is factually true. Contingently true means that there is no reason for it being true it just is... like the fact that the earth goes around the sun...." - Justin

Perhaps you are discussing Semantic Theory? Overall, it is my understanding that the term 'contingent' in almost every instance implies something being dependent upon something else.

Pottsie said...

That the sun WAS shining on 9/4/08 is a statement about a fact that WAS. It is no longer a fact. If you remember you told me in your prior post that I was ignoring the time element. YOU are ignoring the fact that Time is RELATIVE.

Facts change. As existence changes, which it is continually doing, facts change. The only thing that remains the same is existence. It is a paradox, Chris, ergo the adage that "The only thing that is constant is change"

Chris said...

I'm not sure why there seems to be difficulty in understanding a fixed time point. The fact does not change. The fact is not related to the time state.

Here is the fact: At time point x, y was the case.

It matters not what our current relative position to time point x is. It is still a fact that y was the case at time point x.

If your explanation of the malleability of facts held any water, the entire T-SQL programming language would be non-functional. It's purpose is to make extrapolations of data based on the formula listed above. The fact is not the individual observation itself, but rather, the recorded observation about a specific case in a specific time state.

Tell you what...when my T-SQL query fails to return the specific time point data set for any historical query, I'll give your perspective a second glance. Until then, considering that all of established science, which you rely upon to send your interesting, but non-scientific perspective emails, is still working, I'll stick with the accepted explanation of what a fact is.

Sandra said...

I always thought that facts change and truth was eternal...and that we are merely not intelligent enough, or lacks the knowledge, to know what truth is.

Justin said...

Here is the dictionary definition of contingent:


1. Liable to occur but not with certainty; possible: "All salaries are reckoned on contingent as well as on actual services" (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
2. Dependent on conditions or occurrences not yet established; conditional: arms sales contingent on the approval of Congress. See Synonyms at dependent.
3. Happening by chance or accident; fortuitous. See Synonyms at accidental.
4. Logic True only under certain conditions; not necessarily or universally true: a contingent proposition.


1. An event or condition that is likely but not inevitable.
2. A share or quota, as of troops, contributed to a general effort.
3. A representative group forming part of an assemblage.

The philosophical sense is most closely tied to: "Not necessarily or universally true". You can see it in physics. The laws of physics (Newton's for example) constrain what can be true but do not determine it unless "initial conditions" are posited. It is these initial conditions that make the world contingent even when physical law is conceived as being essential. (I personally do not believe that I think the laws themselves are also contingent) Predictions are always "dependent" upon some "fact" being true in addition to what can be derived. The reason for this "fact"? It just is.

Husserl calls this distinction a distinction of "fact" and "essence".

Ulysses said...

Fact: That person exists
Truth A: That person is beautiful says Bob
Truth B: That person is androgynous says Sue
Truth C: That person is ugly says Joe

Fact is, truth can change. Your truth may not be a universal truth.

If we take truth in the sense of an opposing lie then it may stand as truth, as the lie is untruth.

Pottsie said...

I'm told that in several billion years the sun will burn out and it will no longer shine. The facts will have changed at that point.

Time is relative. Only the Absolute in unchangeable.

Chris said...

Potts old boy, when the sun burns out, that will be a new fact. It will not change any of the timeline events up to that point, ergo, the facts will not have changed.

Ulysses said...

Potts, is what you are told "Fact" at all? Perhaps in several billion years the sun will not burn out and again you are attaching a time element to an existing fact. Fact "IS" that we exist regardless of our imminent demise. Truth is you are happy right now; your truth. Truth is I am sad right now; my truth. Truth is not fact.

Pottsie said...

When one is considering "Truth", one ALWAYS has to remember not to enter into the relative.......into the region of multiples or many. It is ALWAYS consistent with One.

Again.......what you are talking about is "relative". "Truth" is Absolute. The Absolute does not change because there is nothing to change into. "Relative", the opposite of "absolute", requires two things. "Time" is relative. Truth is absolute. The minute you add "time" to the discussion, you enter the "relative" and leave the "Absolute"......therefore you are leaving "Truth".

ornamentalmind said...

RE: Life of the Sun - http://janus.astro.umd.edu/astro/stars/SunsLife.html

ornamentalmind said...

All things have a beginning, middle and an ending. Time, being
relative is included.

Neil said...

Nothing may have a beginning other than a relative one. Some believe there is an eternal world we can engage in maths and the like. The sun may shine (something of a joke in the UK currently!) and it may be a beautiful day, yet such a day may bring the yobs out onto the street making us wish it was raining. It has been a dire summer across the UK, but our streets have been quieter than usual and the kids are now back in prison (oops! I mean school), making it possibly a beautiful summer except for my potatoes which got blight (rescued with Dithane 945 so I am no longer organic). I have begun to favour a realiablist epistemology as there is usually more to take account of than simplistic correspondence theories of truth can allow for. Beauty, elegance and the rest are often categorised by scientists as 'blow jobs from god' rather than connected with truth. My potatoes would have died had I remained faithful to my organic core. Much is the same with systems of logic - we need to give them up when they lead us to a moon of green cheese (which formal logic does because any false proposition implies all other propositions). It is time to listen to Mrs. Robinson who is crying because the sun is shining and find out why and give a damn. Logic is smodgik without an ontology of care.

Vamadevananda said...

I find your statement " Logic is smodgik without an ontology of care." beautiful. How dare you say that the beauty I see in it is not connected with truth !

Neil said...

I didn't dare Vam - the phrase arises in many laboratories along with many more profanities about beauty and elegance. One of my ex- colleagues used to run about in fake 'nose masturbation' (fuck knows) during his 'eureka' moments. Beauty and elegance are often considered a bit like your number coming up in the lottery, but also as feeble- minded excuses for not doing hard work and examining the abnormalities. http://www.sciencedaily.co /releases/2008/09/080904115132.htm has an image from an electron microscope and the new helium-ion version side by side. Beautiful. The 'pictures' are of gold atoms, by the way. I have no desire to rule out beauty, but one needs to be aware one may be swooned and used by it. You have great beauty Vam - though it is not by looking that I know this. Logic and consistency do not go hand in hand and beauty may be only skin deep, or an illusion. The beauty in the pictures of atoms is the beauty of probing so deep into the small and little to do the the Mona Lisa (never liked her myself). Beauty is not sacred, and the profane is always part of science, because part of the beauty of science is the acceptance of challenge and that all may not be as others say. I know you know what I mean old friend. There is something rather religious in science about separating illusion and temptation from the 'real thing'.

Sandy said...

I agree with Chris. But today, I am attending a Socretes discussion forum with this topic :: Why is human nature so balanced towards the negative and, why is reactive response totally effortless and proactive act practically impossible? (from Kabbalah). Where is truth and where is fact? I think truth is relative. We in this group have discussed over and over again relative vrs absolute truth. In my mind, there is no absolute except that which one chooses as such. In that way truth is always relative.

Edward said...

Very interesting discussion. Some ticklish points of view explored. If a simple layman may add a few innocent words to the fray, it seems that there is only one Absolute Truth and no one knows what it is. There are however many things which are true and many things that are fact and all these things are constantly being argued in courts of law exactly because they are all relative.

Neil said...

We still need some way of deciding between perverse subjectivity guided by interests and genuine attempts to reach out to truth. Romanticism was something of a disaster and remains so. Most of the work I have seen that suggests some kind of incommensurablity in scientific theories simply hasn't done enough hard work. However, we need something more accessible than words like incommensurable and science that is inevitably esoteric on specialisation.

Pat said...

That and, if 'there is only one absolute truth and no one knows what it is', then, if that statement is true, that phrase IS that absolute truth and, now, I know it, making it false. Whoops!

Charles said...

But surely, when both facts and truths are shown to be false, they both loose their status as "true"

Pat said...

How is a fact, as defined above as 'an observable' possibly be false? By observation, I assumed a rigourous, scientific observation.

Charles said...

Perhaps the best workable difference between fact and truth is that all facts have to be verifiable within their own terms of reference, whereas statements of truth are not necessarily within the realm of verifiability. Thus WW2 ended in 1945 is a fact that can be easily enough verified within terms of reference acceptable to "normal" parlance. God is Love may represent truth to many people and requires nothing to support it amongst those that believe it. In practice, however, both terms are often interchangeable and those that accept truth use such ideas as operational facts.
It does not take much imagination to discern the difference, however.

Neil said...

A gene that may influence the production of antibodies that neutralize HIV has been identified. This new information will likely spur a new approach for making an HIV vaccine that elicits neutralizing antibodies. Strong protective antibodies that result from HIV vaccine have been illusive for years and important because these antibodies hold great promise for controlling HIV infection in humans. HIV is a "retrovirus," which copies its RNA genetic material into DNA and incorporates it into the DNA of its host. It's 30 years since researchers studying a similar retrovirus in mice discovered a gene called Rfv3 that influenced the production of neutralizing antibodies that allowed the animals to recover. 20 years later they had narrowed the location of Rfv3 to a relatively small region on mouse chromosome 15, but that region contained more than 60 genes. Now we know Rfv3 is Apobec3, an innate immunity gene with antiretroviral activity. HIV uses one of its genes, Vif, to specifically disable human Apobec3 proteins and HIV-infected patients rarely make broadly neutralizing antibodies against this virus. This line of study raises the possibility that drugs or vaccines that interfere with Vif might allow humans to naturally make better neutralizing antibody responses against HIV.

Genetic experiments were conducted by mating mice with different Rfv3 and Apobec3 profiles. The researchers demonstrated that Apobec3, like Rfv3, contributes to the early control of retroviral infection in mice, and also influences specific retroviral antibody responses. In addition, they discovered that Rfv3 susceptible mouse strains that fail to make antibody responses have a natural defect in Apobec3. These results provide convincing evidence that Rfv3 and Apobec3 are the same gene.

There are people who somehow resist HIV infection despite years of frequent exposure to the virus. These individuals produce a particular type of antibody recognizing the virus. The work with mice should help us to know where to look and what reagents to develop to track down "Apobec3" in humans and work out how to use it.

We might occasionally ask ourselves how we try to get at truth in more complicated ways.

Journal reference: Santiago M.L, Montano, M., Benitez,R., Messer, R.J., Yonemoto, W., Chesebro, B., Hasenkrug, K.J., and Greene, WC. Apobec3 encodes Rfv3, a gene influencing neutralizing antibody control of retrovirus infection. Science, 1161121

Pat said...

If the statement above is true, then that statement must be an absolute truth and stand as the evidence (of which, below, you state there is none) to prove the statement false. When one speaks of absolute truth, one must be careful to avoid logical traps.

Vamadevananda said...

The true nature of the observer may itself be the absolute truth !

Neil said...

Indeed Vam - there are many papers on the observation states of observers (Ziedins was a classic) and all that non-event physics on event horizons having so much to do with what can be observed, with its strange notion of tensor equations that describe space-time everywhere (some mug called Einstein). The project of radical translation could allow us to understand each other without chronic patronisation and elitism, but still requires some kind of meta- language and remains problematic with those who think with prejudice alone. Ludwig and Snell have both shown that approximation is always present in our theory formulation and measurement choices, so I doubt we are looking for some chunk of bedrock on which to base reason. I note the sun rises everyday, making reality not a bad evidential choice, that I am tiny in vastness and may well not see or sense much that may become reality in a different future. The sun will rise again tomorrow. I am more certain of that than I am any philosophy or other edicts on the irrefutable!

Pat said...

The only good strawman arguments are those that point out that it was the Scarecrow in Oz, the one without a brain, that devised the cunning plan to rescue Dorothy.

Ulysses said...

Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction.

Albert Einstein

Pat said...

An absolute truth is something that can never be false.

Personally, I feel that "NOT(False)=True", is a pretty good example. I invite you to try to find against it.

Molly Brogan said...

Genius. From a non dual viewpoint, nothing is false. From your formula, this would leave truth in all. I love it.

Justin said...

To know the real truth it is as important to let it go as it is to grasp it. It is as important to be honest as it is to be accurate.

You can see how definition, which is an attempt to separate that which is associated with something from that which is not, can cause problems when applied to being. Definition is basically separating out that which is not from that which is in this particular case and this introduction of nothingness causes the distortion. Perhaps a better term would be "infinition". One need infine God not define him. Definition is distortion in this case. I know it sounds like a word game but it isn't. It underlies the entire conceptual framework of the modern world and more importantly all of the ethical and sometimes I think more damaging aesthetic distortions inherent in it. We can still make the distinction e.g. being and becoming etc but only AFTER the meaning of being is experienced. Frankly, the benefit of the definitions is not nearly as great as we are used to since there is no utility to be gained here. It is the transformative experience of meaning that is value not the definitive gaining of utility (Techne) that is key. We will gain no technology from religion or art - ever.

It is possible to forge the distinction between essence and existence but not between existence and itself. This does not mean that being is limited to being "just" a meaning. Rather the notion of meaning and being become one in the experience of being and we become aware that existence is indeed meaningful and of the meaning inherent in it. It is not just an idea in my head. It is the facticity of the world that is involved and that facticity is meaningful. The experience of it in ecstasy is the basis for the identification of being with both ethics and aesthetics and indeed I believe that as neurology evolves there will be an organic correlate found to bolster the experienced basis of their identity. (I just can't believe that so profound a transformation of consciousness will not have an organic observable correlate. It is a speculation right now but one I believe will be verified. One day we will capture a mystical experience on a functional MRI and we will also capture an aesthetic reaction to say a magnificent sunset and we will, I believe, see the degree to which the identification is mirrored in the organic correlate)

I believe that the notion of being as being separate from meaning comes about because of objectivity which is mistakenly apprehended as having metaphysical reality instead of essential reality only. This causes all of the confusion over body also - such as the abortion debate or the "hard problem" of consciousness etc.

I am sensitive to the possibility that this mode of "intellectualized" discourse may be itself distortive. That it may involve a kind of pretense of knowledge or a representing of the experience as a kind of knowing and I am also aware of the motivation of pride. To me conquest is not the object of intellect. The experience of the meaningfulness may REQUIRE artistic expression and art-less posts such as this then need go into the dustbin along with all philosophy that is not beautiful and I will apologize for it.

I realize in these threads, especially the posts by Molly Brogan, that there seems to be an attempt to leave behind the philosophical discourse and find artistic expression. To fly in a sense instead of being trapped frustrated on the ground all the time. Philosophy I think can always remain as a kind of rear-guard to confound the pure intellect in the Zen sense. Ultimately though, I believe that the experience is the height of real intellect. It is not, as its critics claim, a kind of la-la land inhabited by airheads and those that jump to conclusion. It really is the truth. It is as rigorous as mathematics and the use of philosophy is to confirm the art as true by making its meaning manifest.

The beatific generation was founded on essentially Buddhist metaphysics and allowed us to get through the cold war. It inspired the liberalism that kept us alive.

We seem to be in a kind of aesthetic collapse in our culture now that is wrecking it.

I wish I could offer a solution. My only instinct is that the answer will be found in community in a kind of celebration of each other - one forged after the honeymoon not before it. We must look to each other to find it. It will come around again and we can try again. Ultimately it is communal. I do not feel anxious about it as I know that attempting to hurry it along will not help. "Let it be" truly is good advice. It has been with us a long time. I don't think the "Republicans" will be able to stop it but unfortunately since we are in a kind of Jeopardy game and the stakes keep doubling we must continue to win. The technology being developed and the implications for the order of battle between light and dark are truly scary. It is not no-action that I advocate it is care and reality and thinking before we act. Now as never before we are in need of honest contemplation.

Also, I believe that the "lower chakras" will have to be part of it and that the suppression of them, the "Martha Stewart-ization" of aesthetics into a Holly-Hobbit overly pretty just won't work. While the feminization of our culture is in most ways necessary we cannot build without the masculine - the falseness of it will just result in further collapse.

What we need to do is find ways of living together with each other.

As for me I will survive by farming and nature until it comes back. It takes many hours with the soil to ground the effect of the internet. And there is the study of physics and mathematics which is always fascinating.

So as for me I do not just "attack the subject in a common yet inappropriate manor, attempting to think about, define and grasp conceptually that which is of an entirely different nature and thus can not be approached in this way of skepticism." I just think its meaningful and it is not "entirely" different in nature. I appreciate the distinction you are making but for me it is the same as the relation of meaning and knowledge and being. I understand the relationship of "questioning" or "skepticism" to nihilism and I try not to fall prey to it. Still, honest skepticism must be maintained for the genuine meaning to be expressed as it is not always by abandoning inquiry that one succeeds. Best advice to the skeptic is to remain that way and think it through to the enlightenment. Else they may fall prey to fundamentalism and the lying to oneself at its foundation. The last thing a religious skeptic should do is to abandon their skepticism and call that "faith". Better to think it through and become enlightened. That is the benefit of philosophy. Remember that for a fundamentalist the first step to God is to consider that he may not exist (or for a secular fundamentalist to consider that matter may not exist). Only by passing through atheism (or materialism) can they escape the clutch of believing that which they know to be false. We must SUPPORT their skepticism not deny it. If for no other reason than they dominate our culture (on both the secular and religious sides) I think it is important to make these distinctions. Give to Caesar what is his.

...but I could be wrong...

Neil said...

I think we get pointers on what we introspect and some kind of internal satisfaction from articulating in space and getting things to work beyond what we feel as 'behind the eyes'. A key thing for me is that I know even the eureka moments are not enough and also rather miraculous - even if we can repeat them.

Ruth said...

"The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is." - Winston Churchill To state the facts frankly is not to despair the future nor indict the past. The prudent heir takes careful inventory of his legacies and gives a faithful accounting to those whom he owes an obligation of trust. John F. Kennedy

Joy said...

I think truth is like faith or belief. Subjective. It needs no basis in fact.

Fact is knowledge acquired and proven with data from experience.

In other words: Fact is always reasonable and proveable.

Truth is not always reasonable or proveable but is nonetheless real.

Edward said...

I challenge anyone in this forum to name me one absolute truth that is not self contained within the phrase itself.

ornamentalmind said...

Is that not the very nature of an absolute truth? One that is self contained within itself?...needing no contingencies? Of course, when it comes to the absolute itself, for sure its nature denies debate.

Pat said...

How about "Energy exists"? I defy anyone to prove that statement false.

Charles said...

And how can you determine a statement's falsity without reference to subjective parameters? This does not even get past Russell's Teapot!

Pat said...

Find something that exists that is made of something OTHER than energy and I'll be happy to relent. Alternatively, find something made of energy that does NOT exist and I'll be happy to relent. Those are the only VALID proofs against my statement, the rest is chicanery at best.

If you'd prefer to take on "all hydrogen atoms require a proton", you might find it easier, although I doubt it.

Batter said...

Well, if you want to play the semantics game, so might say there is. Facts, generally are things that have been proven, whereas truth is more vague. Some might find truth from evidence within themselves, from insight or instinct, personal experience, etc.

Lenny said...

No bundle of thought is "true" or concrete.

Bundles of thought can just be accurate or in-accurate, and can become more and more accurate, but never "true."

Truth is something more creative, and like the fellow above said, is more related to direct personal experience. When the walls and ego is broken down and so much of what is "not true" is stripped away, we are left with very little, and it seems to come to a point. Is it "true?" Who knows. But when the rest is seen as "not real" there isn't much to go with. No thought is really concrete, and as thoughts become more accurate, understanding becomes more common, and life can be experienced directly, before thought, and everything seems so alive, and life seems so innocent, and mystical. And through direct experience and conscious connection with moment, one starts to experience "no-self," and not being a separate happening, beyond mind made mental construct. It would seem to be deeper, and something new manifesting in the mammal. Is it "true?" Who knows. But based upon science and philosophy, and true understanding, it is accurate, and seems much more realistic than what is "common." And science and philosophy supports more and more the connection that exists between all events and happenings, and the oneness of life. Progressive process...

Pat said...

I had thought about 'I am' as an example of an absolute truth but I find it to be only a relative truth in that it is only self-evident and not evident to others with respect to oneself. That is, it is patently obvious to me that 'I am' but you could be a figment of my solipsistic imagination and I a figment in yours.

I think the strings (I'm a proponent of string theory, BTW) that comprise energy are joined together in the Calabi-Yau space. That's how quantum entanglement 'appears' to have FTL effects, in reality, the seemingly discrete quanta are 4-dimensional sections of one larger 10-dimensional object of stringy energy. In certain scopes, that energy (the sum of the 4-dimensional aspects, as we have no access to the other 6 dimensions) can appear chaotic, but that is simply because one needs to know the exact quantum state of the universe in order to have a chance at extrapolating the order involved. And we poor humans are a long way away from ever having the capability to know the exact quantum state of the universe. In order to accurately see the implicit order perfectly, one would need to know the full quantum state of the entire 10-dimensional object. And there is no way that any subset of the 10-dimensional object, especially one as relatively small as a human, could have the capacity to retain awareness of an object that exceeds it dimensionally. Thus, only the single 10-dimensional object itself could ever have the potential for omniscience.

Bhakta said...

Truth is something that is very personal and we already know that subjective worlds are so diffrent. Thats why its hard to determine what is "real." I suggest reading ther Gita for finding out what is real in the universe.

Hicham said...

Fact is someting related to the matter, i.e. scientific facts, and this can be changed from time to time in case something new appear to defeat the old one.

Truth is something related to the spritual and moral side of our life, i.e. dare to tell the truth about something.

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Count Sneaky said...

Beautiful artwork here, but we are dealing with semantics only.There is only a false dichotomy here. Factual can be
laid out in the sun for all to view. Truth belongs to all systems of beliefs and can not be exposed to the sun without running the risk of being evaporated by its rays. Facts we need. Truths are not we have enough of them to seed another universe. We need to be a light to ourselves, fully conscious and under no thrall to any of the millions of truths. The Best. Count Sneaky