Truth is not the same as reality as postulated by the ancient Greeks. Marcus Aurelius was wrong in saying: “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective not the truth.”
Friedrich Nietzsche also reiterated: “There are no facts, only interpretations.”
As regards Nietzsche, whom I have great respect and admiration for; I have noticed that in his writings, he will oppose every writer and philosopher including himself. From all indication he is a nihilist. And indeed, maybe not so rightly, Leo Tolstoy described him as “stupid and abnormal” but to some of us he is still a brilliant poet and philosopher. We all know what the excesses of knowledge leads to: in much knowledge is much sorrow, in much wisdom is much grief.
Going back to our subject matter, we must be careful with this “disordered” kind of reasoning. If everything is an opinion, it then seeks to say that the entire universe exists only because we perceive it; therefore it is an extension of the self (Ego) and its opinions. This leads us to Solipsism but that is the greatest illusion. I think we are moving towards a psychological situation when the ego is forcing its way into the subconscious trying to make everything its own, so to speak. Yet the ego itself is nothing but a poor borrower of mental energy. Nothing that exists in the go belongs to the ego.
Those animals, which are equipped with the relevant senses, also perceive the same things we humans perceive. The sun is not only perceived by me but by everyone who has eyes. Water does not only quench my thirst but also everyone’s thirst. Therefore water is a kind of liquid for quenching thirst. The peculiar characteristics of the sun and uses of water are not only real to me but also universally real to everyone.
Different things, people and entities have different realities. So if truth is misconstrued to be reality. The question then, is whose reality? The reality of the slave or that of the slave master, the reality of the boss or that of the servant, the reality of the society or that of the accused standing trial, the reality of the east or that of the west? So really, whose reality? Many confuse reality with truth. Truth, in a universal sense, is objective and independent and seems to radiate from a central point whereas reality is mostly subjective. Two or more people can experience different realities but may still be in the domain of same truth.
In my definition, truth simply is a “convergence of realities.” In other words truth is not something that is fixed but rather something that extends within the framework of core realities. The fact that my morning comes earlier and I see the sun before someone living in Philippines doesn’t mean the sun I saw was different from the one he saw. It’s the same thing seen at different times. Minor differences do not negate a thing’s objectivity.
I have a big problem, in this age of reason, with the dictatorship which scientific knowledge is trying to establish over the human mind. Suppose that we didn’t know that something exists. Then science helps us to discover such and such as existing. Immediately theories are put forward as if the thing’s existence begun when the discovery was made. Let us take vitamin c for instance. The first man who ate an orange didn’t know it contains vitamin c. He saw the thing, it looked good, he tasted it, it tasted nice, and he ate it. And only millions of years later before science discovered exactly what orange does in the body.
Should we be waiting for the evidence from science before eating oranges, we would have denied ourselves of the enjoyment of oranges for millions of years. This same line of thinking is what leads atheists to say that there is no evidence for the existence of an objective entity called God so he does not exist. It’s like saying we do not know what nutrients can be found in an orange, therefore we will not eat an orange until further research is done to ascertain that it gives vitamin c. It follows logically that until the discovery of vitamin c in oranges, vitamin didn’t exist in oranges. This is exactly what scientific research is trying do.
In this regard, even the primitive man, who ate the thing because it appealed to his sense of taste, was wiser as compared to us. Excess of knowledge and wisdom pushes us towards nothing but foolishness. We know much about other planets, we know the components of gases on them, we have even built robots to explore extraterrestrial life, also trained chimps to talk using sign language and run errands, yet we have failed utterly – all of humanity – at simply raising young ones of our own kind into responsible and virtuous adults.