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yoda pancakes

Luke, you will find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.

The above line of dialogue is from the scene in Return of the Jedi when Luke confronts the spirit of Obi-Wan after learning that his former mentor lied about the fate of his father. Obi-Wan has clearly been caught being dishonest, but rather than apologize to Luke he offers up his rationale for the deceit, followed by the line, “What I told you is true, from a certain point of view.”

While his statement is used as a justification for telling falsehoods, Obi-Wan is right. The concepts and realities that we accept as “true” are based on our personal experiences. No two persons’ ideas of truth are exactly identical; they may be similar in many ways, but upon closer inspection there are always differences, even if they are minute. Everybody sees the world through his or her eyes only.

A religious person sees truth in a higher power. A revolutionary sees truth in his cause. A protester sees truth in his convictions. A conspiracy theorist sees truth in the belief that the world is full of dark men committing secret deeds. All of them are adamant that their path is the correct one, but to each of those systems of belief there is an opposite; an mirroring force that finds truth antithetical to the notions above. An atheist finds truth in logic and reasoning. A patriot finds truth in his country. A supporter has his own convictions. Their vision of truth is also bound by their perceptions.

Is there such thing as a universal truth?

I believe that through the use of the sciences we will come as close as we can ever get to answering that question, but even the answers science provides are malleable, shaped or discarded by further studies. When we think we know how the universe works, new evidence comes along that changes or expands our view of it. Remember: up until a few years ago, YOU believed that Pluto was a planet.

So what does this all mean? Is the search for truth a futile quest?

My answer is: Yes. It’s a hopeless task. You will never find an absolute truth. The way is murky, and the answers get murkier as you plunge deeper forward. Here there be monsters.

Does this mean you should give up the search for truth?

No. Absolutely not! One should seek the truth until they take their final breath. Search for it everywhere; leave no stone unturned. Do not become mired in your own trappings of certainty; keep a open mind and you might just find a hint of the truth waiting for someone to discover it.

Here is a bit of truth: YHOP loves to hear from you! Send questions, comments and suggestions to jamesh@coffeewithkenobi.com.

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8 Comments

  1. Melinda
    July 19, 2014 at 09:05 Reply

    I still believe Pluto is a planet.

    Which begs the question (at least from my point of view 😉 ): Was it a planet before it was discovered floating out there in our galaxy? Hmm…

    Maybe the only real truth is “… all (men) are created equal, that they are endowed … with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…”

    Of course, some might find issue with this truth. (Not to mention the simple fact that I include WOMEN in this as well; My truth. 🙂 )

  2. Melinda
    July 19, 2014 at 09:18 Reply

    Great entry, James!!! 🙂

    The older I get, the more I realize that our truths are based SOLELY on our points of view. And those points of view often change as we grow and learn. 🙂

    Even though spurred by my desire to be helpful (and sometimes falling short), I will say (especially to one of my daughters): “You SHOULD do *whatever*.” What I really MEAN is: “If it was ME, I WOULD …” or “In MY OPINION, I think it would serve you best to …” All reflect my own truths — for that is on what one’s suggestions/opinions are based when you come right down to the basics. My well-intentioned missives are just my way of nudging my girls in the direction I think is best suited for them to take — much like Obi-Wan’s explanation of what happened to Luke’s father (in ANH), and then his subsequent explanation (in ROTJ). I definitely can see from where Obi-Wan was coming. Was he wrong in his approach? Hard to say for certain. I have not walked in his shoes — watching the Sith annihilate everything and everyone I held dear. Luke was the Jedi’s last hope so I would imagine Obi-Wan and Yoda knew how carefully they had to tread.

    more…

  3. Melinda
    July 19, 2014 at 09:28 Reply

    What is truth? The only way I can answer that query is to say — I know what MY truth is.

    I will add — STRONGLY — that I am VERY INTERESTED in what your truth is, what Person B’s truth is, what Person C’s truth is, etc. There are more than 7 BILLION people living on our planet. That means there are more than 7 BILLION truths out there. I have a lot of catching up to do! 😉

    … I enjoyed this immensely, James! 🙂 And for the record — I agree with you 100%. Keeping an open mind is the KEY to reaching truth. Maybe not universal truth, but truth as one sees it from one’s corner of this very populated planet on which we all live!

    MTFBWY 🙂

  4. Becca Benjamin
    July 19, 2014 at 15:37 Reply

    “Yes. It’s a hopeless task. You will never find an absolute truth.”

    Dude, you just busted my Happy Place bubble lol! Seriously, I agree with you on this. No two people think alike, at least, not on all things.

    Great entry, James 🙂
    PS: Only Sith deal in “absolutes.” 😉

  5. Jay Krebs
    July 19, 2014 at 22:02 Reply

    Pluto will always be a planet in my heart! 😉

    What is truth? Is there a such thing? Is truth the same as reality?

    I think for some things, we all have our own realities, and for us, that makes it “true.”

    For example, I just turned 44 years old this past week. Truth? Yes. It can be proven by the fact that I’ve got a birth certificate to prove it, and that my mom can attest to the fact.

    Am I old??

    Truth?

    NO!!

    For me, I am proud to be who I am. I have dealt with some major medical stuff along the way, and enetring my 40’s was nothing short of a blessing. I feel like in some ways, I’ve just started to live! Now, I know some people who dread each passing birthday and hate the fact that there’s one more candle on the cake. Are they old? To themselves, yes. But, that’s THEIR reality, not mine. If that’s what they choose to believe, then that’s their truth. Sad, if you ask me, but it’s not something I can help. Will I feel “old” when I’m 50? Doubt it. 60? Probably not….my mom is 84 and still does her Richard Simmons exercise videos every day. Spry as can be. If someone told her she was old she’d laugh. That’s her reality. Her truth. That’s the kind of truth I want, too!!

    Of course, all of this is from a “certain point of view!” 😉

  6. Jeff M
    July 20, 2014 at 22:11 Reply

    2 things:

    1.Pluto IS and will ALWAYS be a planet in MY Solar System.

    2. Great blog, James! I still think Obi Wan was a punk for that cop-out response, and I wish Luke would’ve Force-punched him right in his kaiburr crystals. While everyone’s truth might be different, some things ARE true, and Vader didn’t kill Anakin, plain and simple. Obi could’ve just said “Yeah, sorry, it was for your own good at the time.” and gone about is Force-ghost business, but noooooo, a Jedi is never wrong, just like a wizard is never late. Where was I going with this before I went down a Hobbit hole? Oh yeah, now I’m gonna be up all night thinking about the difference between “truth” and “what is true”….and now, so are you.

    You’re welcome.

    PS – I’m trademarking “kaiburr crystals” as a euphemism, so you’ve all been warned.

    1. Aaron Harris
      July 21, 2014 at 18:58 Reply

      I’m laughing so hard right now Jeff! I’m gonna have to use kaiburr crystals that way from now on! Thanks!

  7. Aaron Harris
    July 21, 2014 at 19:16 Reply

    First off, I have and always shall believe Pluto is a planet….and a big yellow dog with floppy ears at Disney.

    Secondly, awesome blog! Great thoughts on truth and Obi-Wan’s “point of view” statement! Keep up the great work! MTFBWY!

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