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.
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