Truth is most often used to mean being in accord with fact or reality, or fidelity to an original or standard. Truth may also be used in modern contexts to refer to an idea of “truth to self,” or authenticity.
How do we “test for truth” – determine the criteria for truth? Who gets to decide what the standards are, the rules, which we use to judge the accuracy of truth? Verification is an important component for most people. What else is important?
Coherence often is held in high regard when searching for truth. Coherence is a consistent and overarching explanation for all facts. Coherence is the most potentially effective test of truth as it most adequately addresses all elements of an issue. The struggle here is in our ability to gather ALL the facts. Is that even humanly possible? One doesn’t know what information one doesn’t have. Oops!
Consistency is another tactic in which we base truth. When an individual is consistent across time and issue, we assume truth is present. If one is unable to be “tripped” up in any fashion then truth must be accepted as fact. Unfortunately facts often are presented in isolation as we move from one area to the next. Oops!
Correspondence is a simple way of claiming truth. When a claim corresponds to an object then truth exists at that moment. For many this is the most valid criteria of truth. Yet is what one presents as validation of truth in this instance the “whole” truth? Oops!
What about emotions, instinct, intuition? The “test of time”? If something works, it must be true so says the pragmatist? Traditions and customs make it so? Really? Oops!
So how do we ever get to truth? If people lie once then is nothing ever to be believed as truth? How do people move beyond the one statement made that can label them forever? This is a question that many people are debating. The answer, unfortunately, is elusive for most. The best advice is to never lie. With no lies you are believed by others and truth is accepted as part of the core of who you are as a human being. Such a simple concept yet difficult for most people to employ. It does beat the alternative though, doesn’t it? Both the choice and the result are up to each one individually. Avoid the oops! You’ll thank yourself for it later!
“The truth may hurt for a little while but a lie hurts forever.” – Anonymous