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Transcendental truth

There exist two “kinds†, or “two poles†, to truth, making truth in a sense “bipolar†. This statement does not imply that there are only two poles of truth. There is certainly more – such as probability, which is not the subject of this essay – making truth “multi-polar†. This essay is concerned with transcendental and transient truth.

To clarify, the difference between transcendental and transient (which I had ambiguously called “fact†in a previous essay) truth is not it’s “truthiness†, for clearly all true things are true. What is relevant is how relevant this or that true description of something that exists is in all existence. For instance, that I am sitting on a chair at this moment I certainly consider as true, but it is only really relevant to me, and only over the next few minutes (relevant to you as an example of what’s not relevant to you); so, out of everything in existence this particular truth could be argued to only matter for one person for a small fraction of that one person’s existence: it is a transient consideration. Many of the laws of physics on the other hand, such as gravity, have been, are, and will continue to be relevant to many people over their entire lives: this sort of truth ‘transcends’ much more of existence than the former.

Which is why I had previously chosen the words fact and theory. But we should remember it is not ‘either or’; it is ‘this truth is relevant for more of existence than that truth’. And though one could argue that (assuming time is continuous) all segments of time are infinite and so all truth (if relevant at all) is equally relevant. Now, time may be discrete in which case this argument collapses; but either way Cantor developed the tools to compare infinite sets of differing sizes. There is a vast spectrum of infinities of relevance and probability; for it is only really ‘true’ that I attach a high probability to the existence of a chair (so high I consider it pointless to assume otherwise) and that I think I know what a chair is, and our laws of physics are also only ‘highly probable’ (as in it’s very improbable that it’s been randomly going as expected all these years). But let us not be distracted from our discussion of ‘fact and theory’ by esoteric matters.

What we should remember is that we could not have come to posit ‘theories’, no matter how much we have come to take them for granted, without recourse the accumulation of our various ‘transient facts’, and we cannot make full use of new observations, no matter how transient their use will be, without the systemization of our previous observations, which we usually call a theory.

GNN’s, and other news organization’s, mission seems to be to collect facts about the universe (especially those which people are generally under the impression are untrue, and or relating to social organization). This activity is certainly necessary in order to interact with reality on the political level. However, simply having a collection of various truths does not necessarily lead to better decisions (indeed, it does not even necessarily lead to making different decisions than what one would have otherwise made).

“What should we do bearing all these facts in mind?†is just as relevant a question as “What are the facts†. For this we must theorize, and good theorization is fueled be criticism.

Moreover, it is my ‘observation’ that this latter component of thought is lacking in our society. A short ‘theory’ explaining how this came about I will posit for consideration, not because I believe it’s truth to transcend all existence, or even society in and around the present age but because it may be a limited instance of the truth (as in: at least it may be a contributing factor leading to my observation which I do not even know to ‘transcend’ beyond my specific experiences) is that: first, very few societies have favoured a love of criticism over the comfort of convention; for, in the face of criticism the rebuff “well, everybody agrees with me†seems so secure that over many generations “everyone agrees with me†comes to replace the methods of argument which led to that agreement in the first place, which leads to the problem that “if the truth is simply what everyone believes, then it is liable to change at any given moment†, which wouldn’t be a problem if that was what the truth actually is. Unfortunately there is strong evidence to the contrary.

The inevitable conclusion that the truth must be independent from public opinion led to the idea that anything is liable to be false and so any given line of reasoning may bear fruit, and so no one should be stopped from exploring these or that lines of thought, or holding this or that opinion. This is what we often call liberal democracy (democracy because it allows for any newly discovered truth, of which it is only necessarily true that people think that it is true, to reform government in light of the newly found opinions that people have decided to the think highly of). A politics of sober thought in the light of criticism. Everything looks good ... so far.

The expectation had been that since all position are now liable to be scrutinized, all erroneous position would have to fall, all truth would have to prevail, and with the mechanism of democracy all truth will necessarily form and reform the foundations and workings of government, all without violence.

Unfortunately, forming a political system in which this is at least possible does not necessitate it coming about. Indeed, this political system did not even really come about in the process it is founded upon, but because all other political systems managed to fail.

The culture of criticism which forms the premise of democracy was never wholly embraced. The position that “well, everyone agrees with me†is still in wide circulation, along with “well, all these people agree with me at least, so I’ll just associate with them and never be criticized†, and there is a new line of reasoning which accomplishes the same thing, for people discovered that “since I have a right to an opinion, nothing is preventing me from keeping this position no matter what criticism is brought against me, and nothing is stopping me from simply not defending my position at all, which minimizes the criticism I would otherwise incur†. Unfortunately, simply because this thinking is comfortable does not guarantee this comfort will outweigh any and all other discomforts, such as war, famine, and disease, for an indefinite period of time.

And though surely many people with the same ‘facts’ disagree over their interpretation, others do not even bother to know what the facts are nor what a sound theory is, and so build flawed theories upon flawed facts. This is so very demoralizing, since it leads to decisions so blatantly self defeating, that those who are concerned with the truth suddenly fall prey to the notion that “all the world needs is for people to stop doing obviously self defeating things†, and so they forget about more complicated matters, cease to discuss what they’re actually doing, and begin doing blatantly self defeating things, such as obsessing over persuading people that don’t really care about what’s going on that they probably should.

I’m all for taking an interest in one’s general surrounding, even to the most abstract level, but by definition if a person is not interested in their general surrounding, and my arguments exist in this general surrounding, then this person will not be interested in my arguments.

The solution to this problem is not despair. Rather, by rigorously figuring out the best possible way in which to live, through much observation, contemplation, research, and discussion, two things will occur if we succeed. First, we at least will be able to say that we have not contributed to the folly of mankind which is clearly better than being able to say that we did contribute to the folly of mankind, and, second, by tangibly showing the beneficial consequence of our ways we would have formed the strongest possible argument for their adoption. So even if our sole purpose was to convince people to stop doing blatantly self defeating things, this would be the best way to go about it anyways.

The first phase in this process is ridding oneself of all hypocrisy. A hypocrite is rarely listened to even when what they happen to be saying for the moment is absolutely true, and people will go to the limits in trying to prove someone they disagree with is a hypocrite. This is of course hypocritical because a non-hypocrite contemplates notions brought forth by hypocrites just as thoroughly as han does non-hypocrites. And it certainly can’t be reasonable to say “I intend to contradict myself†as it is to say, “I intend to purposefully avoid never becoming aware of whether I’m contradicting myself or not.†And so it is a very difficult endeavor. The alternative is of course “well, I’m at least better than all these people, and so I don’t have to think about making my actions even better since these people are so far behind that any further benefit to humanity I can contribute is so vastly outweighed by the detraction of these individuals that it doesn’t matter. Woa, woa is me.â€

However, if one wishes to act efficiently, when does it become reasonable to accept any inefficiency? If one wishes to act justly, how much injustice is tolerable? Clearly, it is the hypocrisy of ceasing the attempt to diminish one’s hypocrisy that vastly outweighs however hypocritical you might be at any given moment. We of course define hypocrisy as inconsistent actions: actions which tend to one or a group of probable results for a time followed by actions that tend to one or a group of differing results exclusive with the former.

However, learning the discipline required to act consistently, no matter how difficult it might be, is only phase one. For we still have to establish what is the best consistent system of decision making. Fortunately there are only three types to choose from.

1. There is action consistent with the intention to not continue existing.

2. There is action consistent with the intention to continue one’s existence.

3. There is action consistent with the intention to continue the existence of society.

Discussion of these three intentions I would suggest begin our “transcendental†discussion. Are there other possible intentions it’s possible to act consistently with? Is one of these intentions inconsistent? Is there more than one consistent form of action with any of these intents? Are there necessary implications for any or all of these intentions? Are 2 and 3 ever consistent with each other? (as in to approach the one maximally efficient is to approach the other maximally efficient)? Are 2 and 3 ever exclusive? Under what conditions?

 


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