What do you make of the following statement? Do you Agree or Disagree?
A truth is nothing more than a belief shared by others.
A universal truth is nothing more than a belief shared by the majority.
For example, the majority of people are likely to agree on what a 'Table' is.
Upon hearing the word 'Table', each of us may call to mind a different kind of table; Kitchen Table, Dining Table, Coffee Table, Occasional Table perhaps. The type of Table you think of, may depend on where you are and what you are doing at the time, for example; If you are a Surgeon, you may think of an Operating table - but most of us are in agreement that we know what a table is. Just like we are in agreement about how long a centimeter is, how far a mile is and that 5 am is at the start of the day rather than at the end, regardless of where you are in the world.
What if someone is brought up in a remote village where a Table has been given an entirely different meaning; Lets say, the belief in this village is that a Table is a Chair, and very single person living in the village shares the same belief that a Table is a Chair!
Their belief different to our belief, but nevertheless, it is a belief shared by others and therefore in this remote village, it is A Truth! Does it remain a Truth, outside the village? What if the villager move in next door to you?
Do you consider the villager to be wrong? A Liar perhaps? Maybe they are gullible, or stupid even- having received the wrong information and never bothering to question it - what do you think? What if a Table really is a Chair and we are the ones misinformed?
Can you accept that given the circumstances, given the villager's experience & understanding - that their Truth is simply a different Truth to yours, and therefore is also correct? Do you believe there can only be one truth and therefore any other belief must be wrong?
Think about it!
I read a comment on a Social Media post recently where one person openly criticised and disagreed with another'.The disagree'er stated '"This is me, speaking the truth and just telling it as it is"!
In reality, this was them, giving their truth from the comfort of a keyboard, with all the bravery of being out of range (a bit like I'm doing right now), and sharing 'their' view of their truth, their belief. A belief that is no more valid, no more important than the 'postees' belief - just 'their' idea of A Truth.
In the Senses personal development program available at A Positive Start CIC (shameless plug), we often talk about the Perception POT.
Steady yourselves, I'm not referring to the type of pot you might smoke or put under your bed of an evening in-case your'e caught short - I'm talking about the way each of us process information, filtering it through our very own 'Personal Opinion Translator'
As Information is picked up by our 5 senses (Sight, Sound, Smell,Touch,Taste), & delivered to the brain for processing, Firstly, it passes through the Perception POT. Everyone's POT is different, unique, fluid and changeable; constantly influenced by; our Age, our Understanding, our past or present, Gender, Mood, Emotions, View points, Well-being, Sexuality, Religion, life experiences, ethnicity, background, prejudices, state of mind, profession, education, status,Time, hundreds of variables that make us individuals.
To give a perfect example of the Perception POT in action; A Police Officer is called to a Road Traffic Accident involving two cars in a head on collision, there are five independent witnesses prepared to give statements.
The Police officer takes 5 statements and ends up with 5 different versions of the same event - how can that be?
Each of us process information that passes through our own Personal Opinion Translator, essentially putting its own slant on who we see the world.
An Old guy witnessed the crash and he has reported it was the young mans fault - he holds the belief that young people always drive too fast, especially where he lives.
A Young guy witnessed the crash. He has reported it was the old guys fault, he holds the belief that old people shouldn't drive, old people have slow reactions, their eyes are failing, they forget stuff, they shouldn't be allowed on the roads.
You get the idea, everyone's POT is influenced by and interprets information according to 'who we are, what we think, how we feel, who we are with so on and so forth... So before we judge and tell others our version of Truth, surely the question has to be
Whats the stuff we don't know? What's not influencing our POT, what might we have missed!