How to define truth? That seems to be easier than it actually is. We might all agree, that it is true, that this is a red apple.


First, it is not an apple at all, but a picture of what we all agree to be an apple. It’s not even a physical, two-dimensional picture print we can hold in our hands, but an arrangement of light-dots on a screen, whose shape and colour we interpret to be a red apple. So first, we need to believe, that what is shown on the screen represents a real object “truthfully”. We all have held the real thing in our hands and tasted it, so this is not difficult. Then we need to consider the other “fact” we believe to be true, which is, that the apple is red. But is it? A colour-blind person might see it more like this:


We ourselves might even see a red apple like this, if there is very little light available. But our brain will correct the image up to a certain point, where all colour vanishes but the shape is still visible. After that, the “real” colour is just a guess. If that vanishes, too, touch, smell and taste might be the only way to find out the “truth” of this object. To take this even further, what about somebody, who never saw or tasted an apple before, an innuit, say? This person might have no references to classify the picture (or the thing itself, if she was given one).

Next, we have to decide, what exactly we are talking about in terms understandable to other people. Apple (without the given illustration, just the word describing it) might also mean this:


So, in order to stipulate, what we consider to be true (this is a red apple)in this world (and what is the “real” world, anyway), we have to believe in or know of or have experience in so many things, it gets confusing even thinking about it. This is why I once said – in alteration of a famous quote (truth is a daughter of time – who said that first, btw? Shakespeare? Brecht? Wolfgang Schüssel?): Truth is a daughter of mine.

Hard to keep ones bearings, isn’t it? That’s why I also like to quote a line out of “The Matrix“: “Ignorance is bliss.” Just kidding… I grew up in the “truth”. This is what in my parent’s religion was their believes (right), as opposed to what the “wordly men” (Weltmenschen) believed in (wrong). But then I decided to follow their instructions and did “Awake!”, starting to rely more on what I actually experienced than what I was told to believe. Not, that this has always been clarifying or more right or wrong, than what for example my brother, who still is a follower of this faith today, did. Just different. Like many truths.

2 thoughts on “truth

  1. I have been wondering when this subject would come up in your blogs. It is something I hope you will explore a lot more.

    And I can’t help but combine your last two entries – all that voracious reading you have done – since your earliest years as I now know – that must have been one of the major influences in the course of your life. I think readers and writers inherently come to understand that the question is more important than the answer.

    What all religions have in common is that the answer is supplied before the question is even asked. Truth with a capital “T”.


    1. Exactly. Thus keeping generations away from wondering, thinking and asking. What bugs me most, though, is, that those outwith the own “truth” are always considered wrong.


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