There is no truth, only perspectives

One my most important belief being a romantic is that I do not believe in the concept of ‘truth’. For those interested in romanticism and who haven’t seen the movie yet, I recommend Don Juan DeMarco as a really good introduction.

Johnny Depp manages to deliver a vital part of romanticism in this movie: what we perceive as truth and reality, does not necessarily have to be our truth.

I’ll give an example from the movie. Johnny Depp is being taken into a psychiatric hospital, because he is delusional, believing himself to be Don Juan. However, he decides to embrace his new environment not as a ‘mental hospital’, but as ‘The Villa of Don Octavio de Florenca’, in which he is an honored guest.

His surroundings are still similar, he still has to take his pills. However, his experience towards his environment becomes much more positive, and he manages to inspire everyone around him.

Truth in science

But also in our ‘real’ life, the concept of truth is often questioned. A few decades ago, quantum mechanics became a thing. Still, many people have trouble grasping the magnitude of this concept. Understandably, because it shakes our concept of ‘what we know’ yet again.

Based on quantum mechanics, everything around us is always in motion, always changing. When we observe our surroundings, the atoms take on a solid form that we can observe. This means that whenever we are not observing any object, it is impossible to know how it looks like, or if anything has happened to it. We presume that if we look outside, the sky will still be blue. But that actually is quite a big assumption.

The fact that if I drop a pen at this moment, and it will fall on the ground. gives no guarantee that the same behavior will occur 1 minute from now. And yet we still assume that it always does. It’s quite magical that the things around us, are making so much sense that we can afford to make all these assumptions.

Truth of our senses

Based on our previous concept of quantum mechanics, we can only talk about ‘truth’ when we directly observe something. Only about the things we have already seen.

Wrong. We can’t even do that…

The problem is that the senses of human beings (and everything we create) is flawed. Our ears can only hear a limited range of frequencies. This is why we cannot hear bats communicate, because bats communicate on a frequency that we cannot hear. But not just our ears are flawed, our eyes are limited as well. We can only see a part of the entire light spectrum.

So what is still left when talking about ‘truth’?… Almost nothing.

The only thing we can say when talking about truth is for example ‘When I dropped my pen at moment X, I saw it fall to the ground’. So we can only speak of the truth about a personal observation in the past.

And that’s why I refuse to work with the concept of ‘truth’. It’s pretty useless and it only creates confusion and conflict (“No this is true! you are wrong!”).

 

Truth –> Perspectives

But I do believe in something else. I believe in perspectives. Perspectives are like truths, with one big difference. A perspective is personal or bound to a group.

I’ll let that sink in…

 

This means that any perspective (conscious or subconscious) is chosen by an individual. Each individual chooses (consciously or subconsciously) to believe in a certain set of perspectives (science is the truth, gravity will always keep working, There is a God). Those perspectives become real for that person.

But I like to take things one step further. I think that we can only observe the things that we truly believe in. We only observe the things that we believe to be ‘real’.

Time for an example! Mike believes that ghosts are real. That’s a perspective Mike believes in. Making it real for Mike. Yesterday, Mike saw a ghost.

This sounds a little bit bizarre, but according to my belief, this is reasonable. And I love that it is reasonable.

Why do I believe in this?

I’m not trying to convince people to adopt this way of thinking. But I do want to explain why this way of thinking is working well for myself.

  1. I do not reject what others see as truth and reality completely. Knowledge is important to understand the world and to be able to work with other. However, I do make the distinction of accepting these ‘facts’ as perspectives, which I share with 95% of our population.
  2. My belief can coexist with other forms of faith. It does not create conflicts with others and gives myself the freedom and flexibility to (in my opinion) engage in a meaningful discussion with people who believe in an actual God.
  3. And the most important. I am free to accept the perspectives I want to believe in. To me ‘But that’s true!’ is not an argument to accept a new perspective. I am only interested in the question ‘Will this perspective improve my life?’. This enables me to consciously choose the perspectives that make my life the best life I could ever have.

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