50 Pieces of Truth

Knowledge is a tricky thing. Philosophers have been haranguing the issue for thousands of years trying to come up with a precise definition of the term. Knowledge is not the same as truth, but they are related. Philosophers are big on truth as well. That said, I’m not writing a piece on ontology, nor am I writing a piece on epistemology. I am assuming you understand the terms ‘knowledge’ and ‘truth,’ even though in some fashion I am almost using them interchangeably below.
We acquire knowledge through learning, which is a lifelong process. Although I use the term ‘we,’ knowledge is strictly an individual term. ‘We’ knows nothing when understood as a collective. Only individual’s know things. The knowledge of an individual consists of many truths. The types and number of truths change throughout a lifetime. The very young know the least; sometimes the very old suffer a dearth of knowledge as well. What does an individual do with his/her knowledge? He/she must share it.
Some known truths are complete on their own; others are partially complete requiring a missing kernel that one might not have. Still others are out-and-out falsehoods and are not properly called truths, but false beliefs instead.
I know a finite number of things—truths, if you will. Let us say that I have 50 pieces of truth, and you have 50 pieces as well. Or perhaps, you have 55 or maybe 45. The precise number doesn’t matter; it’s what we do with them that counts.
What do we do with them? As I said above, we share them. We must talk about them, examine them, and study them together. Perhaps you have a truth that I don’t have, but through our calm, civilized dialogue, I can acquire it. Likewise, with my input, perhaps one of your partial truths will become complete. So, we both gain. And the treasures we gain are really quite profound, because what is more valuable than truth? Through calm, peaceful dialogue we can increase our supply of truth, and purify the trove that is already there.
So, if I have 50 pieces of truth, I should long to get 51. And the same for you. Of course, conversation is a two-way street. It doesn’t work, if only one side wishes to talk.
Talking. So simple. Yet, so profound.

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