What is the truth?

” There is no truth” would have been my answer to this simple but complicated question if you asked me a few months ago, I shared on my social media accounts various short write-ups trying to explain to people that the truth does not exist. During this time too I was sharing my thoughts to convince people that change does not exist, which I look at today as a very simplistic and non-knowledgeable way to look at change. Thank God I later reformed the statement as ‘change is not what you think it is’.

If I say there is no truth, and I am putting that statement out as the truth, can’t you see that the statement is fundamentally flawed? The statement however can make some sense in some specific contexts, like the subjective nature of the truth in human society, in that, my mother’s soup is always better than yours, even though the reality attests to the simple truth that your mother is a better cook than mine. Despite the facts, I will still maintain my grounds that my mother is the better cook, this will be true for me and many others I’m able to convince. In this case, there are two truths, so I concluded that for human beings, there is no truth.

There is some part of me that believes that the truth is unknowable and that this nature of the truth is what keeps us going as a species, the search for the truth has caused the fall of great empires, different inventions, the rise of great democratic societies, different schools of thought, the idolization of some humans, the advent of different religions, and the death of millions in wars. This part of me tells me that the search for the truth will continue as long as humans exist, and humans are stuck in a closed loop.

There is another part that says, there is the truth and human beings are in constant denial of it, maybe it is too difficult for them to accept. Maybe they hate that the truth is what is true and they are always trying to look for an alternative truth like I discussed in the last paragraph.

Let’s take a clue from the most intelligent thought leader of all times, Jesus Christ. Jesus talked a lot about the truth. He called himself the truth in one part, and in another thought-provoking part, he said the truth leads to freedom: Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. From this verse, I inferred that the truth is not self-revealing, one has to know it. One can only know what they want to know. True knowledge is acquired; it is never given.

The truth can be defined as the underlying reality in everything that happens in life. Jesus said if one knows this truth, it will make one free, free from what? Let us be lazy to think here and just pick the most available answer. It sets us free from the various problems that come with the things that happen in life. That definition that I gave for the truth will definitely be disputed by some. If we cannot even agree on a true definition of what truth is, what then do we make of it?

In everything that happens in life, there is the truth which I referred to as the underlying reality in everything that happens in life, and I said that this reality is not self-revealing, one only knows it if he wants to. This topic is not one whose surface one can scratch with less than a thousand words, this writing is intended to provoke the reader to plunge into the question poised and genuinely try to understand the question, get answers that have been proffered before, review their views about the truth, and tell themselves what the truth is. The writer is with anyone that chooses to take the journey.

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Tim Ojo-Ibukun

Tim Ojo-Ibukun

Tim is an Architecture student at OAU, he's the convener of tim talks.