|The world is in color, not black and white|
Image: Worakit Sirijinda / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The basic question he seems to be asking is whether there is absolute objective truth or whether truth is, instead, subjective. He seems to want me to be firmly for one or the other. The reality is that I acknowledge and am comfortable with the existence of both types of truth. This isn’t an either/or dichotomy for me. It’s more a matter of how you integrate objective and subjective truths.
Why does this nuance matter? Well, it matters because the world is not black and white. The world is made up of full spectrum color. Attempts to categorize the world in an either/or (black/white) sort of way will almost always lead to an incomplete understanding about the world and about other people, just as it is hindering this man’s ability to grasp what my opinion on these matters truly is.
Because I cannot possibly answer his questions in the 140 character format that twitter allows, let me try to clarify my views here.
I believe in the existence of objective reality. As far as I am able, it behooves me to base my opinions, as much as possible, on that objective reality. The problem is that human brains are incredibly imprecise so, however, sure I might be about what constitutes objective reality; I need to be humble enough to recognize that I could very well turn out to be wrong about what the objective reality/truth really is.
It is also clear to me that much of what I believe is subjective, meaning, it is simply what I believe and no, I don’t always have a very good objective reason to believe these things. It’s just a gut feeling I have. I happen to think my subjective truths, like rape is bad, and my love for my husband and son is good are sufficient unto themselves.
The problem for me isn’t a matter of which knowledge is better. The problem is how do I best integrate my subjective truths with objective reality. And am I willing to adjust my subjective knowledge when objective truths contradict them? My success in life is largely determined by how accurately my subjective beliefs reflect objective reality. I think the best any of us can do is to be humble enough to admit that our beliefs are largely subjective and that they do need to be adjusted from time to time. And no, that isn’t a sign of weakness. It is a sign of flexibility and a willingness to adapt to reality instead of trying to force reality into your preconceived ideas of how things should work.
As I told my new twitter friend. All rules have exceptions, including this one.