Just the facts

We live in a world that follows rules. We don't know what most of those rules are; some of them, we understand a bit and can approximate to decent levels. Not knowing the rules, however, doesn't change the fact that the rules exist and are pretty consistent.

The more you know about the rules and about the world around you, the better off you'll be in trying to maneuver through life. To this end, the most important thing in life is the truth. If you don't have facts and real information, any decision you make is automatically flawed. Deteriming what is real - what is truth - is the most important act you will ever undertake.

What's more, you'll have to make that determination every moment of every day of your life. As I said, we only know approximations of some of the rules; the rest are either completely unknown or guesses at best. Sometimes we don't even know that a rule exists. So, every time you hear a statement or learn a fact, you need to be able to make a determination on the truth of that statement or fact.

The most obvious way to verify a statement is to see if it's consistent with what you can observe in the world around you. If someone tells you the sky is pink but you look up and see it's blue, you've just falsified that information. If someone tells you that "doing x will cause y", and you do "x" repeatedly but "y" doesn't happen, you've falsified that statement; if "y" *does* happen, you know that the statement has truth in it.

While it would be great to say that something is either true or false, we don't have a way to do so most of the time. The best we can sometimes do is approximations - deteriming whether something is likely true or likely false rather than absolutely true or false. Some statements are easily proven true but hard to falsify; for others, the reverse is true and it's easy to falisfy but hard to prove. There are also statements which can't be proven either way - sometimes because we don't have the ability right now, sometimes because we'll never have the ability.

The most important thing in any life is truth, and the most important skill you can hone is learning how to identify level of truth in a statement. Observable reality is the only measuring stick of value. If something doesn't match up with observable reality, it simply isn't true.


Mikeytoo said...

not that im tooting my own horn, but wasnt this a good exercise in writing what you really wanted to say? as someone who takes blog writing for granted, it really is pretty amazing.

Austin said...

I always write what I want to say :) I've actually been thinking about the topic; you just provided a moment of inspiration.

I spend most weekends hanging out with a specific friend, and the main topic we discuss is the tendancy of people to seek shelter in lies or mythology. This whole blog is about reality - seeing things as they are, even if that's not how we're used to seeing them. That's why I started it in the first place... to help people to look out, not up.

You can't save the world, but maybe you can help teach the world to save itself.