Subjective and Objective in the Search for Truth

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Is “truth” totally subjective?  The word “subjective” is often used as a way of dismissing an experience as not real or indicating it has no validity in the scientific sense.  And “science” (read objective, material, physical) is the implied contrasting view that, by comparison, invalidates the merely “subjective” perception.  But the conceptual-terminology-division of objective science on the one hand and subjective metaphysics on the other is fundamentally wrong. 

Consider the symbol of the hyphen.  The origin or root meaning of the word “hyphen” derives from a word meaning “one.”  It means, literally “one.”  This simple symbol provides a practical conceptual means of relating or unifying words, and by extension, their corresponding concepts.  It is a conceptual tool and reminder that we should question each dichotomy to see to what degree we are satisfied with a given intellectual division. 

In some metaphysical writings one comes across the concept of spirit-matter.  Spirit and matter are regarded, in a sense, as one “thing.”  (“Thing” is not quite the right word, but it will have to do.)  The idea is that spirit and matter are parts of a continuum.  So also such closely related concepts as physics-metaphysics, and subjective-objective.  This way of thinking suggests a method of reexamining words and concepts, and in this light, we may think that it is not correct to say that truth is “subjective.”  Also, it is not correct to say that truth is “objective.”   To separate things in such a simplistically binary way is unnatural because in nature and in our experiences we find gradations everywhere.  Such analysis reminds us, for instance, that what we regard as the most objective science is the product of a subjective entity, the human mind.
 
Likewise, it is not correct to say that truth is personal or impersonal. All such binary verbal-conceptual formulations always miss the mark to some degree.  When we submit to the divisions implicit in the many word dualities, we automatically set up false psychological and perceptual divisions that can mislead us.
 
We could say that truth is both objective and subjective, though this is also an approximation.  Or we could say that whatever is the next evolutionary step for us (or more broadly, for any entity), is our or their “truth.”  It is not that this is “subjective,” but rather that it is individual—a different thing. There is “relative” truth that’s defined by an individual’s current location in the scheme of things, yet all our individual or relative truths are surrounded, defined, and stand in relation to absolute truth.  Our little truths derive their relative light and merit from an absolute foundation. 

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One thought on “Subjective and Objective in the Search for Truth

  1. I would say that truth IS and is therefore neither subjective nor objective. One may use either of those concepts in regard to their own perception of truth, but their perception has no bearing on truth itself. I particularly like the last sentence. “Our little truths derive their relative light and merit from an absolute foundation.” True, but so do large truths so is there really any such thing as a ‘little truth’ or is that just another way of saying sin comes in different sizes so truth does too. I think sin is abhorrent big or little and truth is glorious large or small.

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