Importance of Truths
Truths are important to the fabric of society. From the workings of government, economy and financial system to family life. Without Truth, no one will trust another, and activity will grind to a halt.
The Modern Suspension Bridge and Surroundings: Truth and Trust
But are all Truths created equal? The common misconception is Yes. The answer is surprisingly No.
Relevant Truths Increase Situational Utility
Relevant truths help to aid efficient transactions, saving time, effort and money.
Being aware of relevant truths can help the proper assessment of the situation, and promote solution of problems or improvements.
Being in touch with inherent strengths and weakness can help maximize utility and/or preventative measures before things get bad.
Geometry and The Metric System in Engineering and Trade
(Excess Focus on) Irrelevant Truths Reduce Situational Utility
On the other hand, irrelevant truths can confuse the issue at hand, prevent the solution of problems or hinder improvements.
Irrelevant truths can increase animosity between two parties who are better off co-operating.
Irrelevant truths distract from purpose wasting valuable time, effort and money.
The Historical Pig War (1859) : Irrelevant Truth to Peace and Harmony
“Let’s Go to War: He killed my Pig” (Image only for dramatic effect)
The list goes on.
With this, let’s examine Happiness through the vantage of metaphysics.
Metaphysics – Things We Take As Real (Truth), Are Not
As we sit at our desk. on our chair, furiously typing our thoughts out, many of us forget that the objects found in our daily lives (e.g. chairs, tables, our body) are probably much more spatial than Matter.
The prodigious Greeks lacked the implements of modern science. That did not stop them though: Instead, they ran thought experiments and deduced that matter spliced will give rise to the indestructible Atom.
Infinite Splicing of Reality
For many centuries after, the Atom stood “indivisible”. Then sure enough, in 1897, a chap named JJ Thomson discovered the electron empirically, subdivided the Atom and replaced it with a plum pudding (model) for the Nobel Prize. Before long, all manners of discoveries broke lose. The nucleus, the Rutherford planetary theory (space and particles), the electron particle and wave theory, neutrinos, etc. Like our beloved smartphones, the next flashy iteration of “Reality” seemed always around the corner.
The Discussion of Aristotle
Irony of the Familiar
Apparently, causation is unlikely to surface through empirical means (or so say the rationalist philosophers), even in a hundred years. And if we cannot fully understand the Reality and nature of the objects we can see, feel, hold etc, what more with feelings and intangible concepts like Happiness?
Certainty within Uncertainty: Relevant “Truths”
Not all hope is lost! While not 100% certain, scientific rationalization and experiential verification over centuries has derived sufficient objective Relevant (but not eternal) “rules” for physical phenomena. These rules are used to manage and explain complex daily phenomena with great certainty, even to create microcosms (e.g. working engines) and interacting systems (e.g. modern robots) dependent on the said “principles”.
Nao the Robot: An interacting system dependent on Scientific “principles”
We make a distinction here: Relevant “Reality” is repeatable across everyone’s conscious experience. The contrast is imagination, dreams and poorly based perceptions (which are not general, nor rule based, and unlikely to be “Truth”).
To reiterate, Final Truths are not required to achieve the daily. Purpose and the Relevant “Truths” are.
Elements of Happiness
Similarly, for meaningful and lasting Happiness, beyond the physcial “rules”, we need to derive and transmit Relevant “Truths” for Purpose, Gratitude, Ethics, Interdependence, Psychology, Healthcare, Governance, Economics etc. Of course, sometimes Ignorance is bliss, but that is until Reality bites.
In Life, there are the known and the unknown, even with things we can see, touch and feel. Despite the unknown and the trickery of perceptions, we are able to scientifically derive Relevant “rules” that help us understand and manage our physical realm to a high degree of certainty. Similarly, in order to have Happiness, we need focus on the Relevant and not let the irrelevant overwhelm us. While we may not know the Eternal Truth, I am certain we can learn and share enough of the Relevant Truths to explain and derive Happiness.
Have a great time with the Relevant, and thank you for reading and/or views!
PS: The metaphysical discussion also prepares us for the topic of Relativism, an important topic for Happiness and Ethics.
Image Credit: Warner Bros, Currier and Ives, Jebulon, Daniel Stark, Grabbeau, Sharon Ang