Truth and Happiness

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.

Currier_and_Ives_Brooklyn_Bridge2 1024px-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.

Système_métrique_1900 - 1

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.

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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. 

Chair Matrix
Furniture withIn the Construct (Matrix)
Are Daily Objects Reality or Imagination?

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.

Paul_Mersmann_-_Das_Gespraech_des_Aristoteles 1

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.

wood-bench-241005_1280

Conclusion

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

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2 thoughts on “Truth and Happiness”

  1. Cicorm, I grew up in a time and place where we did not obsess about happiness, but rather in survival and creating a better future for ourselves and future generations. As a small and poor developing nation, our reality and relevance were different from people in the developed world.

    The same is true for the refugees and migrants fleeing to the United States and Europe from their reality of violence and war.

    I ask myself: How can I be happy when others suffer such distress to undertake a journey with no guarantee of finding a safe haven?

    As I see it: “Relevant Truth” is what we say it is, what we want it to be, so that we don’t have to care about the other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Rosaliene for your candid views! The questions you raised are important ones.

      On “survival (relief of suffering) and creating a better future (fulfillment)”, many though not all philosophers do take these as two sides of the same “Happiness” coin. That they are part of a continuum.

      On helping others, you may also note I listed purpose, interdependence and ethics as some of the important areas to seek Relevant Truths. I agree with you to an extent that we are interdependent/inter-related, so we will be “happier” if we find (the correct) ways to help others relieve their suffering as well as promote the common good. The word “correct” implies the Relevant Truths must be found, and acted upon. If we use the Irrelevant or False, we will end up in a bigger mess.

      E.g. a relevant Truth for interdependence maybe currently not everyone believes in interdependence, getting a certain level of agreement is important and that to achieve agreement, we need to present the cases clearly and thoroughly. So there is a need and plan to address and discuss the complex questions of Interdependence, on being “happy” when others are “suffering”, as well as the topic of Purpose etc (whether they constitute important areas and how should they be approached) in future posts!

      Liked by 1 person

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