So what is truth I ask myself. I have used the words, truth, fact and reality interchangeably in the past, little knowing the difference between these words.
Then suddenly as I was talking I paused and thought to myself in mid-sentence, my reality may not be someone else’s reality and my Truth may not be someone else’s Truth.
My train of thoughts went back to the idea of Glass half full or Glass half empty both of the statements were true,the interpretation of Truth depended on the individual who was viewing it.
It was important to understand this rationale. The same set of Facts and Truth but my response to them may create a different reality.
A classic example is the earth being Flat, for numerous years this was the proven fact that the earth was flat and that was the Truth but this was then questioned and we now know that the world is actually not flat.
Below definitions of the words I think best describes their meanings.
Truth: a fact or belief that is accepted as true
Reality: The state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.
Facts: Information used as evidence or as part of a report or news article.
If Truth is based on belief, this is so fluid, as belief can vary from person to person. Hence there cannot be a single truth there can be multiple facet of Truth. Reality again can be limited to what I know versus what actually exists. Just because my life and world is restricted to a certain time and area, how will I know there is something else in the world? Hence my reality is restricted to only what I know, therefore I will never even know if I am missing something. For example. A blind person may never know what a rainbow looks like, despite description or explanations they may never be able to conjure what your view of a rainbow is.
What is intriguing is that facts (evidences/data) will help to prove a point, however even this can be manipulated. One can look at data from different aspects to prove a point.
Why is this important you ask me?
Well really homo sapiens are a funny being. Its important to know that while I have a set of facts and something may be true to me but it may not be true to others. My Truth is limited to my life experiences that I have gone through and this eventually becomes a reality.
Eg: I always see the glass half full, this is entirely because of the life experiences that I have endured and this has taught me that there is always more to life. Making me more hopeful and idealistic. As opposed to someone who has had a different life experiences which makes them more practical and critical in approach. Its not that they are not open to life, its just that the reality for them has been different.
This set of thoughts always lead to difference of opinions hence sometimes its important to understand where the other person is coming from, what has been their reality and what experiences have formed their truth. Hence its important to remove personal biases understand the other person, either broaden our own Truth or help broaden the other person’s truth and leading to a new reality.
The best example I can relate to reality is about the urban rural upbringing of children. Having grown up in Urban society its easy for me to take things for granted. Availability of food, water, shelter, school and transportation. I don’t think twice if I have to voice my opinion and can travel side by side with male counterparts. However my reality was shaken when I visited a rural village, where young girls were restricted to being at home taking care of their siblings, access to water meant walking 30 mins to draw water from wells. Not to mention limited schooling opportunities and the family philosophy and upbringing support. For such children their reality and as such their future is limited…..
The below story is a good illustration of how one could even have the same experience and still have a different reality and moment of Truth.
A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead. The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.
The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?” The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.
It’s important to acknowledge that people may have a different reality and Truth. This acceptance will help us to be more accommodating and understand other person’s point of view and hopefully diffuse any differences and misunderstanding that occur due to difference in opinion.