How many times during your life, have you experienced a contradiction in material reality? Iím not asking how many times youíve heard information from one source that contradicts information heard from another source. And Iím not asking how many times youíve realized that one or more of your own beliefs contradict one another. Iím asking something totally differentÖ How many times have you experienced something in physical reality using your five senses, wherein your perception was one way at a certain point in time, and at that same point in time your perception wasnít that one way. I know that sounds a little crazy, but thatís what a contradiction in material reality would be.
Okay, let me clarify with an example: Letís say youíre out driving around, and thereís a car in front of you. A contradiction experienced in material reality would be that you see the car in front of you and not see the car in front of you at the same point in time. Have you ever experienced something like that? It sounds so impossible, that itís hard to even imagine what that would be like.
If youíre like me, youíve never experienced a contradiction in material reality. The only contradictions Iíve ever experienced have been between different ideas in peoplesí minds. Therefore, I have no reason to believe that contradictions exist in material reality.
Okay, so what? Where does that take us? It gives us something important—a concrete foundation—the single most fundamental concept when forming a system of beliefs: There are no contradictions in material reality. Contradictions only exist between different ideas in peoplesí minds.
Okay, so if thereís only one way that reality is for each moment of time, and if humans need to use ideas to objectively model or describe reality, how does that relate to the idea of truth?
Before exploring that, letís first agree to exclude subjective judgments (e.g., thatís a pretty picture) when developing a set of ideas that models reality. Letís remain objective.
Next, letís define a couple of terms to make sure we start off on common ground.
The word ďtrueĒ is used herein as an adjective that qualifies whether or not an idea accurately represents reality. (I know thatís a loaded statement, but letís just go with the basic meaning of it for nowÖ)
The word ďtruthĒ is used herein as a noun representing the set of all ideas that are true.
There is only one truth. When all true ideas are associated together as one set, they form the truth.
There are no contradictions contained in the truth. There arenít two different ideas in the truth wherein one idea claims that ďAĒ is true, and another idea claims that ďnot-AĒ is true for the same moment of time. We already believe that contradictions donít exist in material reality, and weíve defined ďthe truthĒ as the set of ideas that accurately represents or models reality. Therefore, the truth cannot contain contradicting ideas.
While many different ideas may be used to describe or model reality, there is only one truth. Each human being may have a different way of understanding the truth (i.e., a different subset of ideas that are part of the truth), but that doesnít mean thereís more than one truth.
Be careful not to confuse the truth with reality itself; only reality is reality. The truth is simply a set of ideas in peoplesí minds that represents (or models) reality.
When searching for truth, itís important to remember that reality exists independently of the ideas in any personís mind. Just because weíve been told something is true, doesnít mean itís necessarily true. For example, a long time ago, children were taught that the Earth was flat. However, those false beliefs didnít affect the shape of the Earth Ė it was a sphere regardless of whether peopleís beliefs were true or false. Another example: One personís perception of reality may contradict anotherís, but neither perception affects the truth. A bird flies directly into a large exterior window of your house, breaks its neck and dies. One person at your house perceives of reality in one way and states what they think happened. Another person at your house perceives of reality in a different way and says ďno, that didnít happenĒ. Their contradictory beliefs obviously donít change what actually occurred.
In conclusion, regardless of how anyone describes or models reality, there is only one truth, one set of ideas that accurately represents the way things are for each moment of time. In addition, whenever one person believes that A is true, and another person believes that not-A is true (for the same moment of time), a contradiction exists between those two beliefs, and at least one of them must be false.
If there is only one way that reality is for each moment of time, and thereís only one truth, then why do so many people believe in contradictions?
Shortly after weíre born, one of the first things that we learn is total and complete trust in our mothers. We simply have no higher-level loyalty as infants.
During infancy, we learn about reality around us by using our five senses. Based only upon our direct experiences, we begin building patterns in our minds about how things work and what kinds of forces are exerted by all of the different systems around us. Although we donít understand most of whatís happening, we never experience a single contradiction in material reality.
As time goes on, we grow older and learn to communicate with other people using oral language. Our parents are the first people we learn to communicate with, and our newfound ability allows us to begin learning from their previous experiences in addition to our own current experiences. We begin learning about reality from what other people tell us is true. The confidence or faith that we place in the wide range of information we hear, is based upon our trust in the source. If a silly childhood friend tells us something far-fetched, we wouldnít place much faith in that. But if our parents tell us something far-fetched, and they communicate it to us in a sincere and loving manner, we would probably place lots of faith in that information. Because we are so trusting in our parents when weíre young, they have lots of influence when weíre forming our system of beliefs.
As we grow from childhood through our teenage years into our adult lives, we learn about reality from whatever sources are available to our senses. We learn from experience that often times we must take our best guess at what may be true, even if we donít have a high level of confidence in our belief. In order to survive, people regularly need to take their best educated guesses at what the truth is, and commit to actions based upon those educated guesses. Since guessing at the truth becomes a regular activity for all adult humans, we get good at it, and we donít have any problems being willing or able to perform those guesses.
With that in mind, you can see that when a child asks a parent a question, and the parent isnít sure what the answer is, the parent will likely provide the child with their best guess at the truth. Since the child isnít aware of variations in the parentís confidence level (parents donít like to appear unknowledgeable to their children), the child simply accepts the information as rock-solid truth, unless itís proven to be false sometime in the future. The process of training our children with less-than optimal information happens constantly, every single day, all over the planet, and our children end up developing some strong beliefs that arenít true. Once a person establishes a firm belief, he tends to hold onto that belief tightly, until perhaps itís proven to be false one day in the future. Since some beliefs are extremely hard to disprove, those beliefs are often carried on from one generation to the next for a very long time.
For example: A young child is taught that God knows his every pre-written day (i.e., God knows the future), while at the same time the child is taught that he has free will and controls his own path in life. Children are taught those two contradictory ideas every day all over the world, and they become ingrained and difficult to overcome after the child grows into adulthood. For most adults, itís far easier to live with the contradictions theyíve been trained to believe in, than to examine their beliefs and consider that some of them may be false. Many people become locked into mind-jail by the contradictions theyíve been trained to believe, and they canít think outside their walls of faith.
Okay, that summarizes the first and foremost reason why we believe in so many contradictions—itís a training issue.
There are at least two other reasons why people believe in contradictory ideas; first, different perceptions of reality. For example, when two people are standing in different locations viewing the same event at the same time, they may develop contradictory beliefs regarding what happens. Their differences may be caused by several factors including viewing angle, distance, motion, and quality of sensory perception.
Another reason why people develop contradictory beliefs: style of interpreting information. For example, when two people analyze a complex set of data, they may draw contradictory conclusions because of the differences between how they think. The logic utilized by both parties may be completely valid, while still resulting in contradictory conclusions. Perhaps thatís where the saying comes from; good people sometimes disagree.
As you can see, itís very difficult to eliminate all contradictory beliefs because theyíre constantly generated at every moment by the different ways each of us perceives of reality and interprets information.
Okay, letís summarize: No two people on Earth hold exactly the same beliefs. If you take any two people who claim to hold exactly the same beliefs, and you separate them and ask them a series of questions, youíll always find that they diverge and disagree on something. All people hold some beliefs that contradict the beliefs held by others.
In addition to all people holding beliefs that contradict the beliefs of others, most people also hold beliefs that contradict other beliefs within their own minds. Whenever a person believes in contradictory ideas, not all of that personís ideas can be true.
With that in mind, you can see that everyone on Earth has a different set of ideas about the truth, and at best, only one person could possibly have beliefs that are all true. Since there are billions of people on the planet, itís unlikely that any one personís beliefs are all true. Instead, itís extremely likely that all of us hold some beliefs that are false.
Contradictory beliefs that are caused by different perceptions of reality and different interpretations of information are generally easy to resolve and create relatively minor conflicts. Contradictions learned during childhood training, however, are often times difficult to resolve and may contribute toward conflicting forces between large networks of people. One of the primary objectives of this website is to introduce new ideas that help to reduce contradictions caused by false training information.