Friday, June 11, 2010

Truth and the Right of the Individual

Truth can be divided into two subcategories, subjective and absolute (objective). Subjective truth lies in the mind of the beholder, much as beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Absolute truth, or Truth with a capital “T,” is undisputable and based upon fact. In the decimal number system, 2 + 2 = 4—only a fool would argue otherwise. However, people often mistake subjective truth for absolute truth. For example, religious truth, although considered by the faithful to be absolute truth, is actually subjective truth. This concept is a crucial component of the Right of the Individual.

Assumedly, all humans accept the Truth because it is undisputable and based upon fact. If they do not accept the Truth, persuasion or education can cure their doubt. If a person is convinced 2 + 2 = 22 (in the decimal number system), a quick and easy mathematics lesson will enlighten him/her. Subjective truth, on the other hand, cannot be controlled so easily.

What is truth to one may not be truth to another. For example, blind people perceive the world with their remaining senses, creating their own subjective truth. Sighted people, able to use all 5 senses, will have a very different perceptive subjective truth. Neither the blind nor the sighted person has a monopoly on perceptive truth. They are both equally right. Subjective truth is as true as the individual makes it, and for blind people, lack of sight is indisputably true.

The Individual has a Right to his/her subjective truth. This Right deserves equal reverence as the famous Rights to Life, Liberty, Property, and Pursuit of Happiness. This Right may only be taken away if one’s subjective truth presents a clear and present danger of taking away another person’s rights; or will cause harm to oneself and/or others. Hitler’s subjective truth regarding Jews is unacceptable. Apart from these extreme situations, subjective truth merits tolerance.

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