The nature of truth fascinates me.
Nietzsche says ‘There are no facts. Only interpretations.’
Following is a conversation from Cloud Atlas, a movie released in 2012 produced by Wachowski siblings (who also produced Matrix, one of my all-time favourites)
Archivist: On behalf of my Ministry and the future of Unanimity, I want to thank you for the final interview. Remember, this isn't an interrogation or trial. Your version of the truth is all that matters.
Sonmi-451: Truth is singular. Its "versions" are mistruths.
These two statements from Nietzsche and Sonmi-451 contradict each other. Is singularity of Truth its only defining quality?!
We can think about it in terms of examples.
A terrorist could be a freedom fighter.
Insanity could be a different reality. A more real reality, maybe.
Is truth really dependent on the number of people that believe it?
All these examples seem to support what Nietzsche said. But is that it?
Following is a scene from 1992 movie, My Cousin Vinny.
Vinny Gambini: Look, maybe I could have handled the preliminary a little better, okay? I admit it. But what's most important is winning the case. I could do it. I really could. Let me tell you how, okay? The D.A.'s got to build a case. Building a case is like building a house. Each piece of evidence is just another building block. He wants to make a brick bunker of a building. He wants to use serious, solid-looking bricks, like, like these, right?
[puts his hand on the wall]
Vinny Gambini: Let me show you something.
[he holds up a playing card, with the face toward Billy]
Vinny Gambini: He's going to show you the bricks. He'll show you they got straight sides. He'll show you how they got the right shape. He'll show them to you in a very special way, so that they appear to have everything a brick should have. But there's one thing he's not gonna show you.
[turns the card, so that its edge is toward Billy]
Vinny Gambini: When you look at the bricks from the right angle, they're as thin as this playing card. His whole case is an illusion, a magic trick. It has to be an illusion, 'cause you're innocent. Nobody - I mean nobody - pulls the wool over the eyes of a Gambini, especially this one. Give me a chance, one chance. Let me question the first witness. If after that point, you don't think that I'm the best man for the job, fire me then and there. I'll leave quietly, no grudges. All I ask is for that one chance. I think you should give it to me.
I realise that this could not make much sense to someone not having seen the movie already. A quick you tube search gives me this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvSTjvDYUk4
We also have Satyamev Jayate. Only truth prevails. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have faith in such a philosophy.
Interpretation is dependent on language. When I say “I am writing this blog”, I am already adhering to a convention of communication that assumes so much. What do I mean by “I” or “write” or “blog” can all be contested at philosophical level.
A good conclusion of this writing would be to drive some consistency between these two seemingly opposing perceptions on truth. A way of doing that could be to acknowledge existence of absolute truth and then say that it cannot be perceived or expressed.
Posted in: on Monday, May 12, 2014 at at 4:25 PM