I’ve been pondering the concept of absolute truths for some time now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that, in this postmodern world, there really aren’t any absolute truths, except perhaps those that can be proven through science.
In the world of postmodern thought, we each create our own reality. Our truths, destiny, morals, and values are our own, and nobody can disprove them as untrue. If we like, we are free to believe that life is essentially meaningless; that we are on this earth for the same reason animals are here: to be born, to survive, to reproduce, to raise our young, and to die, and once we are dead, our bodies decay and that’s it. We can alternately believe that life on earth is only the first step (or one step) in an eternal journey. Maybe we go to heaven or hell after we die. Maybe we are reincarnated. Maybe we watch over the earth as a spirit guide after we pass on.
I personally like to find meaning in things; I don’t like believing that there is nothing of real substance or truth in the world. I try to find the truth. I remember reading in some old book that the word “truth” cannot be modified; that is, you cannot say something is “very true” or “not as true” because things either are true or they are not true. There are no shades of gray. I do believe that truth is no longer just black or white. What is true to someone maybe false to another person, and what is absolutely true to another may only be partially true to someone else.
We can no longer say, for instance, that “Christianity is the one true religion” of the United States, or that Christian values are the only true values. Many people are vehemently opposed to those statements. We cannot say that Christianity (or any other religion) holds absolute truths and values, because there are plenty of people who do not follow the value and belief system of Christianity.
Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, said (or maybe someone else said it first and it was later attributed to him) something to the effect of, “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” In a way, I think that is how a lot of our modern “truths” come to be. Perhaps they are not really true, but they are statements that someone or some entity wants us to believe are true. Maybe the “truths” that really were true died out or became unpopular and were replaced with lies a long time ago.
Thus, it is important for each of us to search for our own meaning in the world, and I think that’s part of how the school of postmodern thought came about: the extinction of absolute truths. We must find the truth for ourselves, or else we may believe in “truths” that are not true at all, but are lies perpetuated by the government, the media, society, etc.
In a way, I do lament the lack of absolute truths in the world (or at least in America) today. But with so many different belief systems, moral codes, etc., I no longer think it is possible for there to be any type of absolute truth. We are living in a postmodern society, for better or for worse.
To thine own self be true. –Polonius, from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet