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'Personal Truth' and Solopsism

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posted on Aug, 20 2015 @ 08:38 AM
Let's get definitions out of the way first.

I don't think there is a set definition of "personal truth." My interpretation is the following:

Personal truth is what someone has come to believe as "true" for them or to them through individual experiences or insights.

Solipsism has a fixed definition:

a theory in philosophy that your own existence is the only thing that is real or that can be known

I'm a believer in personal truth. I think it's a very real and useful concept. The problem I have is when people state personal truth as absolute truth. (Please don't argue in this thread about whether or not absolute truth exists. The people I'm discussing here obviously do believe that absolute truth exists so whether it exists in reality is a red herring in this thread in my opinion.)

When do you know that someone is stating personal truth as absolute truth? In my experience, that usually happens when someone discusses how their personal truth is equal to absolute truth. Let's say we're discussing the topic, "Are apples red?" A color blind person (suffering from protanopia) that demanded that their personal truth was absolute truth would assert that apples aren't red because they've never seen a red apple.

I've seen the concept of personal truth as absolute truth carried to unbelievable extremes. For example, I've heard people say (paraphrasing), "I know X, Y, or Z (as absolute truth) about Jesus based on my personal walk with him." I think that's absurd but I respect the concept of personal truth so as long as that belief stays in the realm of personal truth, I've got no problem with it.

The next step that sometimes happens is where solipsism comes in. Sometimes people that have a personal truth want to claim that it's absolute truth with no evidence offered at all (or insufficient evidence is offered to prove what they're arguing). At that point, they're expunging everyone else's right to have personal truth (or to express any possible absolute truth for that matter) and that is de facto solipsism.

Why? Because by stripping everyone else of the right to have their own personal truth (while claiming your personal truth is absolute truth), you're stating literally, "your own existence is the only thing that is real or that can be known." By shutting everyone else's personal truth (and any possible absolute truth) out like that, you're exhibiting solipsism, by definition.

And generally speaking, in my experience, once we get that far, don't even try discussing absolute truth with someone acting like a solipsist, that's going nowhere.
edit on 20-8-2015 by Profusion because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 20 2015 @ 09:38 AM
a reply to: Profusion
This is why religious and political ideologies have stunted our growth as a species, and have become deadly to anyone outside of those ideologies. They project their personal beliefs on everyone else to the point of death and destruction to anyone outside of their "truth".
The same can be said for those anti-theists who want to eradicate religion from the world. Wrong. Arguing atheism vs religion on ATS or other venues is one thing, but dictating someone elses personal beliefs to the point of legislating, or outlawing them is something else altogether.

posted on Aug, 20 2015 @ 10:48 AM
a reply to: Profusion

If we look at the reactions of children I think we can define some forms of absolute truth.

If you take something from a young child, the child cries, as they feel that something has been stolen from them. Therefore taking away something that belongs to others is wrong. This is an absolute truth even in the eyes of children.

If a child who is unprovoked strikes another child, either they fight or the one who is struck in flight cries. Therefore the act of stirking another unprovoked is wrong. The absolute truth is unprovoked violence is wrong.

If you tell a child you will buy them something or take them somewhere they will get upset if you fail to do what you said. The absolute truth is lying is wrong.

Children don't need to be directly taught these things are wrong. They only need to experience being stolen from, lied to are struck without cause to know these things are wrong. Because they can feel the negative emotional response.

Therefore the absolute truth is doing harm to others is wrong.

However, we have the amazing ability as parents and leaders to teach dissociation and self preservation.

Children are not born born racist. But racism can be taught to them. Racism causes dissociation and self preservation. Once a child is taught that another race is harmful they justify ignoring the law of do no harm to others because they have disassociated from the other race.

The racist now no longer see the opposite race as an equal but rather as something he must destroy to preserve himself. The same can be said about Nationalism, anti-gays, religious intolerance, or any other form of dissociation which causes you to purposely set yourself apart from others as an act of self preservation.

We are born with the inherent ability to understand that unjust harm is bad. We learn to dissociate from others with allows us to harm them. Through dissociation and self preservation we justify harming others.

If parents did not teach dissociation, children would only disassociate with those who actually harmed them. Learned dissociation is false self preservation. While dissociation from those who cause you harm is true self preservation.

So the last absolute truth is teaching children to dissociate with others because of race, religion, sexual orientation or any other false purpose of self preservation leads to justification against the absolute truth to do no unjust harm to others.

Looking at truth through the eyes of children is the best way to determine absolutes in my opinion. We learn too many things as we get older not to have our opinions affect what we determine as absolute.

edit on 20-8-2015 by Isurrender73 because: (no reason given)

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