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Pursuit of Truth

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posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 08:51 PM
In my opinion, Jefferson should have included the pursuit of truth along with the pursuit of happiness, life, and liberty. Although I suppose it would have been included under liberty, in his view. This thread is about the pursuit of truth.

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.

-Albert Einstein

But what tree are they branches of? The truth, or at least the pursuit of it. They are just different branches of the same search for the truth. Different ways of figuring out the same questions?
What? Science, Journalism, etc.
How (do things work)? Answered by various disciplines of science.
Why (advanced questions about the nature of reality and existence)? Philosophy, Spirituality, and Religions.
What (is good)? Art, the debates over what is really good, or at least what we subjectively believe is favorable.

Einstein may have been talking about the tree of intellect, or human intelligence. But then we must consider this quote:

Two things are infinite: The universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.

Einstein was a genius, and like most geniuses he was eccentric. He also had a sense of humor.

So was he talking about intellect or the pursuit of truth? I think he was referring to the latter. The only objective qualities for 'good' or more accurately 'noble' are service to others, and honesty (obviously IMO, as all things are).
Although everyone likes to think the past was a 'simpler time', it wasn't. The truth was elusive at all times in history. Maybe Jefferson thought that the truth was even more elusive than happiness? Maybe he genuinely believed that it was impossible to find? Maybe he knew that it was contradictory to 'the pursuit of happiness'? I might agree with that.

Anyway, my point is that I believe the pursuit of truth is the most noble dedication in life. If someone is dedicated to the truth all other good things follow.

Believe those who seek the truth, doubt those who find it; doubt all, but do not doubt yourself.


edit on 19-9-2010 by time91 because: image format

posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 09:18 PM
Excellent thread! S & F!

Other notable quotes on truth from our founders

Ben Franklin - Half a truth is often a great lie
George Washington - Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.

And more from Albert Einstein

The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.

In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.

If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.

The last from Einstein, I think is my favorite. Truth is, more often than not, the simplest explanation and should be described in the simplest terms, and not disguised by flowery language.

Do you think the realization of truth is only accomplished through examination by the mulit-pronged tests of the three branches of the tree?

Good luck in your own pursuit!

edit on 19-9-2010 by WTFover because: excerpt format and add next to last sentence

posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 09:22 PM
reply to post by time91

I think since the Enlightenment it's recognized that there is only a noble search for the truth.
In the humanities I suppose truth is a temporary victory for whosoever argues the best, and knows how to use rhetorical techniques.
Allegedly, in the priviledged discourses of the exact sciences like chemistry, truth is a repeatable, observable fact. But isn't that conflating material facts with metaphysical "truth"?
To paraphrase a quote by Chruchill I saw in a bookshop yesterday:
"Some men stumble on the truth, but they quickly pick themselves up and carry on as normal".

posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 09:24 PM
reply to post by WTFover

Nice quotes.

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

I remember reading this one. I think its very applicable, similar to the 'believe the man who seeks the truth, doubt the man who finds it' quote. I also did use brainyquote to make sure I got the wording correct on the quotes I was thinking of. Its a fun site to read through.

Do you think that Jefferson should have included the pursuit of truth along with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 09:26 PM

Originally posted by time91
Two things are infinite: The universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.

I'm not sure if being called stupid by Einstein should make me feel insulted or not.

he was good people, and if anyone says any differently they are a better liar than i am.


posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 09:26 PM
reply to post by time91

I guess I would question the ability to achieve happiness, without truth.

posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 09:35 PM
reply to post by halfoldman

Ha I like that quote by Churchill.
I have actually had a lot of arguments recently about science's ability to describe absolute truth anymore than philosophy. For instance, you can not prove that laws of the universe don't change. Therefore repeating a series of tests only proves that the results were true at that time, not always. I will say that science has a better ability to predict probability, and if there is a limit to probability then there is absolute truth.

reply to post by WTFover

Aha, I agree for myself. But is that true for all people?

reply to post by Esoteric Teacher

Einstein was good people. No lie here.

edit on 19-9-2010 by time91 because: reply other posts

posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 09:59 PM
Good post, and I agree. Here are two things I have learned in my World Religions class that may be of some relevance to this thread.

1st, In Hinduism there are literally thousands of stories and writings, some of which are called 'Vedas' (equivalent to Bible scriptures and gospels), and none are more important than another making them all equally important. The reason for this being true, in their eyes, is that everything holds a certain level of truth so nothing is to be left out, altered or removed. If it is, than there is the risk of losing some of the truth.

2nd, In Buddhism, the main philosophy and/or teaching that Buddha Gautama taught, was that all beings are trapped in a cycle of suffering called rebirth (Samsara) and the only way to transcend, or go beyond, this cycle of suffering is to first fully actualize that the truth of suffering exists.

The search for truth is very important in both these religions, as it is in all religions, which is why so many people originally sought to cling to them. However, it is unfortunate that many of the religions of our world, including the two I just mentioned (although maybe not as much as others), have also fallen into the deceitful and ignoble hands of the desire for propagation and control over their followers. But it should be said that science is also just as guilty of this as they are. In the end, all that matters is the truth, for only it will advance and liberate our species. How it is found, is irrelevant.

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” - Galileo

posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 10:08 PM
reply to post by LifeIsEnergy

Aren't the Vedas supposedly the oldest scriptures in any religion? I remember watching a history channel documentary about them. They were the ones containing stories about very ancient wars, I think?

Anyway, if all we have to do is realize we are suffering in a cycle of rebirth, then I'm down to get out of it. I doubt its that simple. But buddhism is something I've been meaning to study, just haven't had the time unfortunately.

posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 10:26 PM
reply to post by time91

The truth of this planet is protected by madness and death,a far more sane pursuit is to find out what the truth is not the rabbit warren is deep enough to explore to get to what the truth is not without getting to assylum and abbatoir depths.

posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 11:12 PM
reply to post by time91

Yes you are correct, it is believed that the Vedas are the oldest religious 'scriptures' known to man.

And realizing that suffering exists is only the first part towards reaching liberation (nirvana). As you said it is much more complicated than just that, as in order to truly realize the extent of your human condition and depth of suffering, you must fully put into practice and follow the 'ways/path of enlightenment' (Dharma), which is not easy (especially in this society today). One of the first teachings of the Dharma is about transcending your desires, which are what lead to all your suffering, and once you begin to study how much your mind is immersed in desire and how attached you are to these desires, you will quickly realize how deep your suffering is and how hard it is to transcend. Imo, Buddha Gautama's teachings are actually very simple and logical, but practicing them and fully actualizing them are the difficult part. It takes a lot of devotion and discipline that most are not willing to give, but if one seeks the truth of how to end their constant cycle of suffering, life after life after life, than Buddhism is a very great tool. Especially since things continuously are getting worse here on Earth as time goes on. And if you find it too hard to do in this lifetime, just imagine how hard it will be in your next lifetime. Plus, the energy (the true you) that gives life to your body has already probably gave life thousands, if not millions, of time before to other beings and life forms, so in fact you have lived thousands/millions of lives before. Now you are lucky enough to gain the gift of life as a human who has intellectual capabilities to not only become aware of your own existence but also to contemplate that experience deeply and understand what it truly is.

"Ye who seeks, shall find"
"What you find may not be what you want, but nonetheless the truth will set you free."
"Control only creates more chaos, so let go, and go beyond..."

edit on 19-9-2010 by LifeIsEnergy because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 11:34 PM
reply to post by time91

This is Hell and since it is Hell there is no Escape. Where would you go to escape it anyway?There is only this Eternal Consciousness changing its content.If you realizie you are God then you exist as God and bear that burden. If you exist as Man you exist in limitation and seek God Knowledge.

posted on Sep, 20 2010 @ 12:50 AM
reply to post by LifeIsEnergy

Getting deeply into religion and philosophy can be both uplifting and depressing. Because after getting into one I become not convinced, but at least believe parts of it. But then many are contradictory, and I know some of what I believe must be wrong.

Having said that, you've piqued my interest in buddhism. The problem is because religions sometimes are portrayed as all or nothing they are accepted as being either 100% truth or completely false. You cannot look at the truth and similarities in all faiths and then try and figure out which are correct, unless you have an unorthodox view of faith, beliefs, etc. I guess ATS is the place to be for that.

The main similarity in all religions is that the telling is easier than the doing. Although that is true of everything.

edit on 20-9-2010 by time91 because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 20 2010 @ 09:00 PM
reply to post by time91

I agree with you about everything you said. Although I am not so sure Buddha Gautama would himself of said he had absolute knowledge over everything, in fact he regularly said he did not. He only said he found the path to end suffering, called the middle path, and his teachings solely reflect that. "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. " -Buddha . I think later on, other Buddhists added in their own beliefs as I believe disciples of all religions have. But unlike Jesus' teachings, at least I believe, Buddha Gautama's were not as tampered with or manipulated in order to create control or power over the people through religion. In fact that is totally against Buddhism's philosophy, which is why Buddha Gautama, who was born a Hindu, spoke out against the Hindu Caste system and ended up creating his own religion, which has many similarities to Hinduism, but also many strong differences. Buddhism is all about tolerance, so anyone, from any culture, any religion, any class, any gender, with any amount devotion, can study and practice it without being in fear of not being able to be 'saved'. In their minds, you will save yourself, and they are just offering a clear path to do so.

This is why I relate to and like Buddhism so much, for its core teachings make no large assumptions (like how the universe began...) as does the Abrahamic religions. They speak of no creator 'God', but are not necessarily atheist's for they do not make a claim there is no 'God', it just is something they believe is irrelevant in the quest to end suffering. They place all responsibility for their condition on themselves and so they do not co-sign to the ritual/sacrifice/worship of an outside deity as Hinduism or the Arbrahamic religions do. Coming from being raised as a Christian who believed in and feared God, to turning into an atheist who subscribed to science's explanation, to now not having any strong opinion on either but rather just an open mind, Buddhism is like a breath of pure oxygen. It allows me to have faith in more than just this cold world, and it gives me logical explanations (almost scientific like) for why things are the way they are. If it is something you are interested in, I suggest you start by reading Siddhartha Gautama's life story, and then read some of HIS teachings, and if they make sense to you then maybe study them in further detail and contemplate deeply on what he is saying. After that, then studying other Buddhists teachings will be much easier and allow yourself to decipher what is logical and what is not.

Here is a few links: (Buddha's Story) (a basic overview of his teachings) (Buddha's teachings/stories/quotes)

ps. If you have any questions or just want to talk about some ideas after reading through some of that, feel free to hit me up anytime. I usually check ATS at least once a day.

edit on 20-9-2010 by LifeIsEnergy because: ETA

posted on Sep, 22 2010 @ 09:44 PM
reply to post by LifeIsEnergy

Hey thanks for the links, I'm very busy right now but I will send you a message after I read through some of that. It may be around a week before I can unfortunately.

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