I’m working on a theory. This theory is a creeping belief of mine that is slowly being reinforced through experience and perspective. The problem is
that I’m not an expert in mathematical proofs, logic, or philosophy. This theory could be nothing more than a flame-broiled new-age belief given
birth to by my naivety and ignorance. Luckily, this is a place where such ideas can be denied!
My theory is that all things can be true simultaneously. Not only can
all things be true at the same time; they are!
I look at this theory as an exercise in finding truth. I hope someone can help me develop it, or help me squash it, because it’s really bugging me
trying to figure this out and wrap my head around it.
We live in a reality governed by the semblance of duality. Dual thinking: day and night, right and wrong, 1 and 0. It makes sense. We need a way to
distinguish differentiating states and conditions. We need to be able to recognize the difference between something like “safe” and
“dangerous” to act appropriately to these conditions. We can’t very well tell someone, “Hey, that rattlesnake might be safe, but it might also
be dangerous.” Such unifying, singular thinking isn’t very helpful—even if both conditions of the rattlesnake are simultaneously true (it is
both potentially safe and potentially dangerous at the same time.)
Now, there is a logical axiom called “The law of (non-)contradiction.” It simply means that “something can’t be, and not be” at the same
time—just ask Hamlet.
It states that contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time, e.g. the two propositions "A is B" and "A is not
B" are mutually exclusive.
The snake has to be one or the other, safe or dangerous, at any given time, to agree with this logical proof. To compound the confusion, what happens
if the snake I saw curled up in the corner was just a length of coiled rope after closer inspection. I sure got myself all anxious, sweaty, and
heart-pounding for nothing then!
At some point I saw the shape and thought, “Okay, it’s either a snake, or a rope” and had to pick one so that I could respond to it.
I think it’s fair to say there are varying degrees of truth and what’s true or false at any moment—it’s all open to interpretation at the hand
of the individual who is observing and analyzing it.
Now, there are distinguishing definitions between subjective and objective truths. My theory, that all things are true simultaneously, falls back on
the safety net of subjective truths. Its very nature would suggest that there is no such thing as objective truth.
Let me give an example: some people think I’m a nice fellow, while others might think I’m a jerk. What determines which of these conditions is
true?—the number of people casting their vote? Even if 10 people think I’m nice, and only 5 still say I’m a jerk, aren’t both opinions true at
the same time?
Is there even any objectivity in such an assessment? Or is it totally dependent on subjective analysis?
Now, before you accuse me of saying that we should just drop all empirical truths found through scientific method because of the subjective nature of
truths, I will expound on my theory/belief in hopes of clarifying and articulating myself adequately.
I could be a nice fellow and a non-nice fellow at the same time just as the snake could both be dangerous and safe at the same time, right? I think,
yes. So what does that say about the law of (non-)contradiction? What is going on at that point where the snake is both a potential threat, or a
potential non-threat? Any quantum physics buffs out there?
Alright, now let’s consider this: One person believes in say, aliens, and another disbelieves in aliens. Can aliens exist and not exist at the same
time? Is there an objective and/or subjective truth in here?
Through the power of subjectivity, both conditions are true:
To the believer: aliens exist, he/she saw them and interacted with them, took a ride in their space ship, and received a message of galactic peace.
To the disbeliever: aliens don’t exist, there’s no physical evidence or credible testimony, and all cases are satisfactorily debunked.
Which one here is objective truth? Does it come down to another vote? What if the votes shift over time, shift in light of new evidence, or shift in
popular opinion etc? Does that mean an underlying objective truth was just turned upside down—or was it all just subjective every step of the way?
What if aliens show up tomorrow? Who is right and wrong in that scenario? Can the disbelievers still hold fast and find some basis for disbelieving in
(This example is not intended to fuel a debate between alien believers and alien skeptics. It’s just an example for illustrative purposes. I am not
advocating a position one way or the other.)
Consider the above question with a situation that has already been overturned; oh, just off the top of my head, how bloodletting was at one time
believed to “release the evil demons and sin” from one’s body (a very popular opinion taken for granted that is now laughable.)
Here we’re caught up in that dualistic thinking again. Something must either be true or false at any given time.
When considering subjective truth—every single mind becomes a tool used to assess reality. On Earth alone, there are over 8 billion converging
realities existing simultaneously. There is plenty of room for disagreements and contradictions. Does that mean some people are right and some are
wrong due to there being some underlying objective truth?
What happens when we run into logical paradoxes that seem to challenge the law of (non-)contradiction (the proof that supports dualistic thinking.)
I give you the barber paradox to consider:
In a village, the barber shaves everyone who does not shave himself, but no one else.
The question that prompts the paradox is this:
Who shaves the barber?
No matter how we try to answer this question, we get into trouble.
The issue is that the barber can’t shave himself, and NOT shave himself—the conditions contradict themselves, but exist simultaneously.
Yes, it’s just a mental exercise that has little bearing on real events, but I hope it helps illustrate my dilemma— contradicting conditions can
exist simultaneously and continue to be true. The barber must shave himself, and must not shave himself at the same time. The question is unanswerable
in an objective manner.
I’m not convinced that dualistic-thinking is the only way to go. In fact, I think it’s entirely wrong.
I’ve already posited that some truths can only be decided through subjective interpretation; and that the contradictions can be simultaneously true
(Narco is a nice guy and a big jerk at the same time.)
If truth is in the eye of the observer for some things, why wouldn’t this be the case for ALL things?
Is each of us constantly casting a ballot of belief that shapes reality? Is truth a malleable entity? Is it possible that no one is ever wrong, just
While you consider how to answer my numerous questions, here are a few relevant quotes that are neat.
“Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” ~Shakespeare
The concept of up and down seems to make sense from an earthly or gravitational perspective, but if you are somewhere out in space, it suddenly
makes no sense at all. There is no up or down. The list of these polar opposites goes on and on, but they all have one thing in common—they are
often laced with judgement, and the need for resolution.
I hope I made sense! I look forward to discussing this with you folks.
edit on 31-7-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)