Member Rara Avis
because our minds can simply not outstrip our heart Ö
Separation of thought and feelings is like trying to separate the water from the river. Remove one or the other, and nothing is left. Rivers are water, and feelings are thought. Both thought and feeling originate in the brain, not in the heart. Else, getting a heart transplant from Mary would have profound effects on my social life.
Truth #1 - You are able to breathe normally right now because the room where you sit has air and oxygen. This kind of truth falls under the same umbrella as "the sky is blue" or "that chair has four legs." It is an empirical truth.
Truth #2 - The movement of molecules in a gas (like that air you're breathing right now) is non-random, but determined by the very complex (and little understood) mechanics of Chaos Theory. We cannot determine the path of any single molecule, but we can "predict" the path of a group of molecules. The larger the group, the more precise our prediction will be. We know, for example, that there is a statistical possibility that every oxygen molecule in your room will simultaneously boom, bounce, careen its way into the kitchen - in which case, you will asphyxiate in, oh, about two minutes. Fortunately, you have a much better chance of winning the lottery in all 50 states on the same day than you do of suffocating in your office.
Truth #1 is an empirical truth, but because of Truth #2, it isn't an absolute truth. I honestly don't know if absolute truth exists, but I am fairly convinced, if it does, it is likely beyond our perceptions and probably beyond our understanding. Physics rather strongly suggests that every possible empirical truth is really, like the air in your room, a statistical truth. Two plus two equals four MOST of the time (but not within the event horizon of a singularity), so we call it a Truth.
Empirical truths make life livable. I don't keep an oxygen tank next to my bed at night, because I assume all those air molecules are going to stick around just as they have for the past 52 years. Of course, a single oxygen tank wouldn't necessarily disrupt my life, but if I started taking precaution for ALL the statistical truths that aren't absolute truths, I'd never find time to actually live. The air will remain breathable, the sun will come up, and gravity will continue to make me pay for all that chocolate I've been eating. Without some faith in those truths, life would be very different and probably quite impossible.
I really see no valid reason why subjective truth shouldn't be treated the same as empirical truth.
A subjective truth can never be an absolute truth, but that doesn't mean it can't still be useful. Ethics is necessarily subjective, but there seems to be statistical support for "Honesty is the best policy." Accepting that as a "truth" makes life a little easier to live. When situations arise that otherwise present no easy response, falling back on ethical precepts like honesty is often the only answer available. Indeed, I suspect that most of us depend on subjective truth to make life livable every bit as much as we depend on empirical truth.
Truth, in short, is what works. No truth, empirical or subjective, is ever absolute, so we can never be quite certain it will always work. And, because no truth is ever absolute, all truths should occasionally be questioned and possibly reassessed. Not to make them less of a truth, but to perhaps make them more useful.
Jim, the artist you're thinking of was Vincent van Gogh. And while that's not an absolute certainty, I'm pretty sure it's the truth.