Distinguishing Between Truth & Belief
Here’s the instant college education. Back in ancient times, the early 60s when Baby Boomers were starting college, before the Hippy revolution, I was in my Intro to Philosophy class. The Professor drew our attention to three definitions of truth. 1 Correspondence–where the statement corresponds to observable facts, 2 Coherence–when the statement is compatible with other known and accepted statements, and 3 Pragmatic–when the statement lead to useful action. That made sense then, and it still does today, for me. And yet, I hope to enhance the notion of truth before the end of this blog post.
We think of a statement as either true or false. And yet, that may be too restrictive. Part of a statement could be true, and part false. “Santa Claus, who we all love, will come tonight while you are sleeping.” We know that the icon of Santa Claus will not come tonight, but the family that this is told to may all love that icon.
The Belief Gradient
Belief is altogether different from truth. Belief falls along a gradient from,
- “I really believe that’s so,”
- “I believe that’s likely the case,”
- “That might be so,”
- “I doubt that’s true, but it may be,”
- “I seriously doubt the truth of that statement,”
- “I just don’t believe it.”
It can pass through these stages. It’s good for us to know where we are on the gradient from one end or the other. So, it’s not about true and false, it’s about how strong is our belief or disbelief concerning the question.
Truth as Correspondence
“Seeing is believing,” falls under the big umbrella of the correspondence criteria of truth. Does the statement about a thing match the thing when we are looking at it? “Man, this car is so cherry, you won’t believe the low price.” And we’re looking at rust spots. We don’t believe the “cherry”; we do believe the low price. To go further into this, the statement is words, the experience in looking is nonverbal. we translate that experience into words. That translation can be manipulated by outside forces and influences. It’s called mind control, but it’s really more like mind influence.
David Hawkins made a profound discovery about muscle kinesiology testing. Power Versus Force is representative of his work and philosophy. (I should confess here, I have a hang-up on this procedure. It’s emotional, and may be derived from past life experience. Or not.) You may have seen this or have been subject to it when the facilitator pushes your arm down while you are holding it out to the side to determine baseline resistance. And then after giving you something to hold pushes again and finds that you are weaker, showing the thing you hold is negative. That’s the typical way this is done.
Hawkins found that he could muscle test people and find statements that are false by this method. Just holding a paper on which the false statement is written produced weakness. And I believe he took it even further than that. His work, if you accept it at all, leads to an overwhelming conclusion: falsehood makes us weaker. Just connect that dot with the utterance of William Casey, former CIA Director, that when everything Americans believe is a lie, the CIA would know they had succeeded. That’s controversial, but there is some reliable support for the story. And why would the Intelligence Services want Americans to be physically and emotionally weaker? I don’t have that answer.
When we hear something, we consider the source. Some people in our lives are more reliable than others. There may be a conflict between “consider the source” and ad hominum argument, which is considered a fallacy. But, if someone is known to us as a purveyor of false news, we get out the Himalayan Pink salt and take a small crystal of it. On the other hand, we can’t disprove a statement by citing previous bad track record. It’s doubt, empirically, but not complete condemnation as far as argument is concerned.
We may feel that someone has an agenda. Certainly the car salesman has an obvious agenda. And yes, we know that will slant his statements in a way that makes is offer seem good. Out in the world beyond our immediate persona interaction, we get many statements, both from commercial sources as marketing messages, and from thought leaders. They have agendas. We do not always know what they are when looking at influencers of opinion.
Long ago I was reading the story of a psychic named Arthur Ford. He said he could easily hear when someone was lying. I felt regret when I read that because I did not have that ability. But, later I discovered I had an ability which was, possibly, more valuable. I began to notice that when I promulgated a political opinion or commented as to historical detail, that, while I believed the statement was true (at the time) it did not sound right. It sounded “tinny.” Gradually I began to believe I could detect falsehood, even unintentional when it came out of my mouth. It just did not ring of truth.
Add Economy in coaching with few words: Little Book of Talent.
The truth of visual images in media versus physical.
Emotional truth: how you really feel and identifying the emotion.