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Issue B: Truth in Time

The etymology of the word Truth comes from old english trīewth, trēowth faith fulness, constancy’ . The essence of truth into our language, culture, and perception first arrived in the 14th century with an extended meaning of accuracy and correctness.

It is especially interesting to see the word ‘constancy’ as part of truths etymology as it gives it a temporal quality. In other words an element of truth is staying the same through a sustained period of time.

However, can one be factually correct through a long period of time? Shouldn’t ‘truth’ move within the context of time? Time gives us more moments of exploration and discovery. Furthermore, we love learning new things, finding new ideas, and creating new things. Therefore, as time passes our truth changes based on the discovery of new information, it cannot be fixed. For example, we once thought the world was flat, we had confidence and evidence of this ‘truth’.

This theory made perfect sense for that moment in time. Our perception would tell us that everything on earth was ‘flat’ otherwise how could we walk, our eyes told us that the horizon looked like it had a definitive end. We also had not discovered gravity, so it would not have made sense that we would be able to exist in a sphere that had an ‘upside down’. Therefore, Galileo through his curiosity and imagination invited a new instrument that gave us vision beyond our eyes. With the telescope he was able to shed new insight on our planet, however this was completely against the perception of the time. Therefore how we perceive truth does not lie in facts alone, it is also contextual.

So what is truth? We think its related to coherence. Coherence is the quality of being logical and consistent. It is more about whether the orchestration of different elements come together in a sensical manner in a relation to a specific context.

For example, a street has coherence through its different elements that relate to its context. There are cars, road signs, stop lights, pavement, people, etc. If instead of having pavement, there was grass, the coherence of the street would diminish, in this context that element would not make sense.

In relation to cognition, part of how we process information is that we relate it to an existing schema, as per the street. Then we would assess if a certain element made sense. If it doesn’t then we deem it as non-truth or lie.

This phenomena has always been the case — from the time Galileo was laughed at and considered a liar, because a round earth made no sense,  to present time where some people think scientists are lying about climate change. Even in small interactions many times we misjudge people who we think are lying, because what they are saying doesn’t fit with our biases or narratives or visa versa.

Truth is subjective and it changes with time.

 


We are excited to have recently published our second issue of THECUBE‘s magazine, with contributions from both members and friends. For this issue we have been looking at the thematic of ‘TRUTH’. This article by fellow Cuber – Araceli Camargo, is just one of the many that can be found in the magazine. If you would like to read the entire magazine please click here. We hope you will enjoy it, and feel free to get in touch if you are interested in contributing to our next issue for more details.