Monday, July 10, 2006

Thoughts on truth

I recently finished partly reading Why Truth Matters, an exhausting philosophical look at why our society urgently needs objective truth.

What puzzled me was that I was reading familiar arguments for absolute objective truth, from a secular humanistic point of view.

Tres strange!

In particular this quote caught my attention:

"...[E]nquiry, curiosity, interest, investigation, explanation-seeking, are hugely important components of human happiness. This doesn't seem to be a terribly popular thought right now. Public rhetoric tends to aim much lower, for some reason. It seems to see us all as hunkered down, and settling. Settling for minimal, parochial, almost biological satisfactions - family, safety, money. But that underestimates us. We want more than that. We want to ask questions, we want to learn, we want to understand. That's a very human taste and pleasure. ... It seems a waste not to use human capacities and abilities. Anyone can settle for just survival and reproduction and comfort, but we can do more. That's a privilege - and it seems a kind of sacrilege not to use it."

They're facing the same problem faced by philosophers in the 19th century. Remove God from the equation, you can do that with your head, but your heart still wants something sacred. And if you're removed the source of all sacredness, all you have are more questions. And questions only get you so far.

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