Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The art of the "truth."

"Artists use lies to tell the truth. Yes, I create lies, but because you believe them, you find something true in yourself."

I am an artist.

Lately, I've been contemplating the meaning of the truth. I've always seen truth as "reality," or that which exists before my very eyes. I viewed truth from a very objective standpoint, narrow, and for the most part, unchangeable.

I'm seeing more and more how variable truth can be, and how one's perception of the truth can change both the meaning and outcome of the situation entirely. I, for one, try to keep an upbeat and positive attitude in check with everything I do; is it true that I am an optimist? I realize more and more that this is entirely unanswerable, because it is subjective and in subjectivism (if that's a word...) there is little or no truth.

What replaces truth, in a subjective situation, is perception and feeling toward the situation. Through feeling one may find truth; though, not about the situation, only about the feeling.

Go back to the quote there, at the beginning. Few people tell the truth; not because they are liars, but because there is little truth to be had in much of what we do. Truth beams at us through subjects such as math, and to a degree, science; truth shines through proven objects and ideas. However, what about the rest? Consider an opinion; can an opinion be true? I would argue yes and no. Opinion is untrue in that it is not fact; however, an opinion can be true if it accurately reflects the feelings and ideas of the person holding the opinion. Your opinions may not be true for me, nor mine for you. So how do we go on judging truth as though it's a fundamental part of life?

I would say that, for a large part of my life, I've searched for "truth." I've studied math and science in a great search for truth. I've abandoned belief in "God," because religion is not true to me. I've also separated myself from philosophy and unproven theory for the same reason: my inability to find truth.

But why is finding truth so important?

Anything can become a lie, no matter how "true" it may be, if the sayer of the phrase lacks belief in it. A phrase so simple (yet complex) as "I love you" can turn from ultimate truth into one of the most beautiful lies in existence. And, if the audience is to believe the phrase, the lie so to speak, he or she may find truth in themselves. Truth inevitably and invariably becomes an object of perception, then--is this possible? Is it possible to use a lie to tell the truth? Yes, because although I do not perceive something as true, when I share it with you, it may become true for you.

In speaking the "truth," then, it may be more considerable to one's audience to consider the outcome rather than the factual evidence that may or may not back up one's claim. How will the other person perceive the "truth;" will they find it to be true?

I love you, I love you, I love you; if I mean what I say then it is truth to me; if you fail to believe it, then it is false. If, however, I say it without meaning, but you believe it in good faith, then it is true to you but untrue to me. From an outsider's perspective, then, is it true or untrue? Arguably, it is from a subjective standpoint, and there is no room for truth aside from the truth which each of the participants finds in the phrase and moreover the implications of the phrase.

In other words, what is true to me may be untrue to you, and not even a matter of truth to a third party.

Therefore, aside from proven fact, what place does truth have in our lives? I have come so far, at least in my current state, to be able to argue that truth either doesn't exist in the subjective world, or does not matter in many situations, especially those based on perception rather than data. I don't know if I'm right here (what is "right," anyway?), and for one of the first times in my life, I'm enjoying being in this state of contemplation.

Until next time, be an artist. I know I am.