This evening our Socrates Cafe question was, “Should we be concerned with truth?” The other suggestions for the discussion were: “What is emotional intelligence?” “What is the antidote to greed?” Are the truths of, Science, Religion, Philosophy etc. circular.” “What does success look like?”
We had eleven people in attendance, which is a good number for having a conversation about such questions. The basic variations of truth were considered in some depth, the Big T Truths, and the little t truths. The varieties of truths from interpersonal ones, to public ones, to philosophical ones, but the most traction seemed to be on the religious ones because they were so compelling to so many people. The various religions have their truths which are often in direct contradiction to other religions truths and that leads to unending and unresolvable conflicts.
There was a little discussion of scientific truths and a bit of sentiment stated that those truths are constantly changing and therefore can’t be trusted. I countered that argument with a statement that the arguments that the public hears about are about details. There is deep agreement about most scientific wisdom. I spoke of comparing most people’s concept of time based on the year and the necessity of adjusting the clocks because of variations in the rotation speed. I then mentioned the ability of scientists working with time to measure it with to a trillionth of a second accuracy, which is far more accurate than Earth-based time.
Comparing scientific controversy over issues to religious controversy over issues was discussed and came down to comparing questions of testable facts to statements of untestable veracity. Science is about natural reality and religion is about human projections of what projected reality might be.
Those arguments are probably fun to talk about and unresolvable. We all had a good time. Sometimes at the end of our facilitated conversations, we have an open discussion for a half hour and tonight we followed that with a round-robin one minute personal summary by each person.
My short statement was: “What truths are important?” My answer was those truths that will hurt us if we get them wrong. And, what would be those kinds of truths? If we do things that will injure our body or mind the violation of those truths about our physical and mental health will hurt us. Most people die of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Therefore, how to prevent or cope with those diseases are the truths we should be most concerned with.
My answer to big T Truth may not sound philosophical like “What is the meaning of life?” but it has more impact than endless words.