“It’s all relative”. – A relative.
Demolition brings a draft
Five years ago, I decided it was time for spiritual and intellectual remodeling. I was more excited for the demolition than the rebuilding. My faiths and philosophies were flimsy and distorted. And they needed to go. So I picked up my proverbial wrecking bar and went to town. It was my life and I was determined to search for truth on my own.
Subjectivism swept in once my beliefs were down. You’re probably familiar with its dispiriting lingo:
“Everything is relative”, “you do you man”, “that’s just your opinion”, “who do you think you are to tell me…"
and all the rest.
I swore I would be open-minded and fair and consider everything. And so I acknowledged more but knew less.
I found out that too much open-mindedness is like zero-gravity. Pretty soon aphoristic tweets and “Thou Shalt Not” begin to have the same weight.
At its finest, open-mindedness is like taking a walk in the fresh air. It’s healthy to get out of your head/house every so often. But you shouldn’t stay outside, enduring the elements under some kind of self-imposed banishment.
The turning point
But I digress. This advance of subjectivism was stopped once I realized the power of a simple question.
“Is that true?"
For example, imagine you encounter a relativist strain of argument that suggests
“Everything is subjective.”
“Is that true?”
If it is true - if everything is subjective, then you just stated an objective truth. And if you have an objective truth, all things cannot be subjective. Whoops!
The same applies for “There is no truth.” Ask, “Is that true?”. In either case, we’re immersed in truth.
Someone in my family recently said to me, “so you see Nate, everything is relative!”. In response I asked, “including that absolute statement?”
A nihilist declares that a universal truth does not exist to give purpose to human life. Yet while declaring this, they affirm the very universal truth they are denying.
This is not to say that these examples answer or explain every question about truth. Just that it exists. And even a small truth is enormous in the void of subjectivism.
Demolition took about a week but rebuilding has taken years. Most of that time I wondered if a foundation of truth existed.
Having found some, my bet is there is a lot more of it out there. I find that comforting.
Once you know that truth exists, even a small truth, everything is forever changed. The world is alive with wonder and meaning, and you have an open invitation to discover more.
Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash