Principle 63

This entry is part 60 of 98 in the series Principles

The Principle of Absolute and Relative Truth

Some say that truth is relative and others that it is absolute. What both do not realize is they are both correct from the vantage point from which they are looking.

Those who say truth is relative often give the example of the three blind men and the elephant. Each sees the elephant differently.

One blind man touches the leg says it’s like a tree, the second one touches the ear and says it’s like a carpet, and the third touches the trunk and says it’s like a large hose.

Because each man gave a different but accurate answer to what he perceived many maintain that truth is relative.

Those who claim that truth is absolute will give the example that 2+2=4. The answer is four and no other answer in the universe is true, proving that truth is absolute.

To the casual observer both examples of truth seem correct, but there is a difference between the two examples. We can only solve the dilemma of absolute and relative truth by discovering what that difference is, which is this.

Absolute truth is truth which is broken down to its basic indivisible element and correctly stated. Relative truth is a piece of information that is a part of something greater than itself yet the whole may be quite different than the part.

2+2=4 is absolute truth because it cannot be broken down into a more basic statement as far as math is concerned.

Now to feel an elephant’s leg and to state that it feels like a tree is a mistake in relativity. The blind man is assuming he is embracing the whole elephant yet he is only perceiving a small part. It is comparable to an alien landing in the Arctic and declaring that earth is an ice planet. Of course it is not. Yet it is an absolute truth that part of the planet is covered with ice. It is also absolutely true that the leg of an elephant is somewhat similar to the trunk of a tree.

Thus we see that what is called relative truth is in reality the observer merely mistaking a part for the whole. The blind man thought the leg was all there was to the elephant. This is not true and he was mistaken. He would have been correct if he said, “The part of the elephant I feel is like the trunk of a tree, but I am not sure if I am feeling the whole elephant.”

Other things identified as relative truth are merely mistaken perceptions or erroneous conclusions derived from perception. The earth looked like it was flat in ancient times so they assumed it was flat. Some sailors with better perception noted a slight curvature of the earth in the horizon of the sea and concluded the earth was round.

When it was finally proven that the earth was a globe the truth did not change. What changed was our perception of the truth. It is absolute truth that the earth was a globe in the days of Columbus as well as today.

As we fine-tune our perception and reasoning, it is the accuracy in which we see the truth, not the truth itself that changes.

A third argument for relative truth is the changing of circumstances. Today the high temperature may be eighty degrees and tomorrow it may be ninety. The argument is the truth has changed.

This is false reasoning. The truth has not changed but the circumstances have. The high temperature on this date of history will not change because tomorrow’s temperature will be different. Circumstances will be different tomorrow, but tomorrow’s change will not alter the truth of the events of today.

The bottom line is that relative truth is merely the result of relative word play. When the point of actual truth is discovered it will be found to agree with that profound statement from A Course in Miracles which says:

The truth is true and nothing else is true.

Two plus two equal four and it equals nothing else.

This does not mean that any should assume that he is free from being a victim to the illusion of relative truth. As we look for truth in all things all of us see only a piece of the elephant. We must all be aware that we do not see the whole truth but only a piece of the elephant. Even if we see that piece correctly we must consider that there may be other pieces that will greatly alter our concept of the complete truth. Openness to more truth is the key to moving forward.

There is no religion higher than truth.  P. Blavatsky

Copyright 2015 by J J Dewey

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