Is ‘Truth’ Just a Nice Idea?

A defense of absolute reality against (some of) its skeptics

Luan Hassett


Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

Ego is everywhere. There is ego in the enjoyment of one’s own appearance, in the wish to be seen as smart, in the telling about one’s likes, dislikes, opinions and upbringing. Ego swells in the desire to be a good person.

Perhaps there is no greater ego trip than being a ‘truth teller.’ A red pill dispenser. Speaking truth to power, “going after” liars and quacks, exposing corruption. Consider that God is omniscient, while there is no mention of his looks or physical strength. The idea of ‘truth’ being vested in certain individuals has tended to be conducive toward cults and dictatorships.

So we agree that the notion of truth has its dangers. Every red pill is followed by a blue pill. With that out of the way, and the stage finally cleared …

Of course truth exists.

The fact that you are conscious is real. It is irreducibly true. The “it could just be an illusion” escape does not work here, for an illusion is something that occurs within consciousness. It follows that statements based on the character of consciousness, eg “that hurts” or “I’m sad,” are also true.

‘Knowledge’ vs ‘Truth’