“What is the truth?” is an age-old philosophical and postmodern question. In college, students—at one point in their scholarly lives—have been asked this, and they could end up questioning their core beliefs.
For example, history dictates that a dictator is evil. They’ve shed so much blood to fill the oceans. They’ve pocketed the nation’s money enough for generations of wealth. However, accounts that state their governance has brought the country progress exists. In these stories, the dictator is a hero, and like other storytellers, their version of history sounds compelling an equally real.
Which one’s the truth?
The truth is objective.
Two people can experience the same thing and perceive the event differently. Both perceptions are accurate to their narrative. It doesn’t mean that the other is wrong. Ultimately, not everything is black and white. There are gray areas where people compromise and reach an agreement.
It’s like believing that every single person convicted of a crime is guilty—that no innocent person has ever been persecuted—because this is what the law states. It’s either legal or illegal. This is false because an innocent person faces the punishment of the law every day. This is why criminal attorneys in Long Island work with the justice system to ensure that the state follows the due process of law and respect human rights.
Memory is untrustworthy
Maybe a person can recall an account with perfect imagery, in full detail, no holds barred, but this doesn’t mean it’s all true. Our eyes can deceive us, and our brains can make us believe what it wants us to think. Recalling memories leaves a lot of room for revision. According to Robert Nash in an article in The Independent, “what we believe is true or wish were true, to what someone else told us about the event, or what want the person to think” all contribute to how we remember memories.
If everything were black and white, left and right, right and wrong, it reprieves certain realities.
Every person has their version of the truth, and their experiences influence this. In a third world country undergoing quarantine, people cannot just “stay home,” no matter how the government makes it an ultimate rule. Technically, going out to make a living is “wrong” and “against the rules.” However, this is not the truth for low-income families who will starve after a day of staying home, making quarantine a privilege.
Privilege affects a lot of how people grow up—their environment, life experiences, and upbringing. A person from opulence grows up without lifting a finger to buy a toy while a person from the working class will have to work day-and-night to get what they want. Staying home during a crisis is easy for the former, while the latter will have to choose between starvation or risking their lives. Hence, the black-and-white narrative works against the latter.
Find the middle ground.
Sometimes, paying attention to the gray areas is essential. Several things in this world affect what we may think of as black and white or right and wrong.