Truth has an interesting quality: it both compels and repels. It compels people to it that people adore it and want it around, but at the same time it repels people because it is hard and sharp and seeks to pry out anything that wants to stand in its way. The truth stares pointedly, but not accusingly, it is simple and yet complex, easy to grasp but hard to hold. Truth requires diligence and determination less it be corrupted by lies and used to abuse and restrain rather than free people which is what truth is meant to do.
Truth has certain requirements and insists on them. Truth has to be coherent, it has to be easily understandable, but that doesn’t mean it has to be fully understandable to be accepted. Truth has to be consistent, it can’t vary over time. Truth has to be direct, it has to start and move someone toward a goal. Consider this statement: white is white. White has the distinct quality of being white. White is not black, blue, green, red, orange or yellow, yet those colors are meaningless and even invisible without white. It is consistent across cultures and time and lasts, seemingly, longer than any other color. Now, whether or not you agree with those observations, is there any reason to believe that they are not true? You may not want them to be true, but does your desire, alone, make them not true, or does their truth depend on the qualities that make truth verifiable? I think that is the problem, whether or not something is verifiable, and whether or not we can trust what makes it verifiable or not.
Charles Darwin, when he was formulating his General Theory of Evolution, posed a question that threatened to undo the whole thing: if the brain he was using to formulate his hypothesis had truly evolved from a lower species, how could he trust any conclusions it came to since it was most certainly going to evolve into something else? It is a scary thought to think about, that your thoughts are not trustworthy, that your thoughts could be a deception, a ghost in the machine. But what if that is not the case? What if all of the evidence said that your thoughts are trustworthy, that would, of course, depend on the evidence, and that would of course depend on the mind considering the evidence. If Darwin had doubts about the thoughts he was having, isn’t that enough to give one pause? It certainly gives me pause, because what if his doubts were true? If they were true then most certainly every claim made by him was most certainly false. If they were false, then to believe them is indeed foolishness in the first degree because no one person can know whether or not they were true because you would have to believe that every assertion could necessarily be false.
But what if there is another option, one that says there is truth, that it is verifiable because it was designed to be that way. That thought can definitely push people into a frightening direction, because if it is true then, ladies and gentlemen, we most certainly have a problem.