Perception is an Individual's Self-Deception

The Problem of Truth

Truth, what is it? Can it be known? Is it possible for the perceptions of an individual to be synonymous with the actual truth? If not then, is truth relative to the individual and his perception? These are the questions of the inquiring postmodern mind. However, no matter how it is perceived the truth about an event is an absolutely confined and closed circuited matter. Whether or not I can perceive it correctly does not approve or negate the truth of the matter in any way. For the truth is extremely narrow and anyone event happened only one way no matter how it is perceived by its observers. As such perception is oftimes an individual's self-deception, not his truth.

The Post Modern Mind and the Need for Relativism

The postmodern mindset is a thought pattern that has an extreme distrust for the historiography handed down by the powers that be. They believe that what accounts we have been so manipulated by the reigning powers of the presiding regime that they are tainted; twisted variations of the truth. For instance, as young children in kindergarten, many Americans were taught to emulate the honesty of George Washington who allegedly confessed that he had cut down a cherry tree. In fact, this story seems to have been fabricated to teach children the value of honesty and telling the truth. Of course, there are much more pressing historical , philosophical and religious matters that beg for relief from exact dogmatism. So the postmodernist threw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. They decided that universal or absolute truth was impossible to know and dictated that localized truth was the only knowable truth. They surmised that perception is an individual's truth. In some cases, this sentiment was raised because of hypocricy in the church order; while in other cases the need for relativism was driven by a desire to live as one damn well pleased.

The Unfortunate Hijacking of Einstein's Theory of General Relativity

In order to anchor their premise in modern philosophical tones, the postmodern philosophers decided to hijack Einstein's Theory of General Relativity and wed it to their distrust for historical accounts of former events and the notion of absolute truth. The problem is: Einstein's two explanations of the light in a boxcar as well as perception of the movement of a boxcar are faulty. In the case of the movement of the boxcar, Einstein postulated that it was impossible for a person to properly perceive which of two box cars were moving without a third boxcar as a reference point. While I admit that I have had the exact experience, my poor perception did not change the fact that the train that was moving was the train that moving. So even though I could not accurately perceive whether my train or the adjacent train was the one actually departing, that did not change the absolute truth about which one was chugging away and which one was standing still. Sadly, perception is most often an individual's self-deception rather than his truth.

Framed by His or Her Local Context

The aforementioned arguments above are not meant to minimize the problem of being raised in a certain cultural context. Individuals are reared within a certain socio-economic and philosophical climate that has its own social norms and mores. As such, no matter how far the local customs have strayed from the truth, those same customs are perceived as the absolute truth by the individual. So, a person born in India will most likely follow the tenets of Hinduism; the citizen of Cambodia will try to be true to his ancestors and the teachings of the Buddha; and those reared in a Christian American home will try to live up to the ways of Jesus Christ. They do so because they trust their parents whether or not the perceptions of their parents have led them to the actual truth.

Of course, we know that not all upbringing and emulation is beneficial. For there are still many children in the southern part of the US that are prejudiced against African-Americans and there are still practicing Hindu's that offer their children as human sacrifices to their household or community gods. We would not call such perception or practice individual truth; we would call it being misguided or self-deceived.

The Universe Came Into Existence in Absolutely One Way

In the end, perception is generally an individual's deception because truth is narrow and absolute not relative. Even though we cannot go back to the beginning of the universe to see how it began, the inescapable conclusion is that it began the way it began. Granted it may be impossible for us to know for certain how the universe began; unless of course it has been explained to us by someone who was present at its conception. Regardless, the universe began in only one way. Likewise, each preceding event has happened in only one way. Truth is not truth according to an individual's perception but according to how the situation actually occurred. Therefore, perception is more often a man's deception than his truth. One wise man said: "if the light within you be darkness, oh how dark the darkness."

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Comments 11 comments

reggieTull profile image

reggieTull 7 years ago from Virtual Space

nice hub and thank you for responding to my request. I basically agree that perception is man's deception. But based on how we are made - it may not be possible for us to witness real truth. This brings me to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle - the act of viewing does change the viewed. Just tossing it out there. I also believe that we can know truth if we detach from our senses and listen to the whispers of our intuition, unfortunately it is very quiet and difficult to hear. thanks again


Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 7 years ago from Massachusetts

ecoggins, your Hub is better than my Hub.    :)    If this were a contest and had voting, I'd vote for yours.   :) (Of course, in different ways, we have both essentially said much the same thing.)


ecoggins profile image

ecoggins 7 years ago from Corona, California Author

Lisa Thank you for your kind assessment. I appreciate your words very much. Funny, I almost pressed deny on your comment because I think your Hub is at least as good as mine. I do think that essentially we both said the same thing.


tysanders profile image

tysanders 5 years ago from Atlanta, Ga

This hub is excellent. Filled with perspective and intelligence. I've enjoyed.


Coolbreezing profile image

Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

You are right in the sense that we can be misguided by our perception if what we perceived as truth is not well observed or based on facts.

Nevertheless, the example you've proposed with the train moving in opposite direction which gave you the impression that it was your train moving cannot be considered a confusion of perception if the person realize the confusion after the train has passed.

In this scenario the wrong perception lasted just a few second. In that sense it is not the truth that is narrow, it is only the perception of the person who has been deceit by the moving train adjacent to it that is narrow.

Truth can only be relative when considering a medium where this truth is applicable. For example, the gravitation force on planet earth is different from that of space or as they say the moon. Therefore, an item thrown in the air on earth would behave differently than when on the moon.

For that reason, we say truth is circumstantially relative to its medium. A motorcyclist would most likely debate that a Ducati Moster 698 speeding at 180 mph is not the same as a Kawasaki Nija 250.

They are both running at 250 MPH but their performance level could be very different in terms of how these two motocycles handle the road. As you can see, the medium we use to determine what the truth is matters.


Coolbreezing profile image

Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

Therefore, our minds is also a medium which can be trained in order for it to have a better perception. We use logic and reason to analyze factual data and from there we decide what the truth is. Our perception in this case is looking beyond the most common so that we have a better understanding of what the truth is.

For that matter, I reject the notion that "perception is more often a man's deception than his truth." I would conclude that what we perceive as truth sometimes could be a reflection of a desire.

As stated by Emmanuel Kant "we see thing as we are not as there are." I think that statement could be true only if we have not been trained to look beyond our personal interest when we analyze information within a given medium for accuracy.


Coolbreezing profile image

Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

Philosophical Thoughts:

A concept of perception, absolute and relative truths;

There’s only one way by which we can identify truth. We know that truth can be absolute which are universally accepted, and we know that truth is based on factual events. But what if we were to conclude that truth is circumstantially relative to its medium how would we differentiate absolute truth from it, or perhaps all absolute truth are relative to its medium.

For example, an absolute truth would demonstrate that if we were to throw an apple in the air it would reached a certain height and collapse downward due to gravitational force. We can conclude that if we were to demonstrate the same logic all the apples would behave similarly. They would all fall down after reaching a certain height.

However, if we were to factor in the weight of each apple, we would have found out that the lightest apple thrown in the air descending at a slower speed, while the heaviest apple would have descended at a faster speed. As we can see, in both examples truth is absolute, but they are both circumstantially relative to one another because of their weights.

In this example the medium is the weight of the apple which is different from the rest of the apples that were thrown in the air. For that reason we say truth is circumstantially relative to its medium whether or not this truth is absolute.

We can take for example the gravitation force on planet earth and compare it to that of the moon. And since both forces are different comparatively therefore an item thrown in the air on earth would behave differently than when on the moon. For that reason, we say truth is circumstantially relative to its medium.

Another example would proposed that a motorcyclist would most likely argued that a Ducati Moster 698 speeding at 180 mph is not the same as a Kawasaki Nija 250.They are both running at 180 MPH but when consider performance levels, I think it fair to say that the motorcyclist would have asserted that the Ducati 698 has better handle based on performance level.

As we can see, the medium we use to determine what the truth is matters. In this example the truth is merely the fact that both motorcycles are running at 180 MPH, but more so their level of performance which is being judge in relative to factual events experienced on the road.

Therefore, our mind is also a medium which can be trained in order for our minds to have a better perception. We use logic and reason to analyze factual data, and from there we decide what the truth is. Our perception in this case is looking beyond the most common so that we have a better understanding of what the truth is.

For that matter, I reject the notion that "perception is more often a man's deception than his truth." I would conclude that what we perceive as truth sometimes could be a reflection of a desire or misinformation. As stated by Emmanuel Kant "we see thing as we are not as there are."

I think that statement could only be true if we have not been trained to look beyond our personal interest when we analyze information within a given medium for accuracy. Therefore, all truth is relative to its medium, it is always the way in which we analyze the truth that will enhance our perception of a factual event.

I would argue that there is no extreme distinction between facts and truths, because if we were to conclude that truth relies on our perception, than any misunderstanding of a factual event would have been the cause of a wrong perception.

It is important to understand that facts are all events that have gone to past, while truth is the right interpretation of those factual events that have gone to past. Whatever event that has been predicted to behave a certain way, although highly probable is not facts but instead a probability that is based on truth. OneLove


ecoggins profile image

ecoggins 4 years ago from Corona, California Author

Coolbreezing, Wonderful thoughts; eloquently expressed; with lovely examples. You obviously have a beautiful mind. e.


Coolbreezing profile image

Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

ECO,

I humbly accept your complement. And please understand that my intent is never to reject any argument that is sounded, nor do I think my opinion is the best explanation that could be offered. I often try to make my argument universally accepted by proposing statements that are consistent and less likely to conflict each other.

However, I did not succeed in my first attempt, so I tried again and hopefully this one posted below is better than the first one. I think any philosophical statement that can enhanced the understanding of a topic is in the advantage of humanity. For that reason reason I strongly welcome the rejection of any statement of mind that is either irrational or inconsistant. It is my belief that there is more to gain when someone can prove us wrong than to take the approach of being right when we can be wrong.

My only misfortune on this forum is that I hardly find anyone who would attempt to prove me wrong. If your complement is honest I welcome it if not I hope that you understand where I'm coming from. We live in a time where people hate being proven wrong as if there was nothing to gain from it.

I realize that the problem has more to do with title than it has to do with being proven wrong. Society places a lot of choice in title and neglect the validity of the information being articulated.

If we look at each other in terms of who's better than there is no progress that can be made in the name of philosophy. But if we neglect title and concentrate on the validity of the information, than we'll have more to offer the future generation, than to take away from it.

My Second Attempt - Please feel free to make correction wherever you feel corrections are needed. It would be greatly appreciated.

The Journey of everyman:

We do not know which road a man walk until we have walked it ourselves. The journey of everyman may lead to different endeavors depending on their circumstances of life, whether obliged or unconsciously predicates, a path must be chosen.

There’s only one way by which we can identify truth. We know that truth can be absolute which are universally accepted, and we know that truth is based on factual events. But what if we were to conclude that truth is circumstantially relative to its medium how would we differentiate absolute truth from it, or perhaps all absolute truth are relative to its medium.

For example, an absolute truth would demonstrate that if we were to throw an apple in the air it would reached a certain height and collapse downward due to gravitational force. We can conclude that if we were to demonstrate the same logic all the apples would behave similarly. They would all fall down after reaching a certain height.

However, if we were to factor in the weight of each apple, we would have found out that the lightest apple thrown in the air descending at a slower speed, while the heaviest apple would have descended at a faster speed. As we can see, in both examples truth is absolute, but they are both circumstantially relative to one another because of their weights.

In this example the medium is the weight of the apple which is different from the rest of the apples that were thrown in the air. For that reason we say truth is circumstantially relative to its medium whether or not this truth is absolute. Which also means that what we believe is impossible could be a limitation on ourselves.

We can take for example the gravitational force on planet earth and compare it to that of the moon. And since both forces are different comparatively therefore an item thrown in the air on earth would behave differently than when on the moon. For that reason, we say truth is circumstantially relative to its medium.

Another example would proposed that a motorcyclist would most likely argued that a Ducati Moster 698 speeding at 180 mph is not the same as a Kawasaki Nija 250.They are both running at 180 MPH but when consider performance levels, I think it fair to say that the motorcyclist would have asserted that the Ducati 698 has better handle based on performance level.

As we can see, the medium we use to determine what the truth is matters. In this example the truth is merely the fact that both motorcycles are running at 180 MPH, but more so their level of performance which is being judge in relative to factual events experienced on the road.

Therefore, our mind is also a medium which can be trained in order for our minds to have a better perception. We use logic and reason to analyze factual data, and from there we decide what the truth is. Our perception in this case is looking beyond the most common so that we have a better understanding of what the truth is.

For that matter, I reject the notion that "perception is more often a man's deception than his truth." I would conclude that what we perceive as truth sometimes could be a reflection of a desire or misinformation. As stated by Emmanuel Kant "we see thing as we are not as there are."

I think that statement could only be true if we have not been trained to look beyond our personal interest when we analyze information within a given medium for accuracy. Therefore, all truth is relative to its medium, it is always the way in which we analyze the information which correspond to that medium that will enhance our perception of a factual event.

I would argue that there is no extreme distinction between facts and truths, because if we were to conclude that truth relies on our perception, than any misunderstanding of a factual event would have been the cause of a wrong perception.

It is important to understand that facts are all events that have gone to past, while truth is the right interpretation of those factual events that have gone to past. The table is solid, water is a liquid, heat is an energy force are all true statements but none are events, instead experiences from prior interpretation of nature which has been passed on to us by way of common sense.

For that reason, it is possible to consider that our common sense is the faculty which nature our perception, and that the more we apply common sense to understand information the greater is our capability in determine what the truth is. Therefore, truth must be consistent an non-contraditory.

I would conclude that whatever event that has been predicted to behave a certain way, although highly probable is not facts but instead a probability that is based on prior experiences which bear a great chance of being true. OneLove


Coolbreezing profile image

Coolbreezing 4 years ago from New York, New York

I believe that all criticism are important even when there are not constructive. If a critique can bring attention to a statement that causes confusion, than that critique is as important as any other constructive critique. I do not perceive Philosophy discussion in terms of competition, but more so a collaboration which can bring value to our discussion. In that fashion even when a critique doesn't comply it is still valuable.

If there is one thing that is more valuable in a debate besides the debate itself is the value of what was learned from the discussion. Who wins vs. who lose is less important than what was learnt from the debate because even the person which appear to have loss wins, because he or she may be responsible for provoking the thought process which produces the result of what was learnt, for life is a learning process and it takes two to tangle.

It is only when we have rejected reason for the promotion of self that we are being ignorant, but no one can be ignorant if that person chooses to accept reason for the advancement of self.

I hope that you understand that the reason whey I write is for the benefit of educating myself. Therefore, anyone who has offered new and valid information has added to my understanding.


ecoggins profile image

ecoggins 4 years ago from Corona, California Author

Coolbreezing. Thank you for the follow up comment. My post was sincere. You express yourself and your ideas very well. And, I appreciate it. Even more, I appreciate your contribution to the discussion. I too benefit from your argument and do not think of it in terms of winning and losing. As you intimate, it is in the free flow of ideas that we are best able to come to the most reasonable explanations. I appreciate your open and teachable attitude.

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