What Is Truth?
An ancient sage once said that there are three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. There is no record of anyone trying to hide the sun or moon, but attempting to cover up the truth seems to be a major part of being human.
A man called Pontius Pilate, the fifth prefect of the Roman province of Judaea from AD 26–36, once asked: “What is truth?” Philosophers have explored that question ad nauseum from day-one. And, of course, what is true to one person is false to another.
Truth is that which conforms to fact or reality. Which, of course, begs the question of what is actually factual or real. Juries are called upon daily to decide just such a thing. But reality is reality whether you or I or a jury or some philosopher ascertains it or not. The problem that plagues much of humanity is knowing what the truth is and trying to hide it.
The huge majority of the time, truth will prevail. Meaning, it will be revealed in a way that nothing will be able to cover up. At an elementary level, I discovered as a kid that my lies and my coverups would only hold water for so long. Truth would prevail, and I eventually learned that striving to know and tell and embrace truth trumps the evil of dishonesty.
The reason honesty is so vital is that without it there is no basis for trust relationships. Which is to say, no basis for any meaningful relationship. And it begins with being honest with oneself. “The most dangerous form of deception,” says author Josh Billings, “is self-deception.” Self-deception enables us to do whatever we wish and find a reason to justify our actions.
Honesty, integrity, truthfulness: the building blocks of character. Cleaving to such leads to peace within oneself and within the community. Throwing truth out the window virtually always leads to the opposite.