Jonathan made an eloquent and much needed attack on one epistemologically disturbing trend which sorely needs to be addressed. To quote him:
It is a commonly held perception in civilized society that we are required to respect the opinions of others, regardless of how absurd and nonsensical they are.
The human mind may be well-trained and naturally inclined to handle pleasure and pain, but I thoroughly believe that its faculties are flawed when it comes to truth. This relates to the important, main point of this week’s journal: that which is desirable is not necessarily true.
There are some things which just aren’t true, even if the truth may be hard to swallow.
To be completely honest, I’m not the most passionate advocate of the existence of objective, absolute truth (debating has that curious effect on you), but I am pretty convinced that ones personal tendencies, wishes, and desires, even in a collective group, can do nothing to affect objective truth (assuming that it exists).
An example most of us can relate to would be the existence of imaginary friends. Most of us, at some point in our childhood, talked to things which weren’t really there- imaginary people, soft toys, blankets (my blanket was named Cousin Blanky- I originally wanted to name it Blanky, but my brother claimed the copyrights to that name before me) and other similar, inanimate objects. In retrospect we laugh at how silly it all was, and we can all unanimously agree that those imaginary friends we had never quite existed, and all the soft toys we gave names to have been, and and still are, lifeless combinations of cloth and stuffing.
However, it is easy to forget that at those very moments in our childhood, when we were seven or eight or nine or ten, there was no doubt, in our hearts, that these things were real. Our happiness and sadness was so closely intertwined with our imaginary friends to the point that the mere conception that all of it was untrue was impossible- we simply refused to believe it. We told the truth the same way a wide-eyed child would tell the truth: these things existed, and they meant the world to us. But did our sincerity have any effect on what actually existed, and what didn’t? No.
It is absolutely possible for people, in fact, billions of people, to believe a lie just because it is a lie which makes us happy- a lie that tells us that everything is going to be alright, that the future is nicely planned out ahead of us like a rolling mat which unfurls with our every footstep. But the fact that all this is pleasurable doesn’t change the fact that all this is still what it actually could be : a lie.
This is something that we need to seriously think about: do we still need to be childish in our thoughts, and protect ourselves with our wishes and fantasies; or do we want to be adults, and deal with the world as it really is?