Letter: What is . . . truth?

Individually and collectively, we appear to put a lot of emphasis and importance on the term “the truth.” Most parents try to teach their children to tell the truth; our courts and justice system requires an oath of truth; scholastic tests often use true and false questions; in our daily conversations, we often use the term, “to tell the truth”; for those of the Christian faith, one of the Bible’s Ten Commandments forbids giving “false testimony against your neighbor,” which I interpret to mean, “tell the truth.”

With so much emphasis on this word, I wondered what makes it so important. How does one recognize and assure it? How does one describe it? Myself being somewhat limited in knowledge, I decided the Random House Dictionary would have the answer. It does – 10 of them, based on circumstances and situations. For such a short word, that seems like a lot of definitions.

Truth must be somewhat elusive, as two witnesses to the same scene or action often have differing versions. Jury members often make different decisions based on the same testimony. Why does everyone not see “Truth” the same?

It appears that truth is based on an individual’s degree of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, perception and rationalization. Perhaps “Truth” is whatever we individually or collectively determine it should be.

Frank “Sonny” Williams

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