As I seek to make myself more compassionate I find myself examining the nature of truth. This starts by questioning my own self-righteousness. “Am I right?” turns out to a pretty loaded question. Since the very question contains the notion of “I” it should be no surprise then that the answer is extremely subjective. By this I mean that right and wrong are not absolutes but is relative to the individual asking the question.
This might seem obvious but I find that it is the root cause for most confusion, anger and strife. One might argue that this is a form of miscommunication. That this state exists because the parties have not mutually agreed upon all the terms and definitions involved. Certainly that is one aspect and as noted elsewhere no definition can ever be precise enough. There are additional factors that are specific to the individual:
- Cultural – Our very innate sense of what is right and wrong is instilled into us by our cultural environment – family, local, national and religious.
- Biological – Our senses filter and present what we perceive. Subtle physiological differences may color and impact on the interpretation of a situation.
- Experience – An individual’s past experience has enormous influence in their determination of what is true or false.
There are no simple answers. Nothing is black or white or as straightforward as true or false. This does not mean that a precise answer cannot be achieved. I have conceived of a methodology where a probability distribution of a range of answers can be used to express truths or answers of a complex nature. In this way even answers that contain contradictory elements are communicable.
In quantum physics, a specific result is often described as a set of probabilities. The actual value is only determined when an observer “forces” all the possible variables to gel in a particular time or instance. Similarly, my process involves assigning a probability curve, for example a “bell” curve, to each variable considered in the problem. The results can be shown as a graph. Those interested in the question can then draw their own conclusions.
In the simplest application illustrated above a single variable’s possible outcomes are plotted. I envision the plotting of many variables to produce a three dimensional plane. See below.
Note: Had I enough formal training in this topic, I’d have discovered that the above concepts would have eventually lead to Bayesian probability. First noted by Thomas Bayes (1702–1761) and formalized by the French mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749–1827).