Tell a man that there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he’ll believe you
People are always believing in what they cannot really “know” is true, and won’t need to require any proof for their claims. However, when people are faced with a simple truth, they won’t believe until they can test and be sure. Many different aspects contribute to this strange habit that we humans have seem to acquired, and people are somehow willing to accept it. In the first section of the question, it refers to what we would call an abstract truth (Abel). It is something that we cannot directly prove, so instead we just deem it believable. The second part of the question is referring to a concrete truth (Abel). It is something we are able to test, so our curious human nature forces us to.
I. The Human Perception- The contrast in people’s views on what they know.
A. The main idea one has to realize when dealing with human perception is that what one person views may not always be exactly what another has seen. In fact they might not be the same at all. Back in one of my old schools the administration tested this theory on the students, and it proved to be true. They staged a robbery in one of our assemblies, and then had each student describe what he or she perceived. The results showed that pretty much everyone had different views, and only 7% were even close to the truth. Everyone assumed that he/she was right, and would not believe any other statements.
B. Someone might argue that the only way we can ever find the truth is if everyone perceives the exact same thing, and once everyone is in perfect balance it is defiantly a truth. Another might argue however that if everyone viewed something the same, they might as well all have been deceived.
II. Authority- How it can regulate what we know, or what cannot be true.
A. When one is pondering over a truth of any kind, it is noted that he/she will rely on authority to validate one” claims. Furthermore, a figure of authority then can have control over what he thinks is best fit for people to know
B. I have noted from past experience that whenever faced with a dilemma, people often decide to follow those who seem sure of themselves and confident. (Those who are taking on the role of an authoritative figure) They choose to side with this person because he “knows” the answer, and our human nature forces us to want to be right. An example of this would be in a classroom at school, where a student is asked a math problem. The problem is somewhat complex, and instead of doing the work himself he relies on the children next to him who are whispering the answer to one another.
C. Some people know the authoritative power, and choose to go against it, but are usually stricken down by their peers. This is only because of people’s willingness no reject individuality in such cases. In some instances one will know the truth, but choose not to reveal it as he/she might be looked down upon in society. It is a shame when someone can no longer express their beliefs without the fear of rejection.
D. Back in the classroom a student is faced with a math problem. He hears his peers saying the answer, but he refuses to believe unless proved. He solves the problem and blurts out an answer no where near what the others were saying. The children laugh, and after finding out he is right, they simply shrug it off like it was nothing. In contrast, the man who is told 300 billion stars simply relies on authority to figure out his answer. This is not always the best road to take.
E. The big difference here is between Concrete and Abstract truths. A concrete truth is something that can be directly attainable, like walking up to a park bench and feeling it to see it the paint is still wet. An abstract truth is more complex, in a way that it is scarcely justified. How many people do you know who will seriously start to count the stars?
III. Human Nature- Fear can drive one to give in to society
A. Human nature often drives one to want to be right, or be making the right decision. In truth, we will never be able to always determine these things.
B. I say fear because that’s exactly what I mean. People’s tendencies to reject their own beliefs because of authoritative figures is not only foolish, it’s wrong. Many great minds have been silenced out of intimidation by their society, and the fear of being rejected. Galileo, Copernicus, JFK (authority silenced him) and many others are examples of this.
C. Human nature can work for us and against us in the sense that one’s human nature allows him/her to want to choose the right decision. The key is for one to be able to stand up for his/her beliefs and become an authoritative figure. This way he/she will have support when up against contradictory claims.
IV. Limitations- One’s self determination can drive him/her to prove something to the farthest degree possible.
A. Technology is a limitation because we as a race are not evolved enough to be able to determine everything. For example in 1492 everyone believed that the earth was flat, and they had good supporting evidence: being able to see edges in the ocean. In the year 2001 we believe the world is spherical, and we believe through every inch of our body that this is true. Now one would compare one’s self to people back when, and realize that both claims are equal in sense
B. Location is also a limitation in the sense that one person in Kuwait might know the origin of a certain species, while an American must rely on what he is taught. (Authority is not always right).
D. As odd as this may seem at first, gender is also a limitation. For example, a man could never really know the hardships of being a housewife, even if he is told by his wife day after day about how much suffering she goes through.
There is a vast contrast between concrete and abstract truths, regarding many aspects. Authoritative figures will always rule over the truth, unless challenged by another. Human nature often hides the truth from us, and also leads us closer and closer down the long road to perfection. People will always choose to touch the paint rather than count the stars.