V-1 is never introduced as a number; in fact children, while identifying numbers cancel it out as non existent. It is in all truth; just non existent for it is an imaginary number. And imagination is rightly said to hold no truth. Yet, it is commonly known as iota to most mathematicians and used in various ‘unquestionable’ mathematical calculations. The Fermat Theorem is a truth, because mathematicians believe it exists, yet it lies unproven all this time. The truth here is the irony of this subject. History is said to be an unvarying compilation of facts.
Even then, history is always colored with perceptions of those who authorize it, those who write and those who read it. Max Mueller suggests that the Indic civilization actually found its roots in Iran. People migrated from there and walked into the cities of Dravidians. Though all evidence explaining the origins of Aryans defies this and the theory is considered flimsy, it’s the most vastly believed theory; a false truth. Historical truth is more often than not twisted to suit palates and taste like David McCullough says “No harm’s done to history by making it something someone would want to read.
“7 Art, an area of knowledge, holds the most deceiving truths of all. Every impression is interpreted differently. Edward Munch’s artistic masterpiece The Scream is popularly interpreted as a breath of sadness and an open scream passing through nature. Another elucidation of it is as an emotional mirror image of the artist’s soul which is screaming for help. Even in religion, I as a knower see “different truths”. In almost all pagan religions animal sacrifice or even human sacrifice was not just accepted but had the sanction of religious authorities.
With passage of time rational thought replaced blind faith and now even hurting animals is a crime as well as a sin. Sati, the practice in ancient India, where widows burnt themselves alive on their husbands’ funeral pyres sublimated these women to the level of demi-goddesses. Now it is an unimaginable crime simply because the context and times have changed. Science, the unvarying area of knowledge, also cannot escape the fact that truth changes with context because here every theory remains true and correct until proven otherwise. All scientifically proven theories are believed by the common man to be the gospel truth till they are refuted.
For instance, the theories of how humans evolved underwent changes with the changing thoughts of Darwin, Lamarck, and Weismann. Each version was true till it was modified to a new truth. Alfred Adler, the psychologist, said that human beings are motivated by inferiority; “to be human means to feel inferior”8. We admire ‘bravery’ as a noble and enviable virtue. But this truth disintegrates because as per him, any display of bravery by a man, is an effort to overcome the inferiority complex that he suffers from. On the other hand if a man displays cowardice, it is proof that he is unable to overcome his inferiority complex.
So a commonly accepted truth changes in the context of a theory of psychology. Economics displays an absence of truth. It finds its fundamentals in the principle of Ceteris Paribus which means everything remaining constant. Without the concept of Ceteris Paribus, Economics holds no truth. On the other hand economics is applicable to the most dynamic field of all, the market. It is a common knowledge that with the increase in price, there is an increase in demand. But as context is all, in a Veblen good, with an increase in price, the demand also increases. Thus, with circumstances, truth too finds variations.
In ways of knowing perception plays a very important role in the context of truth. Mirage is the curse of perception, as deluded people have died chasing it. For a person suffering from color-blindness, who views the world in shades of grays and blacks, the truth that grass is green has no value. Truth is said to change with emotions. James Lange’s theory proposes that a man acquires the same emotions as the person he is with9. In Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple”, the writer presents us with the truth that Celie and Shug Avery are rivals, being the wife and the mistress of the same man.
But the desperation and tears of the wife evoke an empathetic reaction in the mistress and the context of their relationship changes. Correspondingly, the writer’s earlier truth also changes as a long term friendship is forged between the rivals. Knowledge has time and again questioned truth. Our own conscious and sub-conscious minds battle the truth. But there is absolutely no doubt about the fact that what we know as truth undergoes changes when our times or environment change. Though not all truth will change, it may be perceived differently from what it is today.
The light that shines defines the object underneath. Similarly the context of reference will define the truth of things. We cannot say that truth does not exist but we can say that it is not an absolute and immutable reality.
Bibliography: 1. Lagemaat, R. V (2005), Theory of Knowledge: For the IB Diploma, Cambridge University Press 2. Woolman, Micheal (2000), Ways of knowing: International Baccalaureate, IBID Press 3. http://chem. tufts. edu 4. www. brainyquote. com 5. www. my-lyceum. net 6. www. bartleby. com 1 http://www. brainyquote. com/quotes/quotes/r/richardave161833. html 2 http://www.bartleby. com/101/625. html 3 Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma – Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge.
University Press 4 www. my-lyceum. net 5 http://chem. tufts. edu/AnswersInScience/RelativityofWrong. htm 6 Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma – Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press. Pg- 443 7 http://www. brainyquote. com/quotes/authors/d/david_mccullough. html 8 Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma – Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press. Pg- 235 9 Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma – Richard van de Lagemaat, Cambridge University Press. Pg- 148.