If members of a certain culture, culture A for example, are learning about its history on the dispute with another culture, culture B, then culture A’s truth on the events may differ from that of culture B’s truth. Both culture A and B’s truth may not be accurate as each has their own biases, but the culture believes in that truth as true. The Chinese culture believes that the ‘swallow’s nest,’ a secretion made by swallows, has medicinal properties thus is a delicacy in Chinese cuisine. Whether this is true is in fact unknown but the Chinese believe it to be true.
Other cultures, on the other hand, may not see the ‘swallow’s nest’ as a delicacy and may not even be regarded food. Although the culture’s influence on a knower is extensive, one is able to delve into different knowledge sources to obtain the truths from different culture to structures jagged pieces of puzzles together. All though the whole picture may not be perfect as each puzzle pieces is serrated, one has a larger overview of the ‘real’ truth than mere pieces. People think that history is made up of facts proved undeniable as one cannot change the past, but this is not true.
History tells the truth but only to a certain extent. Accounts differ since there is usually more than one perspective from which to consider one single event. Historical truth has been tainted with biases, prejudice, and propaganda. Voltaire says that “history is a lie agreed upon” and Napoleon also says that “history is a myth we all agree to believe. ” These quotes claim that history may be inaccurate where historical facts may not be the truth, but built from the beliefs of a local group of people. Assorted values are recorded by different cultures on the size of the Hunnic horde that invaded Rome.
Roman recorded the number to have been approximately 250, 000 men but Chinese historians argued that due to the size of the migration, the invasion force could not possibly exceed over 120 000. Different truths are sometimes contested against each other and are assimilated by the people in the culture. So some cultures may compromise the information recorded from the two cultures and say that the Hunnic horde consisted of approximately 120 000 to 250 000 men. All these values are considered to be truth depending on what the knower is taught from their culture.
One can say that different cultures have different details of understanding truth, but essentially it is the same truth. The Chinese and Romans both recorded there were a large number of men in the Hunnic horde that invaded Rome, and that is the essential truth. There is ultimately a universal truth but each culture just differs on the details of the truth. Truths are needed in order to obtain knowledge. If no person is able to decide on what one can be agreed upon, then there is no such thing as cultural truth.
As each culture processes knowledge, it is conceivable that truths exist. The existence of truths shows that truths within cultures may be different but it can also be alike too. With the parallel truths that cultures share with each other, universal truths are born. “The truth is that which can be universally applied,” establishes the criterion that determines whether an assertion is considered to be true world wide. Using physics, the acceleration of gravity is universally accepted to be 9. 8 m/s2.
The figure is not absolutely true as the value slightly changes depending on one’s position on the earth but is still considered a universal truth. One usually associates mathematics and sciences to contain universal truths as these areas of knowledge are usually conceived through reasoning, facts and experiments. Such allegations are not true as a lot of things in these areas of knowledge are based on theories which may only contain partial truths. There is some knowledge that does not require absolute truth in order for knowledge to be sanctioned.
There are many theories in sciences that are considered to be knowledge in one culture but are considered to be misinformation to another. It is the inability of humans to be free of biases that allows knowledge, which may not always be based on absolute truths, to be adequate. Although the statements that “different cultures have different truths” and “truth is that which can be universally accepted,” may seem to be conflicting statements, it is indeed untrue once an individual delves into the implications made from each assertion.
Since truth exists in this world, there are some truths that are disparate but it is possible that some parallel. So the insinuation from each quote is only true to a certain extent. Each person is unique and their truths are chiefly dependent on their culture. So to most people, cultural truth to them is more valuable than universal truths. What is the impact of universal truths when one does not believe in it? Not much except that it is simply information.