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Creating Truth

 

Techniques General persuasion > Being Right > Creating Truth

Discovering truth | Asserting the truth | Discussion | See also

 

What is truth? While there is an objective truth that exists without us, for all practical purposes truth is a subjective belief that we create or accept from others. Most of the things we hold to be true are subjective, even though we believe they are objective. This is both paradoxical and convenient, as it allows us to create and change truth without deep insight. In fact a bold assertion is often all it takes.

Discovering truth

To create your own truth, you can take a number of routes, from scientific proof through to naive acceptance of the assertions of others. The limits of time and the hazards of trying things out for ourselves means we have to accept the word of others for much of the time. A problem with this is that we know others may make things up for their own advantage or simply be passing on an unproven belief from someone else. As a consequence we put much effort into discovering and developing trust.

Ways we create truth for ourselves include:

  • Doing rigorous experiments that prove something true.
  • Doing a quick check, and if it does not fail then assuming it is true.
  • Reflecting on experiences and concluding what is true.
  • Thinking logically about available information and deducing truth.
  • Accepting what credible experts say is true.
  • Seeking truth in open conversation with others.
  • Accepting what anyone else tell you as being true.

Asserting the truth

Much of the time when we are seeking to achieve our goals we need others to accept what we say as being true. We hence have to work our way into their truth-creating process. Two main ways of doing this are by convincing them or getting acceptance. Conviction may be gained through evidence or logic. Acceptance may be gained through conscious trust or unconscious adoption.

Ways of getting others to accept and agree with our truths include:

  • Demonstrating physically how the thing is true.
  • Using rational argument and logic to show that something is true.
  • Referencing other people who have proven it to be true.
  • Describing direct experience that indicates the truth.
  • Asserting that you know the truth through study.
  • Asserting that you know the truth without saying how.
  • Reframing perceived untruths.
  • Building trust so subsequent assertions are more likely to be accepted as true.
  • Repeating already-accepted truths to get them into a truth-accepting frame of mind.
  • Using any of the many other methods of changing minds that can be found in this site.

Discussion

Some truths are simple and obvious, such as that the sun is shining. Others may need more exploration before a solid truth is found, such as in scientific experimentation. Beyond this there are many 'truths' which are actually more like beliefs, or at least should be described more accurately as probabilities.

We need truth. The problem with probabilities is that this also means uncertainties, which we try to avoid as uncertainties may mean threats. In consequence we reach for the illusion of absolute truths and close our eyes to uncertainty. Many arguments have this fear at their base, where opposing people seek to convince or impose their truths on one another.

See also

Beliefs, Assertiveness, Assert Rightness, Postmodernism and Truth, Proving Truth

 

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