Universal Truth

I agree that happiness and love are universal truths. No-one can deny that they want these two things. But ultimately you cannot achieve either of these things without other people. And what's the point of life then? On the other hand, I disagree that a higher being is 100% incomprehensible to the human mind. Surely everyone feels that there is something higher than ourselves - God/Spirit.

Actually there are thousands, if not millions of people such as Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennet (The Four Horsemen), Michael Shermer, and many others who do not think there is something higher than ourselves. They call it agnosticism, atheism, skepticism, "the brights", and other names.

I don't know about anyone else, but my life just isn't worth living if it was all just for myself. Everything aspires to something bigger than itself. If I lived for my own happiness than that would just be selfish. This life is only temporary, what's the point of living for impermanent things like money and success? Every thing that you do should be an act of love - anything else is a waste of time. If you died tomorrow, could you say that you were the best person you could be? You might argue that concepts of God and other higher beings are human creations, designed to make us feel better about rotting in the ground. But take a good look inside yourself, feel your heart. Isn't there so much more than you than just your physical and intellectual being? This feeling inside yourself is the proof that a spirit is present in the seemingly harsh world. And if you do not feel anything, then I ask you to open your mind and ignore your cynical, stubborn thought, and welcome the spirit into your heart. Until then, your life is a barren place. -Believer

That's illogical in many ways. Here are just a few -

This topic is not as complex as everybody makes it out to be. In fact, I believe that life is so very simplistic but our minds are too complex to be content with our sole purpose to survive(like other organisms). People are really just trying to sound smart. Anyways --

The universal truth of life, existence, and consciousness, is happiness. There is not a person in the world who can argue otherwise. Everyone lives there lives to be happy and content. The reason why so few people find true happiness is that happiness is life and existence. Happiness is not found in material items for most people. Happiness has to be transferred from another energy source, material are not living and do not have emotional energy. Happiness is love. Happiness is positive emotions. every person has different things that make them happy, and that's what our lives our based on. maybe emotions are the only truth in the world, not just happiness.

You could also say that the universal truth is that something is superior to life, time, and existence. A realistic higher being is absolutely 100% incomprehensible to the human mind (god is a manifestation for people to cope with the fact that they have no idea what their purpose is). Something created the first matter (or energy) that caused the universe to be created. Time and existence must have been created by an energy force of some sort. But then that energy source was created from something. Like I said, to find an end to the infinite possibilities of the route of creation is impossible.

So my philosophy is screw it, life is meant to be lived with happiness and nothing more. No need to succeed, gain wealth, gain a family, live the American dream. just orient your life to the way you want it directed. If anyone agrees or disagrees, or wants to join a revolution to free the world of negative emotions, just email me at UniversalUnity@hotmail.com.

I don't know about you all , but I'm tired of philosophizing about the world. It's about time we need to change it and take some god damn action. Thank you.

For practical discussions on happiness, pls check AlmostTrue page. -- dl

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, p.1

Easier to find: PersonalTruth.

What everyone believes to be true. Elusive, and hard to agree upon. When one thinks they have discovered it, others will provide arguments questioning it. Illustrations follow:

ObviousFact?: examples: Those with higher mathematical knowledge may disagree - not in the Z3 algebraic group. No, 2+2 is still 4 in Z3, it just also happens that 4=1. But this is really insignificant, since 4 is usually defined to be 2+2 or 3+1.

Seems to me that this is related to ItDoesntDepend. The only UniversalTruth is Reality. All attempts to describe reality are limited by the fact that the map is not the territory. -- RaySchneider

So is "All attempts..." "reality" or simply not universally true?

The reality that can be described is not the true reality. -- ZenWeenie?

The only UniversalTruth is Reality.

Is that a universal truth? If so, there are more than one universal truths (at least "reality" and "the only universal truth is reality"). But wait, if there are more than one then "the only universal truth is reality" stops being true, leaving us with no universal truths.

-- EricHodges
One of course must distinguish between truth and statements about truth - the one is ontological, i.e. it exists, while the other is an assertion which exists as well but in another mode. They are both UniversalTruth, but in two different modes. -- RaySchneider

Why? Isn't a true statement about truth also a truth?

Yes, assuming there is such a thing as truth to begin with. Goedel's incompleteness theorem can make one suspicious of the existence of "truth", let alone universal truth.

In math and logic, a statement is correct or incorrect within an axiomatic system over some language. Mathematicians and logicians merely misuse the words "true" and "false" to mean correct and incorrect respectively. Truth, in its everyday meaning, simply does not exist in math and logic. And if truth does not exist there then it does not exist at all. In any mode.
TheRepresentationIsNotTheRealThing. Models of the world can never be isomorphic with the world. Tautologies are "true" no matter what the world is really like, but that's because they're perfectly happy not representing actual states of affairs. This page seems to have something else in mind like truth which "exists", includes representation of actuality, yet which is always true. Laws of physics have never yet (fully) failed to tell us how it is or was, but we can't claim in the strongest sense to know that the universe will always obeys the laws of physics. We get better physical constants, sometimes add components, but they're always only as good as they help explain experience.
From UniversalTruths: (some of this may be redundant)

All truth is subjective, so there are no UniversalTruths except for this one. Actually, that can't be true. The statement implies that "All truth is subjective" is true. If it is not, the statement is based on a false premise. If it is true, then obviously "there are no UniversalTruths except for this one" must be false!

... and infinitely many more based on those two!

Presuming, of course, that such statements must be either true or false. One might instead consider them "meaningless" - see the "boxes" and "hundred" puzzles (and their solutions) listed at http://rec-puzzles.org/new/list.pl/logic.

It strikes me that the term Truth and the term Universal are both in need of definition. If Truth means a statement the content of which corresponds to reality, and if Universal means always and everywhere then a Universal Truth is a statement which corresponds to reality regardless of time and space. An example might be ten is greater than five - not exactly profound, but always true. I might add that the term Subjective Truth is an oxymoron. -- RaySchneider

There are those who would not agree that 'ten is greater than five' is a universal truth, as it depends on the assumption that mathematics is true. I know that may seem completely ridiculous to some people, but there has never been any proof that mathematics is true, much less logic. These are pretty fundamental assumptions that most people take for granted because they seem totally obvious, but nevertheless, they are assumptions. Even Descartes' famous "I think therefore I am" assumes that God is benevolent. At some point, you just have to decide whether to accept that we make certain fundamental assumptions about reality or not.

Let's go for something simpler - such as "ten is not exactly the same as five". That seems true enough for me.

Don't get me wrong. I believe that 'ten is greater than five' because I accept that mathematics is true. I just don't think it's a universal truth. The world is a lot more interesting when you don't have to worry about whether it exists or not.

[Is that last sentence another universal truth?]

The statement "ten is greater than five" is a simple way of saying "Given a pile of ten objects and a pile of five objects, if I remove one object from each pile repeatedly, the pile with five objects will run out first". I would say that this truth is fairly universal and exists independently of mathematics. To say "the number ten is greater than the number five" presupposes the "truth of mathematics" (which should probably read "applicability" or "validity") but I don't think that is what was meant when the phrase was chosen as an example of a universal truth... and at this point we are arguing the semantics of the expression of a truth, not the idea of the truth itself.

It's only "universal" in the extremely restricted physical sense. And since the laws of physics obey mathematics, it cannot in any sense be said to be "independent" of mathematics. If you don't assume mathematics to begin with, you can't say that ten is greater than five.

And there will never be a proof that mathematics is true, that's Goedel's second incompleteness theorem.

One avoids these ill-defined arguments by using the simpler statement that ten is not exactly the same as five.

This just gets to deeper fundamental assumptions such as 'the universe exists' and 'there is such a thing as existence' and 'there is such a concept as sameness' and 'my perceptions reflect reality'. Granted, nearly everyone accepts these without any qualms (or even thought in many cases).

0 = 5 mod 5 = 10 mod 5. First you have to define what "exactly the same" means.

It means one can't distinguish between them in any way. For the ultimate in triviality, the 'null' statement is (universally) true by default.

Even Descartes' famous "I think therefore I am" assumes that God is benevolent.

Your assertion (quoted above) makes no sense to me, please explain.

Descartes is one of my heros, and I'm well aware of his famous "method" in which he chose to learn truth by denying everything until he came to something that he could not deny, his own existence. He likened his pursuit of truth to a city with shabby and run-down buildings all over the place. He decided that he must knock them all down and then build upon the rubble. Likewise, he rejected the truthfulness of *EVERYTHING* until he was forced to face the fact that he exists. He then proceeded to build upon this truthful foundation.

Where does he assume ANYTHING in this observation? -- BillZimmerly

I can't quote it because I don't have the actual text, but it's basically like this: Descartes argues based on his perceptions and makes the assumption (explicitly, I believe) that his perceptions reflect reality because to be otherwise, God must 'lie' to him (showing him things that aren't there, etc.), and he doesn't believe that is possible because he can't imagine that God could possibly be malevolent like that. What if God is lying? Can anything be believed with certainty? If God is omnipotent, then no. (BTW: I'm atheist. I just mentioned God because of Descartes.) -- AnonymousDonor

However, these reasonings about God come after Descartes gets to the logical "starting point" that he exists. Thus, his reasonings about existence aren't based on any assumptions about God, which makes the "assumes that God is benevolent" statement above rather illogical. This is if I'm remembering my Descartes correctly. -- BrentNewhall

Hmmm, I would suspect Descartes was an agnostic with sufficient "political correctness" not to attack Catholicism too overtly.

Descartes seemed to mean that "I think" implies "I" (the thinker) exists. -- vk

I seem to recall the logic runs: 1 - I think, therefore I am. 2 - Therefore thinking things exist. 3 - I can conceive of a notion of a perfect god, I could not do this without that being's influence since I'm only human, therefore God exists ("these properties are so great and excellent... it is absolutely necessary to conclude... that God exists"). 4 - That god couldn't be lying to me or he wouldn't be perfect. 5 - Therefore I can trust my senses, therefore I have the world... Descartes was a fairly devout Jesuit, being educated from the age of 8 in a religious college, and, like most of the philosophers of the time, was looking for proofs of the existence of God as part of their explanations of the world. -- KatieLucas

Relative is subjective - such that ten is greater than five. If maths is not specified (limiting scope of statement) then it can be demonstrated that 10 grains of sand is NOT greater than 5 pyramids from the plain of Giza. Also, 10 regular humans is (are) NOT greater than 5 X-Men. This relates somehow to the endless discussion on Quality - we can't really define it, but we know it when we see it.

To judge or determine a universal truth requires a MetaAuthority doesn't it? For example, I have to use some kind of judgement to narrow the scope of the truth. So I can use a narrow process to determine truth, if I define the arena as absolute integers as defined in mathematics. Then the determination of truth can be turned over to the judge - in this case a program...(pardon my pseudoish)

If 10 > 5 then say 'Ten is greater than five.' If 10 = 5 then say 'Ten is equal to five.' If 10 < 5 then say 'Ten is less than five.'

Human subjectivity is removed and the MetaAuthority judges. So truth depends on the limits imposed by the arena of active interest. Outside the boundaries is of no consideration. That's not to say that statements outside the boundaries are worthless, just that their truth'ness' requires a different judge.

For example, if one were to try to program a robot which used video cameras as eyes to tell you if the left pile of objects was equal to the right pile of objects, if those objects were all different, how would you proceed? How do you give that Robot the ability to express TRUTH? -- RobChamberlin

I did not participate in this page till midAug04. And wish you all become happier persons after the misfortune of reading my post.

For the moment, WikiCommunity is the universe. More to the point, current (Aug04) WikiCommunity is the audience and universe, unless this discussion (refactoring, etc) is kept alive in a useful manner (not just delete/undelete).

My take is that Happiness encompass love, and in the books of a lot of people Happiness is the ultimate measure of success. (see also "stressed but still happy" section in StreeHasSolutions?). Happiness results in success as the person is at peace with himself (see AlmostTrue) because even if society tells the person differently, in the end it is what the person tells himself/herself that matters.

Happiness (the kind that is fostered by less-self-focussed love such as compassion for others) promotes more success as documented by Media / neighbors. This is because when you are not fighting yourself in self-talks, if you are more honest with yourself, you can work together (body and spirit and soul) to create (program better) due to less distractions. This increased level of material success (e.g. better music if you are musician) is relative to what can be achieved with your circumstances (genetic aspects included).

The problem is usually the confusion between Sustainable Happiness vs Short-Half-Life Ectasy which sends a person to a roller coaster ride. (draw analogy to taking carbohydrates vs sugar)

On the other hand, a person in imminent physical danger (including loss of income to maintain current comfort level) can be distracted so the long-term happiness is temporarily overshadowed by senses coming from the body and soul. Hopefully the imbalance would be restored, but even if it is not, it is still better to have the factors for long-term happiness kept intact.

PleaseComment even if you think these views are impractical, wrong or otherwise incomplete.

See also: HappinessIsElusive

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