Truth, Meaning & Balance
“You’re the guy running into a movie theatre during a screening of The Godfather shouting ‘Fools! Don’t you realise that this is just photons hitting a screen?”
This hit me for six, which is a cricketing euphemism if you were unaware. In the last hour or so since I’ve been contemplating what Eric said, I’ve come to this (perhaps obvious) conclusion about truth (evidence) and meaning (interpretation of an experience). I believe the two are equally important and make up opposite ends of the same spectrum. Lets explore those two ends (and just to make a point let’s use the extreme ends).
Someone who is overly focused with meaning rather than the truth, may end up dismissing truth as it might not align with their own interpretations of their experience. In some cases it may outright contradict their beliefs. Dismissing truth creates potential for justifying acts and ideas in the name of beliefs and ideals that might otherwise be considered ethically dubious or flat out wrong.
On the opposite end of the spectrum you might have someone who, in their pursuit for truth, could be overly dismissive of meaning, who has become nihilistic in nature. This creates just as much potential for equally destructive and regressive ideas. When everything loses it’s meaning, anything can be justified as collectively agreed upon morals start to lose weight.
So regardless of wether you’re shooting up a school for your god, your ideals or simply because life is meaningless and humans are just organic meatbags, the result remains the same – you’re still shooting up a school.
Now that isn’t to say I think the two juxtapose each other, on the contrary, I believe they are synergistic. For example look at human consciousness. At some point in the past, when the lights finally flickered on, someone or some evolutionary ancestor had to ask – “What is the meaning to all of this?”. Without first questioning the meaning of the experience, there would be no reason or motivation to pursue a truthful answer. Alternatively, if you are pursuing truth without reason, are you even consciously aware? On top of that, if a conclusion could be found, would it even be satisfying?
Yes, watching a movie is just observing a stream of photons hitting a screen, which from a technical stand point is important because without it the movie wouldn’t exist. However, constantly reminding yourself of that fact and subsequently missing out on the meaning and experience of the movie – is no fun at all.