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I Lost Another Argument

Today, I had another discussion on the source of truth, and I clearly lost again. I need your good input.

I told the guy that I'd do virtually anything to make my point, and it's true. I'm desperate.

My point was that the material world is the reference point for truth. When something is proven, it's done by scientific method from real-world facts. The other guy put forward his honestly-held opinion that all truth is relative and depends on the viewer. "What is true to you may not be true to me," he said. It's the million-and-2nd time I've heard it.

If people can't agree on how to determine what's true and what isn't, then they can never truly agree on anything. There is no common measure of truth. They can temporarily find themselves on the same side of an issue, but their concurrence is temporary and will evaporate if their whims change.

At the bottom of this is two basic philosophies from which all other philosophies grow: materialism versus idealism. The materialist looks to the real world for truth or to validate an opinion. The idealist assumes a "perfect" world somewhere else, that can only be visualized in his or her own mind. Everything in this world, the idealist says, is subjective. An idealist can convince his/herself of anything, and often does.

An idealist might believe that hijacking an airliner and crashing it into a skyscraper will be of benefit. He/she might try to improve their situation by blowing up a bus with him/her in it! An idealist might carry a shotgun into a high school and kill a few friends before turning the gun on his/herself. An idealist might think he/she can fly off a skyscraper. Idealists also blame themselves and their own lack of "faith" for lack of success in the economic, athletic, or romantic world. An idealist might vote for a mass murderer if he/she thought they shared agreement on some abstract notion. The American right-wing counts on idealism.

Hallucinogenic drugs and religion completely derail idealists, since they confuse their immediate feelings with facts. Such people are dangerous to themselves and others.

There is great pressure in capitalist society to be an idealist instead of a materialist. Since idealists might believe anything, they can be convinced to buy almost anything, vote for almost anybody, commit crimes, or die for someone else's benefit.

--Jim Lane

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