Talking about “truth” or “reality” confuses things

April 13, 2012 by Joshua
in Awareness, Freedom, Nonjudgment

Since writing about avoiding judgmental words like good, bad, right, wrong, evil, and so on, I’ve loosely kept track of times the words truth, reality, and their derivatives added meaning to a sentence.

So far, not once.

You might not consider “truth” and “reality” judgmental terms. I won’t try to convince you they are, but notice how people use them. They say things like “The truth is that we should raise interests rates,” “you have to understand the reality of how we do business,” or simply “That’s true.”

You could rewrite the first sentence “We should raise interest rates.” Adding “the truth is that” in front implies the speaker is absolutely correct. But no one is. “We should raise interest rates” is no more or less than opinion. Saying it’s true doesn’t make it true. It only says the speaker believes it’s true.

You could rewrite the second sentence as “you have to understand how we do business” with no loss of meaning, just losing the speaker’s insistence that it’s not opinion, but what else is it if not opinion. If someone else believes they do business another way, how can it be reality?

To respond “That’s true” to something someone else says almost always means “I agree.” Might as well just say “I agree” and leave out claiming absolute knowledge.

Search the web for “the reality is that,” “the truth is that,” and similar phrases. I just did and found I could remove the top instances with no change in meaning. With practice I bet you’ll find you can remove all uses of words like “truth,” “reality,” and their derivatives in all cases.

Of course, I stated my bet overly confidently. I’m open to finding I missed something and learning something new. Please send counterexamples.

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