Does Absolute Understanding Exist?
What is Absolute Understanding? Does Absolute Understanding Exist?
[This essay was my first in Philosophy 201.]
An elephant was brought to a group of blind men who had never encountered such an animal before. One felt a leg and reported that an elephant is a great living pillar. Another felt the trunk and reported that an elephant is a great snake. Another felt a tusk and reported that an elephant is like a sharp ploughshare. And so on. And then they all quarreled together, each claiming that his own account was the truth and therefore all the others false (traditional parable).
None of the accounts that the blind men made about the nature of the elephant are absolute truths, nor are the accounts false. An absolute truth, or one that is true for all, can not be achieved because of the constant motion of circumstances of who said it, to whom, when, where, why, and how it was said. Instead of absolute truths, the concepts or beliefs that the blind men claim are viewpoints that each one clarifies the nature of the elephant.
Everybody has learned to see things from his or her own sense of reason and logic. The many things that people experience throughout their lifetimes, help to determine the judgments toward the different issues and objects that they encounter. Because individuals has his or her own sense of reason and logic, the perceptions that people encounter are ultimately true, and not false. Life does not contain one truth for any idea or object, but truths can be found in one's perception. It is difficult to determine that anything is the absolute truth. One should not prove that any object contains a true meaning, but should develop conceptions surrounding the object.
Attempting to prove anything then would be difficult, if not impossible. Our senses from smell to values to reality may differ from person to person. What may be true to one person may be different for another. Because everybody has different perceptions about life, it is difficult to weigh the content of any concept. Every account, of its own, is formed to be the truth of the one individual who assumes it. The variety of concepts may have the virtue of being considered. This is how people develop a deeper sense of understanding for all objects.
Truth is achieved through the concept and not the object itself. Because many individuals hold different...