The Truth About Being Wrong
A friend of mine made a comment/question on facebook recently that went like this: What if people pursued truth instead of sides? A thoughtful comment to be sure, and it made me think. Of course, the thought that immediately came to mind was that more people would think and act like I do; more people would feel the same way I do about various issues and come to similar conclusions about what course of action to take. And let’s be honest here, I think most of use would naturally have that gut response to a question like that.
I started thinking more about the question, and while I like the premise, I don’t think it get’s us anywhere. The problem has to do with how we view truth. To follow an argument of Nietzsche: there is no god’s eye view of the world, none of us can claim to have the “objective” perspective because perspective is just that. It would be nice if everyone pursued truth instead of sides, but nearly all of us believe to possess truth already.
So instead of demanding everyone see the truth of the matter, I’ll start with myself: What if I’m wrong?
What if my views are mistaken? What if I’m misinformed? What if my beliefs are wrong? What if my politics are flawed? Can I be certain about things I think I know? Are there other ways to view the world?
As I ask these questions I realize that it is not only a matter of if I’m wrong, but that it is likely I am wrong about a number of things. On the other hand, I realize the importance is less about knowing the truth (though we should all strive to continually learn), and more about continually being open to the possibility of being wrong.
What if instead of choosing sides, we admitted we may not know what the truth is?
Photo by Enkel Dika