Reflecting, hermeneutics as non-metaphysics
The Level 3 – Experienced level consists of the book Walking. You can read it online or download it for free by opening the webpage.
The following video is connected to the content of the book: you can watch it before, during or after reading it.
Towards spirituality – 1 Critique of the concept of truth
Hello everybody. This video is part of a series of three videos, as an introduction to the blog Spiritual Study. This one is about truth and I will try to show you that when we talk about radical questions, essential topics, then we can say that truth does not necessarily exist or, just directly, it doesn’t exist. How can we say this. Let’s make a simple example. If I try to look at the sky, I will see it and I will say “The sky is blue”. Who tells me that the sky is blue? We can answer “My eyes” and the message that enters in my eyes is interpreted by my brain and lets me make a statement and I say “The sky is blue”. In this sense, truth was traditionally defined as matching, correspondence between the thing, that is the sky, and the intellect, that is my mind, what I say. If they match, this is truth. So, if the sky is blue and I say that it is blue, this is truth. But, as I said, this actually arises a lot of problems. For example, I could doubt about my eyes, perhaps my eyes are defective, they don’t let me see colours as they really are. So, I can ask friends, to my friends “How is the sky, what’s the colour of the sky? They can comfort me and they can tell me “It’s blue”. So, I could say “Okay, so it’s really blue”. But we know that even friends can all make mistakes, can all make errors; but the problem is even more radical. The problem is that the message from my eyes or the message that arrives to me from the answer of my friends, anyway is interpreted by my brain. This is the problem and whatever way I will try to check what my brain is saying to me, finally, the last word is again from my brain. So, instead of asking my friends, I can use instruments, electronic instruments, microscopes. We know, technology offers us a lot of instruments, but who tells me the reading of the instruments? If I look at a ruler, who tells me what the ruler is showing? If I look at a microscope, who tells me what the microscope is showing me? The brain, my brain. So, this is the problem: the last word is always given me by my brain. How can I control what my brain says to me? Again, by using my brain, because whatever I put between me and my brain, the last word will be again by my brain. So, in this sense, there is a situation that we cannot escape from. The situation is that what is controlled and who the controller is are the same. What is controlled is my brain; who will control my brain? My brain again, because I cannot escape from having last word from my brain. In this sense, what I’m saying is similar to the experiment that you can find by looking on Internet of the brain in a vat, a brain enclosed in a vat and what he thinks to be the external reality is actually given him by some impulses. But this is not just an experiment. We can realise that it’s our condition, it’s our situation because the vat is our brain itself. We cannot exit, we cannot go out of our brain. There can be alternatives. We can talk about similarities probabilities. But we cannot actually talk about truth, “This is the truth”: this is just what my brain tells me. We can talk about truth, because we need this word, especially in everyday life, so I’m not saying that the word “truth” must not be used, but we need awareness that we can use the word “truth” only in everyday life, practical problems. But, if we want to talk, for example, about the meaning of our life: who are we in the universe? What’s the sense of our being? Who am I? So, if we want to be radical, if we want to deal with essential questions about life, existence, the world, I mean, the essential questions of philosophy, we cannot rely on the word “truth”. We can even say that we don’t know its meaning. It’s like an illusion. At this point we can feel confused because our mind tells us “Of, from here there are a lot of consequences, a lot of things that we need to think and rethink starting from this point. What I’m trying to do is not just create confusion, but giving some guide, giving some help to move in this forest, among the trees of this forest. So, we don’t need to say “Okay, the result, the final result is just confusion, lack of any reference, lack of any orientation”. I think the situation is different, so don’t rush to say “Okay, everything is confused”. This is a just a too rushed conclusion. So, I will just invite you to appreciate this work of studying in depth the questions of our life, the deep questions. Don’t be too in a rush to make conclusions. Just have patience to cover this way, that actually is an enthusiastic way. This is the aim of the blog of Human Spirituality: just trying to see where we can go and what is the pleasure of covering this distance of going on this walking. So, I would like the you, rather than feeling confused, would feel interested in going on, in the interesting ways of our spirituality. So see you in next episode, next video. Goodbye.