What is Truth?

Is truth based on reality or what the group believes? My religion teacher once said that truth was based on a Corporate Experience as opposed to a reality that exists independent of what we believe. The book 1984 Winston Smith was told by the Inner party member that 2+2 was equal to 5 if they said it was. The Inner party member was saying that he could make the group believe anything and that would be the truth. I often feel like Winston Smith.

So I ask “What are the merits of the two approaches.” I contend that without truly studying reality independent of our existing notions we never would have advanced as a society. Discoveries of science, technology, medicine, environmental science, social work, finance, business were made based on testing ideas in the real world and seeing the truth that exists as opposed to a preconceived notion. Scholars have to be willing to change their beliefs based on the evidence that we see to progress out of the Stone Age into the modern age.

So what is the advantage of truth as corporate experience? One might say that it provides a unity of people. But actually corporate beliefs can differ from one group to another, causing wars over small differences in group beliefs. Truth based on reality is actually a more unifying force because controlled experiments can be repeated be separate scientists in different parts of the world. As peer reviewed journal publish finding scientist in different parts of the world reproduce the experiments meaning that scientist all of the world agree much more that they disagree and disagreements are usually resolve by enough experiments.

I find the most common use of truth based on a group belief is illustrated by the book 1984. The ones who can use a group belief and control can control people and cause them to make decisions that go against logical assumptions. If you can move the masses against what is best for them and others you can gain power and control. Some people see limitless power as the main goal of the life. Many more are happy to be controlled by others if they can deny responsibility for their actions.

I feel the continued advancement of the U.S.A. and the world will depend on how many people chose to dig deep and follow a truth based on facts. That being said religion can encourage people to use their knowledge to help others rather than take advantage of others. That defines a good religion in my beliefs. But people will not be able to help each other if they do not understand the problems that others face. People will not be able to avoid harming others if they do not understand the problems each of our own actions causes others. This is more important in a global society where your breakfast drink may have been picked by someone on the other side of the globe.