A friend of mine and I recently had dinner at a little Greek place we had never been to before. I was unfamiliar with the menu and asked the waitress what was good there. She told us her favorites and we both ordered one of them. When the food was delivered it was a little more like cafeteria food than had been expected. The overall flavors were not necessarily bad; they just didn’t rate high compared to other dining options for that evening. Maybe the waitress and I have differing palates. The real question is why did I accept the recommendation of a person whom I don’t know anything about without looking into it more?
I saw a post on Facebook showing a picture of Johnny Depp with a quote that basically says to do what you need to do and don’t care what other people think. I personally think there is wisdom in this quote. I think that people put far too much stock in what others think about them. With that said, why is this more valuable because a celebrity said it? Johnny Depp makes a reported 100 million dollars a year. I really think he has a far different perspective on caring what others think than I do. Why would I accept this advise without truly struggling through it just because a celebrity said it? Popular thought does not create truth. God creates truth.
It amazes me sometimes how we accept so easily philosophical assertions without truly questioning the supporting ideas. There is a prevalent thought in our world that truth is a relative concept and that absolute truth is at least archaic and at the most completely impossible. It is not a new philosophy. Traces of it date back to Greek thought hundreds of years before the time of Christ (see Al_theia by Protagoras of Abdera or Theaetetus by Plato). It has morphed through history and is now linked mostly to Postmodernism. I believe that concepts of this movement have valuable insight into philosophical thought; however relativism is probably one of the weakest.
We would like to believe that truth is malleable. It is a comforting thought to our souls to believe that we can bring correctness to our actions simply by redefining the rules but overall it falls in on itself. If truth is not absolute and can be interpreted by the user, how can anything be trusted? We want to choose our definitions when it is to our benefit, but not when we need the truth. If a person has a sick child or spouse, the last thing they need is a doctor’s opinion based on a variant definition of health or treatment. If we get a speeding ticket for going 35 miles an hour in a 35 MPH zone because the officer wants to redefine speeding, we won’t stand for it. If we found a one pound diamond in the ground on the edge of our property, we will not stand for our neighbor redefining property lines and making a claim on it. If a scientist tells us that cholesterol levels in beef are lower than we thought, we won’t accept it if he redefines his test parameters to do so. If we go to a restaurant to eat dinner, we will not want the chef to choose an alternative definition of cleanliness and food safety standards.
The problem seems to be that we want to use this philosophy to our advantage but are unwilling to accept it across the board. If that is the case, how can it be legitimate? In reality, people want absolute truth, it just seems they want executive authority to create that absolute when it benefits them.