Absolute Underezding



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 conezt motion of circumezces 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 underezding for all objects. Truth is

achieved through the concept and not the object itself. Because many

individuals hold different perceptions, they have many truths to

consider, or not to consider. For example, it would be impossible to

determine, whether or not, the cutting of trees is either "good" or

"bad." One might have the conception that cutting trees destroys homes

for birds and other animals. Another person might have the conception

that cutting trees is necessary to satisfy the need to provide homes

for humans. Whatever concept is understood from the object, may be the

truth. Just because there may be other viewpoints to this situation,

does not mean that there has to be false statements. The tree can be

used for many uses from medicine to paper to boats and none of these

views would be wrong. The tree remains to be a tree, but the values of

the tree can differentiate, depending on who is using it. The

conception of God, or the non-conception of God, is another issue that

many people make the mistake of trying to prove. A well recognized

philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard states, "For if God does not exist it

would of course be impossible to prove it; and if he [or she] does

exist it would be folly to attempt it." Demonstrating the existence or

non- existence of God only produces reasons for belief, not the actual

proof that God exists. Kierkegaard also claims, "...between God and

his works there exists an absolute relationship: God is not a name but

a concept"( Kierkegaard 72). The relationship between man and God is a

concept. A person with belief in God, cannot prove its existence

through his or her own relationship with God. Kierkegaard adds again,

"The works of God are such that only God can perform them" We have no

basis of proving God's works, nor do we know what kind of works God

uses on different individuals. Yet, some religious groups have made

the mistake to try to enforce their own religion upon different

individuals. Some religious groups claim that their religion is the

only "true" religion, which is very untrue. This may be a