Truth And Objectivity: ‘Things As They Are’

 

The ‘Scientific Stance’, best known in popular expression as ‘Objectivity’, was known in the early Dharmic literature as: ‘Seeing things as they are’ [Sakshat, Yatha Bhutam..] before the vocabulary was hijacked by mystical obscurantists.

Formal Meditation Practice birthed from it, the disciplined cultivation of a tested stance to: ‘See without obstruction’.

As long as there is a presumption of a Separated ‘Self’ there will be obstruction. The platform of the ‘Scientific Stance’ might yet put us back on the path to  Shūnyam.


What is it about this word ‘Objective’? Why does everybody and his aunt want to be ‘Objective’?

It’s like if you weren’t objective, you believed in Santa Claus [whose hard to locate these days, fearing gender and race discrimination lawsuits]. Even Art Critics hint at objective criteria for high-art, known of course only to the Critic.

There is no a priori reason why ‘Objectivity’ is any better than ‘Subjectivity’. It simply reflects the muted suspicion that Truth is independent of me and my views. That Truth is quite indifferent, happily so, to the Subject and its pretenses.


Religion has varying levels of intent, as Refuge, as repository of temporal Meaning, as personal identity and socio-cultural intercourse in ritual and ceremony and so on. Each serves a helpful function but they are not to be conflated with its first purpose as ‘Truth’.

‘Truth’, in delightful irony is a chameleon of a word. It derives from the Old-English Treiewo, itself from the ProtoGerman Treuwaz. Etymological descendant of the Sanskrit Dre and Dhr [as in Dharma], it originally meant ‘Firm, Immovable’.

Around the 14th Century it began a descent in meaning to Fidelity, to a conformance’ [to the situation] and in time to simply as ‘Faith’. Truth in its deepest meaning had something to do with an ‘Unshook Trust’.

As late as the 19th Century Academic philosophers were coming up with ‘Theories of Truth’ which by that very fact vitiates its end. The Consistency Theory of Truth; the Coherence Theory of Truth; the Correspondence Theory of Truth and so on. Plato would have gulped.

If you look up modern dictionary definitions you will find explanations in keeping with the times: ‘Actuality, Certainty, Conformance with Facts, Accord with Reality’ and so on although each of these terms [‘Fact’] would itself require a lengthy elaboration.