Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog

The Connotations of ‘Truth’

“Lie” (falsehood) is an interesting word because of the religious and philophical depth of its meaning. The 9th commandment (Exodus 20:16) is “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”, and virtually all religious leaders interpret that commandment as a command from God never to lie and to always tell something called “the truth”.

Aside from the fact that truth itself is elusive, not always a bright white spot with clear edges against a black background, this interpretation of truth runs into many problems. The first, of course, is why did God not say, simply and straightforwardly, “Thou shalt not lie”? Why did he command us not to testify falsely and why restrict it to our neighbors?

To clarify the moral connotations of this word, let me propose a hypothetical situation critically involving truth. Let us consider someone who is a deeply devout Dutch Christian living in Amsterdam in 1942 in a house at 265 Prinsengracht Straat. That person has noticed suspicious activity at the house next door, #263, and on several evenings they have noticed people you know to be Jewish entering and leaving the house.

One day this person is presented with a subpoena to appear before a grand jury (assume such existed) investigating the crime of hiding Jews in the city (which was a crime at the time) and after swearing on the Bible, which they consider the most sacred object in their life, they are asked whether they have any knowledge of Jews living secretly in the city.

True answer: yes. Lie: No. True answer: the family of Anne Frank dies. Lie: they will likely survive. Which answer is more likely to send that person to eternal damnation?

Is truth an absolute good or simply a neutral test of the accuracy of statements we make, the morality of which depends on the outcome of telling the truth or manipulating it?

Should we teach our children to always tell the truth, knowing that they are not going to do it for good reason since sometimes the truth unnecessarily hurts people. Less critical situations arise every day in life: is it really better to tell your friend that her outfit is ugly and hurt her feelings than to lie? Should we tell people that they are stupid just because we know they are?

None of us tell the truth in every instance truth becomes an issue. Lying to falsely accuse anyone is bad because the consequences are bad. Lying to save their lives is good because the consequences are good. Telling the truth or not plays no role in morality. That is probably why the 9th Commandment is not, “Thou shalt not lie.”

One Response to “The Connotations of ‘Truth’”

  1. EarthySpirit Says:

    As reality and concepts are agreed upon mainly by humanity in a humanized sense of things, we really ought dehumanize all definitions to the base level of energies or energy collectives in communication with other energy collectives. Language and the symbology therin, relates to the geometry of communication amongst entities, human and non.

    What is truth to an atom!


    If a thing exists then it is true.

    No response can be untru, for in existing the signal truly exists and thus truth is existence of.

    In relativity, truth is what we agree upon, so the infinite perspectives of relative relation are all truths.

    Humanity must stop adhering to duality and bring all polarities to the center in order to know truth for all that it is.

    I am currently studying the symbology of the alphabet, the individual relative meanings intended by the cosmos or if you wish, by God, that symbol collective so sadly misinterpreted throughout the ages.

    Very soon the world will see where we have missed the truth while it has stared us in the face for so long.

    Each letter, both uppercase and lowercase describe graphically the form, function, and motions of all energies, in relative sense, the reason we find this so difficult as a species to grasp is that in relativity, each symbol contain infinite meanings, depending on that which relates to it, however, at the basest level, the morpheme of uppercase letters is broad spectrum, applicable to all thatexists.

    The cosmic code of life, built right into our alphabets. Ièd like to say I thought of it, and since Ièm a part of the whole, I deserve equal credit.

    We all do.

    Dehumanize, depolarize, descale, unnumber and allow affinity a chance to overule infinity.

    (in)not (fin)end (ity) nature

    funny we use somuch inversion in an attempt to define the refinable.

    The refinite is not definite.

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