Entitled to our Truth???

Quora – Since we’re all entitled to our own truth and we each have different perceptions of reality and everyone’s truth is valid does that basically mean we’re all in our own worlds? How can we ever work together or agree on things in this environment?

[ 16/1/21 ]

As many others have noted – there are many invalid assumptions in the question.

What gives anyone the idea that they are “entitled” to their own “truth”?

What does that mean?

Sure, we all have our own personal simplistic understandings of reality. For the most part they are almost certainly wrong in many essential aspects, and for the most part they are close enough to be useful in survival in most common contexts – that is all that evolution requires for survival. Taking it any further than that is taking certainty too far, and over simplifies in a way that poses existential level risk.

What is required is not an arrogance delivered by “truth”, but a humility delivered by uncertainty in the face of complexity.

We need respect for diversity, without giving any of it the label “truth” – which tends to create an arrogance and certainty that, for the most part, is not warranted.

The idea that all perceptions and understandings are equally valid is nonsense.

All perceptions and understandings may necessarily contain uncertainties and inaccuracies, but that does not make the uncertainties and inaccuracies equally important in any particular context.

Sure, all any of us get to experience is essentially our own personal “virtual reality” version of whatever reality is, and that in no way means that all are equally useful for survival in any particular context. In all domains competencies can be developed with experience, even in novel domains. And sometimes our competencies can be traps, so sometimes looking at things without the biases of past experience can deliver useful outcomes. We must be open to both. That is a big part of why diversity is useful, all dimensions; as it allows for really useful novelty to emerge and prove itself.

It is very difficult to work together when any has the arrogance of “Truth” that closes their perceptions to any and all alternative interpretations or responses.

It is entirely possible to work with vast diversity if everyone accepts fundamental uncertainty in all things, and builds operational confidence on that base; all accept the need for multiple “safe to fail” experiments at all levels, most of the time. Having one single response is only ever safe(ish) under the most dire of circumstances.

Yes, we are each in our own experiential worlds, and we all seem to share the same objective world, even if none of us can ever be entirely sure what any of them are.

In terms of strategic responses in the face of complex uncertainties, cooperation is always more likely to lead to survival than competition. That is a fact of strategic complexity. The modern myth of the power of strategic competition is a dangerous oversimplification of a vastly more complex reality. Fundamental competition contains existential level risk to complexity. Cooperation is required, as is diversity.

At all levels, from individuals through communities to nations we need respect for diversity; and we need cooperation between all levels of diverse agents if we are to survive.

And every level of agent needs to be open to the possibility of error at any and all levels of perception and understanding. All useful models are necessarily simplifications of whatever it is that they model, and their usefulness is often highly contextually sensitive.

Sometimes contexts change in ways that are not at all obvious to those within them.

Sometimes, to get things done, we just need to agree to let people do stuff, without worrying too much about the why; because sometimes there is no way to communicate the “why” in any useful or available time.

The greatest strength and security possible comes from cooperation in diversity, provided that there is genuine respect for diversity, for the life and liberty of agents; and all liberty necessarily comes with limits and responsibilities.

Complexity must have boundaries in order to survive – all levels. The really mind-bendy bit of that is that it is not required that anyone actually understand what those limits are, provided that actions in practice do not actually violate them – hence the many levels and forms of “culture” that we have.

And respect for life means being responsible for the maintenance of all levels of structure required to sustain life, including biological ecosystems as well as cultural ecosystems.

Nothing simple.

Nothing certain.

An eternal need for respect and action, to the best of our limited and fallible abilities – each and every one of us; all levels.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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