Absolute Essay, Research Paper

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

constant motion of circumstances 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 understanding 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 reason why religion has been a major factor

in previous wars and movements. The attempt to follow

one truth, instead of freely allowing individuals and societies

to follow their own truth, has led many people into

frustration and hostility. All concepts are so dynamic that

the truth that one believes may appear to be self-ironic. A

person may believe that television promotes violence in

kids, exposes the use of profanity, and stupidity. Another

person my believe that television may be educational

because the exposure of all these problems will form into

understanding. Although both may be perfectly true to each

other, the two issues are found to be to be contradictory.

The disagreement does not make the other statement false,

but establishes another truth. If each of the blind men spend

less time on proving his own account and spend more time

understanding the different truths that exist, they may

discover that all perceptions of the elephant can be taken

into consideration. The men may discover that the elephant

is a great living pillar, a great snake, and like a sharp

ploughshare at the same time, or at different times. The

blind men may even come to the conclusion that the

elephant may be neither of these. The opinions of the blind

men may be constantly in motion because of the

acceptance of the many viewpoints that currently exist and

may exist in the future. Although the elephant may stay the

same, opinions about it may change and adapt. Works

Cited Bowie, Lee G., Michaels, Meredith W., Solomon,

Robert C. Twenty Questions "An Introduction to

Philosophy. Harcourt Brace & Company, 3rd ed.

Kierkegaard 72- 75 Handout. Traditional Parable

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