Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Is anything absolute or is all relative?

The philosopher Karl Popper (1902-1994) once defined three kinds of truths: absolute, objective and subjective. He also stated that it’s unlikely that we will ever be able to find evidence for an absolute truth. Indeed, there are often exceptions to any “rule”. Usually, time will reveal even more exceptions. If even the truth is relative, is there anything absolute?

Let’s start with a definition in order to reduce confusion: relative allows you to compare. Hence, anything absolute must thus be unique without any opportunity for comparison. This definition already reveals that even the most unique items (eg, Grand Canyon, the Night Watch by Rembrandt) can be compared.

Any religion has its own unique deity (eg, Ahura Mazda, Allah, Brahman, God, Yahweh). Hence, they can thus be compared and are no longer absolute. In my view, these deities must be the same. Nevertheless, I will never be able to prove that there is only one deity. This also represents Karl Popper‘s dilemma with an absolute truth.

Theoretical physicists claim that no information can ever get lost (ie, no-hiding theorem). In practical terms, information does get lost. Sometimes, information resurfaces again after very many years and even questions the origin of some inventions (eg, ancient Babylonian tablet on triangle calculations).

Let’s use the available dimensions to assess what could be viewed as absolute: (1) space and time, (2) energy vs matter, (3) Love, Knowledge & Power. A quick assessment reveals the following:
– both Space and Time expand and must thus be relative;
– Matter is subject to entropy while Energy depletes over time;
– Knowledge expands and is thus relative;
– Power seems always restricted in time and in space (eg, death);
– what about Love?

Most types of Love are limited in space and/or time (eg, eros, philautia, philia, storge, xenia). How about agape? Divine love is a human belief that cannot be proven during our lifetime. Hence, Karl Popper‘s dilemma with an absolute truth. It may exist but we will never be able to prove it beyond any doubt (eg, our limited lifespan).

Actually, it’s quite amazing that we have a word for something that does not seem to exist: absolute. To some extent, the same applies to the word nothing. Please see my 2018 blog: Nothing. We use these words in a relative (sic!) meaning.

Actually, I just had a brainwave: consciousness is unique and cannot be compared to anything else; partly because we still have no clue what consciousness is. Perhaps, consciousness will ever qualify as absolute.

Agape (2013) by Bear’s Den
artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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