These days, you hear people talking about “their truth.” Everyone seems to think they live in their own version of reality, but in a world where everyone has their own beliefs about what is true and what is not, is there any objective truth? Brittany and Emma discuss.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Emma: Hi Brittany.
Brittany: Hi Emma.
Emma: So, today we are going to talk about something called Objective Truth. And this is something that you may have heard a bit about. If you’ve ever read about philosophy or read about, ethics or sort of more critical thinking type stuff, it’s a little more out there. It’s a little more abstract than what we usually talk about on this show, but it’s something that I think is super important to talk about because there are so many people out there saying things like, speak your Truth, or This is my truth. And it’s kind of funny because if you believe that truth exists at all, there’s no such thing as my truth or your truth. There’s just what is and what isn’t. And that’s sort of what this concept is all about. it’s basically the idea that the truth isn’t different depending on who it’s coming from or what people think about it or how the truth makes them feel. It’s whatever exists, exists and it can’t be changed just because we maybe don’t like it or we disagree with it.
Brittany: Exactly. And there’s actually, again, I mentioned Ayn Rand a lot, which is funny because I’m not, I like Ayn Rand for how she got me into broader thinking, but I’m not a huge Ayn Rand fan. terrifies me. I think she would’ve been terrifying to hang out with Totally. But in one of her books, she always says A equals A, which sounds simple enough, but that is kind of to say that there is an objective truth in this world. A equals A, you can’t change that. But it’s funny, I don’t know if you if anyone has kept up with things, there’s kind of a debate right now where people are like, but two plus two can equal five. And it doesn’t, obviously like you’re saying, there’s only one truth, but we’re starting to live in a world, I say starting, we’re far well into it. where like you said, people wanna talk about their own truth. I’ve even seen people talk about, so numbers to me are one of the obvious things like math is very objective, right? Math is what it is. You solve an equation. There is only one right answer. Well, now there’s people saying that maybe math is racist and maybe math is like, I’m like, I can’t even say this without laughing cuz it’s so absurd that like, math is made to change or you know, there’s other truths that’s where two plus two equals five. And it’s like, no it doesn’t. there is only one truth. And people can have opinions. Opinions for sure are a completely different thing than truth. So I think I couldn’t hide my disgust when you said the people are like, oh, live your truth. Cuz that is one of my biggest pet peeps.
Emma: Oh yes. Yeah. And I mean, I think a big part of that is it’s kind of a feel-good thing to say, oh, speak your truth. There’s a big difference between the truth and maybe the life that you have experienced so far. So you can speak your experience and you can tell your life story, but that doesn’t necessarily change, the overarching truth that exists in our world there, you know, there are things that happened and there are things that did not happen. And when you look back in history, you see that things that happened were verified and you know, there were different people that could weigh in and say, yes, I was there, I saw this happened. And that’s sort of how our history has been written is by verification and making sure that we know what’s true. And we see this also like you mentioned in math. math is something where math was not my favorite subject, to own thing mine.
Brittany: Nor nevermind.
Emma: Yeah. I always appreciated it a little bit because I knew that if I plugged in my answers the right way, and if I, you know, especially with algebra and equations and that kind of thing, you would get to the end and you would know whether or not you got it right. Because you could plug your answer back in and it would be true. And if you do it wrong, it’s false. And that’s sort of how truth works to really boil it down simply is it’s that some things exist and some things are true and some things are not. And there’s this sort of thing happening, this theme in our modern, you know, debate that’s going on and in the news where people like to manipulate, you know what they present as the truth Yes. To fit their own narrative. So we see this sometimes with people like AOC saying, you know, the world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t pass the Green New Deal. Which is.
Brittany: I can’t even say your name.
Emma: I know.
Brittany: Wait, it’s Alexandria Ocasio? Okay. I’m not gonna say,
Emma: Ocasio-Cortez. Yeah.
Brittany: Yes, there it is. And I apologize for butchering her name, but
Emma: Yes, she is, if you haven’t heard of her before, she is a congresswoman who actually calls herself a socialist. So she.
Brittany: A Democratic Socialist, which is just a socialist with a fancy, you know, adjective, but in front of it.
Emma: Exactly. Yeah. it’s no different. if it’s socialism, whether or not you voted in, it’s the same ideas. So maybe, some people like socialism that doesn’t make it any better. But yeah, she does this a lot where she takes things that are simply not true and presents them with, you know, this passion and she gets really excited or she gets really sad and she’ll talk about these things that simply are not true. So she’s, done this with the Green New Deal. She does it with stuff like college debt forgiveness, which is this idea that people who take out loans to pay for college should just have them canceled by the government. And she’ll sort of present these things more with the story than with the actual facts about what happens if you pass those policies. And she’ll even kind of twist the data into, you know, a way that doesn’t actually reflect the truth. And it’s not just her to be fair that does this. A lot of ’em, politicians do this constantly so that they can, you know, play off of our fear so that they can give people free stuff that makes them wanna vote for them and keep them in office. And it’s, something that the government does a lot is sort of twisting these things around. And if we all had a shared understanding that there there is truth and that there is a baseline that, you know, certain things cannot be changed just because we really don’t like them. Like the fact that you take out a loan, you need to pay for it. That’s sort of one way to look at it. But there’s also a broader, and Brittany, I would love to hear your thoughts on this. There’s a broader, like objectivism versus relativism and those are some big crazy words, but do you wanna take a crack at maybe explaining that?
Brittany: Yeah. And so I’m more familiar with this with actually on like an economic level. So there’s subjectivism where, you know, a equals a and this is where Ayn Rand disagreed with people like Ludwig Von Mises, then there’s something like subjectivism, so they’re opposites of each other. And that’s something we should probably define then I won’t go too far in economic causes like keeping this more philosophical, but basically, subjectivism or relativism is like the opposite of objectivism. That is where everyone has something different. So in economics, we actually will be pro subjective value because we’d say like, oh, the government can’t set a value to something that is universal because we all value things differently. And Connor and I have talked about this in past episodes where, you know, somebody who was like the government might say, well, no, it’s what I say it is. Right? But again, that’s not true. So relativity is similar in the regard that it’s like, oh, well it’s all relative or it’s all different for everybody else, but usually said, Emma, there’s only one truth. And in a lot of ways, the progressives of the world are trying to kind of take us into this new thing where labels don’t matter and again math is racist and all these things. And then you have to say like, wait for a second, there are universal truths and there are people, intellectual dark web, we’ve talked about that a little bit before. And I’ve talked about Griffin Peterson so many times. I probably like listeners who are probably sick of it. But, you know, he talks a lot about the importance of getting back to this universal truth that we’re so interested now in Oh, find your own truth and live your own truth. That we are forgetting that there are universal principles of truth. There are things we have to face. And he has one quote, I had just pulled it up and I forgot it. it’s truth burns like wood, I believe truth is something that burns and it should burn because the truth isn’t always easy. And here’s, I think the problem with these people is, like people like AOC who it sounds great on paper that we should all get free college, right? that sounds great, but the truth is not always great. You have to really dive in and say, okay, you know, facts and feelings are not the same here. The truth of the matter is we can’t afford student loans or to pay for everybody’s, you know, school because we’d have to keep printing money. And we all know where that has gotten us. So the truth is uncomfortable. And I think we have to remember that because just because something is the truth and we’re always told, you know, tell the truth this and that the truth is uncomfortable. The truth is not always the easiest way, but it’s something you cannot escape from. It’s something that is always going to be there whether you recognize it or not.
Emma: Absolutely. That’s such a good point because there are so many, so many reasons why you may not want to face the truth and you may not want to talk about the truth. Like you said, Brittany, it can be hard or it can be painful, or may be inconvenient. Yes. but the more willing you are to sort of confront that truth and face it head-on, rather than sort of shying away from it or pretending it’s not there, it actually gives you power to solve problems. Yes. So when people look at the truth of, okay, college is expensive, what’s a way that we can help with this? There’s one way you can go that completely ignores the truth and it’s, let’s just make college free. Well, what that does is it makes college degrees if everyone has them because they’re free, it basically becomes the new high school diploma and it’s not as big of a deal to go and it devalues it. And it also, you have to print money to do it, and it makes our money less valuable. But if you’re rooted in truth, you can do something. Like, there’s this idea that I love called income sharing agreements. And basically what that is a company that wants maybe students who studied engineering or who studied finance can make a deal directly with the students and say, we’re going to pay for your college if you major in this, and if you get good grades, and if you come to work for us for, you know, five years after, that’s cool. We will pay your college debt for you. And that’s a solution that’s rooted in truth. Yeah. Because they’re not trying to say, Hey, college isn’t expensive, college isn’t a big deal, or everyone should get to go. They’re saying, our understanding of the truth is that we need skilled workers who know how to do, you know, how to draw these plane plans and engineer and come up with all these amazing things. We need people with those special skills. So we’re gonna make sure that it’s possible for them to do that, and we’re gonna make it beneficial for them. And that’s sort of like just one little random example of how you could maybe see truth in the real world, and especially in something like college, which is talked about all the time by folks like AOC. but yeah, there’s, there are ways that we can confront the truth, even if it’s not the most comfortable or the easiest that actually help more people in the long run. Because ignoring it or changing the truth or changing the way you think the truth exists actually doesn’t do anything for us. And it ultimately just makes us more susceptible to harm from the truth that’s out there.
Brittany: Absolutely. And I actually wanna zoom in even further. So one thing that I’ve talked about a lot in the past is, you know, to make a bigger impact on, the world, you have to make, first make an impact on yourself. And I think this lesson applies to individuals as well. You need to be truthful about one, your own weaknesses, and your own strengths. And this goes into just being a better person. And even specialization saying, I’m not good at this job. When I first started my career, I had to say I was an event planner. I’m a horrible event planner. I’m not a detail-oriented person, And I had to kind of look at the truth and say, you know what? This is not my skill set I am not good at this job and step back and be really truthful with myself. And that was hard. That wasn’t easy to say, I’m not good at this. I don’t think we ever like to say I’m not good at anything. Right? Yeah. So then I had to find what I was good at, which is writing, which I thrive in. But even on a more personal note is being honest with yourself about your flaws. Saying like, okay, here’s something I really need to work on in my personal life. You know, maybe I am not as clean as I need to be. I need to clean up my room, or, I need to be kinder to people. I need to show more gratitude. This all starts with this principle of objective truth, of recognizing the truth. Now with this, you can change, right? Then with your own self, you can say, all right, maybe I’m not good at this and I’m gonna change. With universal truths like economics, like things like free college. That’s a little different. But I think they’re still interrelated because you can look at yourself and say, all right, this is the honest truth. This is, you know, it might even help you get to a better place. Just like recognizing that free college doesn’t work could help you get to a better place economically.
Emma: Yes, there’s so much value and so much power in having that desire to understand the real truth, the objective truth that’s out there, and saying, Hey, here’s the reality. Here’s what I can do within that reality, and here’s what I can do to improve myself and make myself, you know, more, you know, more able to reach the things that I want. And that’s super, super powerful when you look in at yourself and you say, here are some real things that maybe I’m not so good about. I can improve those. And that’s the one thing you can actually change. How well you can handle, you know, your own flaws is dependent on if you understand the truth about yourself. But to do that, you’ve got to look inside and you’ve got to understand those flaws are there, rather than just thinking, oh, there’s nothing wrong with me. there are no ways I can improve. But thank you, Brittany, for jumping into that with me. Of course. And I definitely want to give you guys some articles about Jordan Peterson and he’s done so many things on Objective Truth and he’s just a really brilliant person that I know Brittany loves as well.
Brittany: My guy.
Emma: Yes. So we’ll give you guys some more information on this in the show notes cause I know that this was kind of like a different topic than we normally do. But thank you so much for listening. And Brittany, thanks for joining. We will talk to you guys again soon.
Brittany: Talk to you later.