A frequent visitor of this blog, Tildeb, seems to think that reality is the only thing that is true. Well, my intention here is to show that reality is the very thing that contains untruth. He states, “How do you know what is straight? The notion of ‘straight’ (the principle) has various expressions of approximations in reality (the practice) that we utilize, and we utilize these approximations because they work.” … “We use a straight edge to draw a straight line” and this “shows how useful it is to utilize relative tools – both materialistic (a relatively straight edge) as well as theoretical (a relatively useful comparison like differences in quantity) – to help us function in reality when reality arbitrates what works.”
Straightness is a universal. One has only to look at the varying “degrees of straightness” modeled in the material world in order to grasp or extract the concept of straightness. The concept, that exists in the intellect, serves as the standard against which we hold all other straight things we find in the material world. In other words, a straight line in reality is true to the extent that it conforms to the ideal defined by the essence of straightness. A straight line drawn on a cracked sidewalk with a piece of chalk is not as true as one drawn on a table using a ruler and a pen. “True” is meant here in the sense of being genuine, or in the same sense that an arrow which hits its mark is true.
The intellect grasps the true forms of things. These true forms are the universals, the standards by which everything in the material world is judged. We ask ourselves, “does this straight line on my paper correctly instantiate the essence of what it means to be straight?” We trust a ruler to guide us because we see it already conforms to the universal we grasp in our intellects. When you think about straightness, it is necessarily perfect straightness that you are contemplating, not the approximation of it. We find approximations in reality. You may be able to find tiny imperfections not detectable to the naked eye in almost all straight lines that exist in the material world. Closer inspection might reveal a straight line that is not true. But, when mankind comes to make a straight line, we do the best we can.
Now, inasmuch as the things that we see in this world correctly instantiate the universals, they are true. A squirrel that does not store nuts for the winter is not as true as a squirrel that does. A dog that has three legs is not as true as a dog that has four legs. A human that is blind is not as true a human as one that can see. All the world is judged to be true based upon these universals that we grasp. But, that is just it, we grasp them. We apprehend these things as if they were waiting for us to reach them in some way. But, how do they exist? The only way in which we experience them is in the mind. And it seems as if all of reality were built upon these things like great archetypes or blueprints made by some great architect. It follows then, that as only minds contain them, they exist primarily in the divine mind. Thus, a thing is true inasmuch as it expresses conformity to the divine intellect, and the Divine has shared his thoughts with us.
Now, It’s not hard to realize that if John tries to act like Carl, he is imitating him. He has become a crude copy of Carl. And when considered as a “Carl”, John is a less real Carl than Carl himself. In the same way, inasmuch as things in the material world imitate the universals and miss the mark, they are not true and are less real than the things they imitate. That being the case, we are living in a world that is not entirely true and may be more of a copy, a shadow, or a crude imitator than a perfect original. People like Tildeb, who let reality arbitrate what is true are letting falsehoods dictate what is right and wrong. If they really thought that way, they might think a three legged dog better than a four legged dog; or a blind man better than a seeing one. Indeed, they are blind themselves, for they confine themselves to see only the crude imitations, and never open their eyes to the truth.