Locker Room Talk


Today in the locker room we discussed a quote from Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel:

“Truth is found neither in the thesis nor the antithesis, but in an emergent synthesis which reconciles the two.”

The discussion revolved around a number of thoughts:

  • The truth existent in an event
    If we assume that there is truth in an event — that it took place; what happened; the result — then the sum of it all represents the total truth.
  • The truth recognised by the observer:
    It is possible that the observer will perceive the full extent of the event (and thus see 100% of the truth, i.e., the total truth), but it is also likely that the observer, through distraction, inability to fully perceive, etc. will perceive but a subset of the event and thus a corresponding subset of the truth; the perceived truth.
  • The interpretation by the observer:
    The perceived truth must be interpreted. Interpretation is an activity that is processed through an experiential filter which could highlight certain aspects of the event and cloud others. The interpretation, including its annotations, will inform the observer’s assessment of the event and thus the assessment of the truth of the matter.  In the ideal case, the observer’s understanding of the truth — the observer’s truth — would be the same as the total truth. In reality, they will probably be different  (and not necessarily a subset).
  • Taking a picture of the event:
    A photograph allows the observer to freeze the event and provides an accurate and detail image of what was in the camera’s line of sight; the photographic truth.  However, it is not reasonable to conclude that the photographic truth is the same as the total truth for several  reasons, including: the event takes place over a period of time, the photograph is just an instant or slice of that period; the photograph captures only one perspective on the event, not the full context; etc.  These points reflect choices, made by the photographer, that reduce what is captured and thus the photographic truth will be a subset of the total truth.
    • The interpretation of the photograph: 
      As the photographic truth is less than the total truth any interpretation by the observer is operating off a subset and as such is handicaped. 
    • The Emergent Synthesis:
      Given these ramblings, it is clear that reconciliation is difficult to achieve as the synthesis will be based on a single observer’s truth. Multiple observers can improve the situation, however, sharing similar experiential filters could result in some aspects of the truth not getting through to the analysis.

That’s where it was left. 


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