The design of truth

What kind of truth do you know? That depends on what kind of reality you inhabit and what kind of life you are trying to lead.


A truth relates a knower to some part of reality and allows that knower to participate in that reality in some capacity to some degree.

Two truths can conflict in the same way that two good user interface design approaches can be incompatible with one another. And this is barely metaphorical: truth is a person’s interface with a local bit of reality.


A choice of truth can be between truth and falseness: Does it represent accurately, or does it distort or obscure? But a choice of truth can also be between effective and ineffective: Can the truth be used to do what needs doing, or does it lead to paralysis or mistakes? And finally, choice can be between valuable and valueless: Does this truth lead to something good and beautiful, or something depressing and repellent?

Truth is a mixture — and sometimes a designed system — of factuality, actuality and importance.


We can design truth, and we are allowed to, but what we design can succeed or fail at what it aims to be and do and mean. Is this relativism? Absolutely — but it is neither purely subjective, nor arbitrary.

(This is what my book The Ten-Thousand Everythings is about.)

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