Truth - Albert North Whitehead

Essay by iamthejerryHigh School, 12th gradeA-, September 2009

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Truth, what is it? The Oxford Dictionary defines truth as a verified or indisputable fact, principle, or reality. Some may describe it as being genuine, authentic, accurate, or real. However, in present-day society, there is hardly any belief or information that can truly be indisputable. What is "real" when facts can so easily be distorted or portrayed from numerous perspectives? In this respect, Albert North Whitehead insists that "there are no whole truths: all truths are half-truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil". He proposes the idea that there is no absolute truth, no universal indisputable "fact". In actuality, it is when people mistakenly presume the flawlessness or authenticity of this "truth" that confusion and chaos arise. This is apparent throughout the entirety of civilization and can be readily examined in humanity today. From war propaganda of the past and present to modern day media hoaxes, it is evident that "half-truths" exist ubiquitously and that accepting these facts as reality is the reason results inevitably in havoc.

By examining the past wars in human history, it is clear that the manipulation of information by governments is commonly used to influence the mindset of a country's citizens. War propaganda, such as posters and newspaper articles, were used to encourage civilians to join the battle in World War I and World War II, often through direct deception or revealing "half-truths". Young adolescents were deceived by hopes of glory while others were motivated by the vulgar portrayal of the adversary. Advertisements would encourage the youth to uptake the challenge to become a true man. Many saw it as merely an adventure, a chance to prove their manlihood. These callings, however, did not warn these adolescent soldiers of the brutal conditions...