Xenophanes

Lived in the late 6th and early 5th centuries BC. He is mostly remembered as one of the first Greeks who advanced the theory of monotheism (via implication not explicitly). However one of his most famous testimonia (fragments, likely poems) is B34:

…and of course the clear and certain truth no man has seen
nor will there be anyone who knows about the gods and what I say about all things.
For even if, in the best case, one happened to speak just of what has been brought to pass,
still he himself would not know. But opinion is allotted to all.

This fragment may be what got the “opinion” vs. “truth” ball rolling. Philosophy tended to stick to observation and wonder, but the distinction between “what is” and “what you think it is” quickly took center stage. Plato argues with the Sophist until the cows came home. Sophists argued to win via rhetoric and classic philosophers argued to learn via truth…today we deal with the same nuance.

Many times we see our own opinion as truth…because “I really know what happened” (sure buddy). The fact is, even if present the complete truth still hides from view. How do we reconcile this? The two extremes are (1) hide under rock never look anywhere but ourselves for truth or (2) live so free that the amount of “truths” is overwhelming and never believe anything. There is of course…moderation. We can accept there are valid points of view that may be different than our own. Acknowledgment that something is valid and has value does not mean you make it your own.

Many athletes have a different lifestyle than mine but want to achieve similar physical and health goals. It does not make their method or mine any better or worse, simply different. Example; crazy hippie vegans, they don’t eat meat or animal products which is fine. I love me some Carne Asada grilled on the BBQ with some garlic salt and beer as prep. Not their style. We both want to live healthy happy lives; I simply go about it a different more delicious way (in my opinion). I am sure they say the same about me. We have different opinions, but is it a different truth all together or just splitting hairs? Ultimately we both want to be healthy and happy so where is the rub?

Food for thought (animal products may or may not be included)


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