3 Obstacles to Truth

By: Marta A.

In this article I will deal with a more philosophical question which is what, in your opinion are the three main obstacles to truth?

  1. Not being able to share thoughts

The way we share thoughts is through language. There are many different thing that fall under this use of the term language as it include not just spoken words, but also art, movies, theatre, books and any other way one can share an idea. Although there are so many different ways to share a thought, it is impossible for two people to perfectly understand each other. It is impossible for two people to communicate perfectly. It’s like the telephone game we would lay as children; the first person in the line makes up a sentence and whispers it to the second person and by the time we get to the end of the line the message is completely different. This issue is exacerbated when dealing with complicated topics. As Snowden once said in an interview, “it’s a real challenge to figure out how do we communicate things that require sort of years and years of technical understanding and compress that into seconds of speech.”[1]As we become more knowledgeable as a species, certain people will find their passion and develop skills in certain areas. This means that we cannot be knowledgeable about everything and we cannot learn or understand information from a new sphere in seconds.

  1. The inability to be objective

Everyone is bias and it is impossible not to be. There is no such thing as a random choice with human beings, as for example, if you need to pick a random envelope out of three that look exactly the same you might pick the first one because subconsciously there is something that attracts you towards that envelope. You might not know why you picked that one but there was a bias that lead you to that specific envelope.

  1. The lack of a way to know something for sure

In Theory of Knowledge (TOK), we study the various ways of knowing which are the following: language, sensory perception, emotion, reason, imagination, faith, intuition and memory. All these ways of knowing have limitations. Language, as I have indicated before, does not perfectly transfer ideas from one person to another. Sensory perception is relative. We see snow and we say its white but we will never know if that is the same white for all of us. Emotion is sometimes misleading and does not reflect truth. Reason is limited by assumptions among other things. We make assumptions and reason on their basis, but if those assumptions are wrong then the whole reasoning might be wrong. Imagination can also be misleading and contradict reality so we cannot fully trust it. Faith also has limits as it one can argue that it does not rely on proof and might lack evidence. Intuition also lacks proof and can sometimes be misleading. The last way of knowing is memory, which is limited as we remember certain things and sometimes we change the order of events or twist the story completely. Here I just very briefly summarized some limits of every way of knowing but one could discuss them for hours. Without a perfect way of knowing, we will always risk flaws in what we perceive as true.

Overall we can see that perhaps everything is not as clear as we think it is. It is very interesting to think about the possibilities and how wrong we might be about everything. In conclusion, this is just some food for thought and a list of the main three obstacles humans face when trying to state something

[1]. LastWeekTonight, “Government Surveillance: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO),” YouTube, April 05, 2015, accessed March 12, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEVlyP4_11M.



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