“Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.” So goes the famous line from the Assassin’s Creed games. Is there any truth to nothing being true?
I spent the better part of my childhood, teenage years, and hell, even most of my adulthood in some kind of trouble or another over my honesty. I get it, well, honestly, from my mother, who is one of the most blunt and straight-shooting people I have ever known. I have hurt people because of being honest, and perhaps more so, by being too simple. People think that because I am so easygoing, so straight-forward, and so low-maintenance, that I either: don’t care about anything; I’m on drugs; that I have some kind of hidden agenda; that I am always pissed off; or some combination of the aforementioned.
In addition to being an honest and quite simple person, I have long held a belief in absolutism with regards to truth, morality, and ethics, and have always disregarded relativism in those areas of life as dangerously misguided. I am the stick in the mud that ruins people’s “fun” because I want to do the right thing. But that also makes me the guy who will admit when he makes a mistake, and have no problems blowing the whistle on myself. Holding onto an absolutionist viewpoint has also instilled in me a respect for “natural law” that is not unlike what was first presented by the early Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle, and further reinforced later in history by men like John Locke: that humans have certain innate, inalienable, “natural” rights which go beyond the arbitrary laws of governments and nations.
Recent events have challenged my viewpoints. I still hold to natural law as a real and valid viewpoint, and I still hold to my own code of ethics and morality, but relativism has crept its way into my life. Mostly, due to the horrendous breakup that I mentioned in an earlier post, which I am still recovering from and probably never will fully. I have lost a certain amount of respect for myself, and have let myself get swept into things that I shouldn’t, either out of impulse, base need, or just plain hurt. And when those moments come, and I have to be honest with people when those mistakes are made, it creates problems. People get amazingly upset when you are honest about where your priorities lie, or that you are still carrying too much hurt to get involved with them. I guess I am being too vague, but even on a blog such as this, where I will post about almost anything my mind can conjure up, there are some things better left to minimum detail. Suffice to say there are lines I crossed that I never would have a few years ago, with regards to sex, alcohol, and dark, self-destructive thoughts. I suppose compared to most people what I’ve been up to would probably seem tame, maybe even by high school standards, but this quiet, aloof, honest to a fault introvert has a different standard that he judges himself by, and it is about time that I returned to upholding it.
As for the answer, to the question of “is there absolute truth?” Is “nothing is true” a more accurate statement? In my admittedly tiny understanding of the universe, I can’t be so arrogant as to say that there is an absolute truth to everything. We could be inside The Matrix, or we could be someone’s dream. We could all be insanely delusional. There are a staggering number of possibilities. All I can do is uphold my own code, my own “Assassin’s Creed,” if you will, that I know to be true for myself. That, and maybe, just maybe, inspire a little more truth and honesty in this cruel and dishonest world. As the saying from The X-Files goes, “the Truth is out there.” It may not always be pretty, it may not always get you into the “in” crowd, but it would go a long way to stopping a lot of hurt and despair in this whacked out world of ours.