The Drive For Truth

Hey ILP faithful. I have a question which has been bugging me. It is one that should be easily answered but the more I ponder it the more the answer reads ‘inconclusive’. It is this:

Why do human beings have such a desire to ‘know’ truths?

Many individuals devote their entire careers and indeed their lives to it, most (dare I say all) are left dissatisfied, or unfulfilled. It is a desire that seems never to relent, or even to abbate. What is the need to understand such things in the world? Theoretically there appears to be no problem in us being able to indulge in other desires, live, and do all of the things that we do but without the persistent struggle for truth. Why is truth important to us?

Also, why is holding the truth important to YOU, specifically?

Because if I wanted to be a nut seeking squirrel, I would have just grown a tail.

The times I least believe in free will are the times that I spend looking into ‘truth’-related things. I have no choice in the matter. There are certain things I must know, and I do whatever it takes to know them.

I think the pursuit of truth comes from the propagation of novelty, which is a universal function. Things have to be realized. Certain people, therefore, have to look into certain things. It must happen, and therefore does.

The homosapian functions by virtue of instincts overlaid by conscious reasoning. Reasoning requires consistency, else predicting anything by instinct or conscious deduction becomes pointless.

Predicting is what allows us to not only avoid threats, but also ensure hopes. But to predict, what we call “truth” must be known to a degree sufficient for the circumstance. The more clouded or vague the issues become, the more certainty we have to seek in details. The eyes and ears of every creature do this naturally. The eyes adjust for focus to bring clarity. The ears adjust to noise levels and direction of sounds. They seek “truth” on an instinctive level for sake of clarity of hopes and threats.

It is the drive for clarity that is instigated by hopes and threats that leads us to survival, “self-harmony”.
That drive is the drive for knowledge and truth.

“Clarify, Verify, and Remember the Hopes and Threats that Inspire the Maximum Momentum of Self-Harmony”

The drive for truth emerges out of the old herd-prohibition against deception. To deceive is to threaten the well-being of the herd. This forced abstinence eventually gets turned against the self, and forms the maxim: “Thou shalt not deceive, not even oneself.” It is by tracing the genealogy of the drive in this way that we realize how “moral” we philosophers still are. Such a drive is nothing if not moral.

I think it’s more of the fear of uncertainty and/or the aversion to ambiguity, rather than (or below) the desire to ‘know’ truth.

“Truth” is the expression of imagined state without uncertainty/ambiguity, for many (if not most), I’d say.
It’s like chasing a rainbow, in a way.

To make things even worse, I think we get “bored” when it’s too sure/certain, and seek thrills/adventure, which is uncertainty.
So, we are made to loop/swing around the hope of truth.

I’m not really into “truth”.
When I have a question, instead of looking for the answer (according to the question which is formulated within presumptions/beliefs, directed/restrained by them), I often take a look at the back plane of the question to understand what kind of conflicting beliefs/preferences have created uneasy/uncertain/ambiguous sensation resulting in formulating the question.
When I understand the nature of beliefs/preferences and friction/contradiction among them is gone, the question is gone, as well.
So, I often solve the question, instead of trying to find the answer.

Because we know what lies and falsehoods bring and we don’t like it.

Higher order mammals share certain ‘emotions’ (I put the word into secondary quotes, because I’m not sure if that’s the correct word,) one of which is ‘curiosity.’ We need to know ‘truths’–philosophical and/or scientific (in all forms of both disciplines)-- because of our curiosity. Without curiosity–and our opposable thumbs and brain capacities–we wouldn’t have evolved and advanced as we have. We have a need to know!–some of us more so than others. Resolving our curiosity gives us satisfaction and, in turn, pleasure. And, if we happen to be ‘correct’ in our surmises, we’ve added to our body of knowledge.

I’ve often wondered, seriously, who first had the guts to eat a tomato, considered to be poison for generations? Someone, somewhere, was willing to risk his/her life to satisfy his curiosity. Thanks, whoever you were. Fresh tomatoes are GRRREEEAAAT!, especially if they’re home-grown.

On the contrary! Many life-preserving intellectual adaptations are little more than mere falsifications. Cause and effect, the will, the self: these are not truths happened upon out of curiousity, but rather falsifications necessitated by life itself. Your post has problematized the will to truth, not solved it.

the drive for truth is another sign of the drive for individual and species survival…

How so? I contend that truth is not conducive to life; rather, on the contrary! Many of our life-navigating faculties are mere falsifications.

wom----looking where food and water are…watching out for predators…and best of all looking for mates…survival is the game…truth is how to find out what is where…maybe not the whole story…

I’m not sure I see where truth factors into “looking for mates” or “watching out for predators”. Further, do you mean to characterize truth as a method, as in “it is how to find out…” or are you simply misspeaking?

You seem to imply that the will to truth is a fundamental aspect of what it means to be human. But why? Couldn’t it have been otherwise? If we abandon the search for truth, do we instantly renounce our humanhood?

I’m not sure prediction has anything to do with truth, not in the sense that “man has a drive for truth,” anyway. You’re speaking more to the concept of empirical accountability. Perhaps this discussion might work better if you were to clarify what exactly it is you mean by “truth”.

First of all, I doubt you mean to be talking about “the drive for truth” (calling to mind drive-theory which posits innate psychological needs fulfilled by respective drives) when you say that its cause is an environmental influence (old-herd prohibition). Or have I misunderstood you?

Second, I find it hard to believe that the staying power underlying truth and honesty as values comes from the ideological baggage of this “herd” (which is what exactly?). Of what relevance would you say personal experience is in the emergence of truth as a value and a morality?

Third, and I don’t want to sound too tedious here, welcome to ILP. I think you’re making some interesting posts.

You’re correct. The title of the thread is “The Drive For Truth,” but what we’re discussing is perhaps more appropriately called “the will to truth”. I am merely using the language of the thread’s title.

Well, such “staying power” has to come from somewhere, does it not? The herd is the mass, the majority of the human population. I believe that truth emerged as a value in the earliest years of human existence, wherein the will not to deceive was turned in upon the self. Deception threatened the well-being of the majority at a time when linguistic communication was in its infancy. I believe language itself emerged as an adaptation for the survival of the weakest. They had to communicate their weakness to band together for survival. In this banding-together, deception was counter-productive: the will not to deceive quickly became universalized (within the herd, again). Eventually, such a will (not to deceive) was turned in upon the self to form the maxim: thou shalt not deceive, not even oneself. This is my understanding of the origins of truth as a value. I do, of course, welcome criticism: I am still trying to sort out such understandings myself.

And, I appreciate the welcome.

the drive for truth is a very appropriate topic…
the drives that underly this drive for truth are a fundamental part of human nature…
drive 1-----survive
drive 2-----reproduce

the drive for truth is the drive to find out what it is all about which includes where is the best sex and food and water…

Turtle, merely re-phrasing a post to which I’ve already responded does nothing for your argument. I contend that survival has little to do with truth.

wom-----i was not rephrasing it for you…i know you dont agree…has survival anything to do with truth…this is for all post persons…