Is there an absolute truth?
Question: Is there absolute truth?
Anna Deavere Smith: No. No.
I can never remember whether it’s in Mark or John in the Bible where Pontius Pilate is supposedly seeking truth about Christ. And he says, “What is truth?” You know, “Is it the truth?” You know, “Is the truth about this man, or is the truth about what will happen if I make the wrong decision." I’m quoting it very badly here.
So I think that there probably is not absolute truth. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t seek to find facts. It doesn’t mean that we should lie. I think the reason lying becomes so serious is because to make a society to do things, make buildings stand, to do a heart transplant, to do anything that is important, we have to know that the people around us are telling us things that are real, if not true. We have to be able to rely on the things that we are told as fact because we want to believe that someone went and tried something first and therefore learned of that.
And then they come and say, “Well I’ve been outside, and it’s raining today.” So we’re willing to trust that and make decisions upon that fact.
So I don’t know if I’m really a seeker of truth in terms of is someone telling me truth. I think I’m a student of human beings. That’s a better way of putting it than I’m a seeker of truth. I’m a student of human beings and their motivations, and what causes them to do what they say they’re going do, or what gets in the way of that.
Recorded on: Aug 22, 2007
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Anna Deavere Smith says there isn't.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Eight-dimensional octonions may hold the clues to solve fundamental mysteries.
- Physicists discover complex numbers called octonions that work in 8 dimensions.
- The numbers have been found linked to fundamental forces of reality.
- Understanding octonions can lead to a new model of physics.
Upload your mind? Here's a reality check on the Singularity.
- Though computer engineers claim to know what human consciousness is, many neuroscientists say that we're nowhere close to understanding what it is, or its source.
- Scientists are currently trying to upload human minds to silicon chips, or re-create consciousness with algorithms, but this may be hubristic because we still know so little about what it means to be human.
- Is transhumanism a journey forward or an escape from reality?
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.