Truth is specifically reduced to the correspondence principle, which holds that truth corresponds to facts and is related to reality or metaphysical realism. When assessing the essence of fact, it can take many forms and truth can be found in many ways and still contribute to a common theme, but with different applications. For example, the lack of a falsehood counts as a fact, as does the reality of a problem or the distorted version as observed (Williams et al.). According to philosopher Aristotle, fact implies “saying of what is that it is not, or of what it is not that it is, is false, while to speak of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true” (David). Therefore, people often have the option of telling the truth and facts as explicitly as they are or concealing the entire thing and saying it out in small amounts. The choice often lies with the speaker or the bearer of truth, and the recipient mostly has to work with what is provided, despite the choice (Lickerman, 1). The question of whether truth should be given out wholly to everyone in full packages or released in small doses remains a fundamental element of philosophy.
Although confusing, truth should be given entirely to every person so that once they are knowledgeable about something, they can use the provided information accordingly. Knowing the actual truth about something, a place, or a person presents the opportunity to face various situations with a well-prepared mind and fully knowledgeable approach (Williams et al.). When someone has adequate knowledge about something, they can effortlessly evaluate and address the situation better. Critics argue that sometimes, “the truth may be too much to bear or too hurtful and disappointing” (Williamson et al.) but it is better to learn about the frustrating element before delving into a situation to prepare how to handle the case effectively.
Again, the truth may often direct a person to an undesired place or a place where they do not want to be but on the contrary, being informed can be useful in helping another person prepare well for anything that may occur to them in the future moment (Lickerman). In my opinion, truth is a crucial aspect, and being equipped with knowledge is useful because it enables a person to become well-armed with information and prepare adequately for what may come. Sometimes, people hide the whole truth to protect the feelings of other people but conversely, what you do not know may end up hurting you worse than what you know (Williams et al.) because, for the latter, feasible solutions can be developed in good time to help salvage the situation.
People should further be given the truth in whole packages because truth has its virtue. For the speaker, telling the truth to someone else is regarded as an honorable move no matter what the truth is or regardless of who is receiving information (Lickerman). Moreover, truth is vital for a consistent and resourceful approach to life because knowing the validity of something is essential in making significant decisions in life. The speaker also enjoys the benefit of peace of mind if the truth is given out wholly to people because releasing primary information or facts to someone eliminates the constant worry of having to hide something from them (Williams et al.). As an element of being moral and exercising morality, we are not supposed to lie, but in numerous instances, we find ourselves telling lies to people, and the rationales behind concealing the truth vary among individuals despite the common aim of hiding the facts from people.
‘By the Waters of Babylon’ by Stephen Vincent Benet is a literary work that vividly illustrates the aspect of truth and its position in society. Narrated by John, a priest’s son, the persona recounts the nature of his people who are naturally, but some things must be hidden from the people. The priest’s family is the only family allowed to visit the East because it is a sacred place of the gods. Growing up, John watches his father go to the place of the gods, and when John becomes of age, he finally visits the forbidden place to collect metal, but unbeknown to his father who thinks that his son is going on a spiritual journey (Benét). Upon his return, John’s father warns him against narrating his encounter to other people in the tribe because sometimes too much truth can be bad and it must be told bit by bit (Benét, 6). “It is forbidden to travel east, and it is forbidden to go to the place of gods” (Benét, 2). “These things are forbidden- they have been forbidden since the beginning of time” (Benét, 1). The two quotes from the literature illustrate the aspect of concealed truth.
In John’s encounter, although his father believes that too much truth could be harmful, it may not be too bad to tell people the entire truth all at once. “Truth is a hard deer too hunt. If you eat too much truth at once, you may die of the truth” (Benét, 6). The people have developed their inquisitiveness from being kept in the dark about the mysterious place of the gods. Hence, they keep having strings of questions as to why the priest’s family is the only family allowed in that place. Supposing they were given the whole truth about the area, they would minimize their inquisitive nature and deal with the reality, no matter how scary.
Benét, Stephen Vincent. By the waters of Babylon. Dramatic Publishing, 1971.
David, Marian. “The correspondence theory of truth.” (2002).
Lickerman, Alex. “Why Be Honest?” (2014).
Williams, Emma J., et al. “Telling lies: the irrepressible truth?.” PloS one 8.4 (2013): e60713.