Ethan Lam / The Daily Gamecock

Opinion: We must understand the truth

In an age when people use the phrases “your truth” and “my truth” in place of simple opinions, one must ask: Whatever happened to the truth? How can your truth, my truth and the truth all exist in the same space, and remain valid?

Your personal experience forms your opinions and views, but our collective experience is how we create the truth: ideas universally accepted as fact. Bending the truth and using it for personal expression degrades the validity of the concept as a whole. If your truth can be different from my truth, what would stop someone from presenting lies as personal truths? We must be aware of the gravity involved with labeling something as truthful, something that should be adopted as fact when using the phrase with such indifference. 

Personal beliefs and truth can contain a lot of gray areas. Perspective can change the way something seems from one person to another, but just because something seems true from one perspective does not mean it can be accepted as the truth. 

Further investigation is necessary to determine whether or not that certain thing is true. The flat Earth trend is a perfect example of people exploiting the idea of the truth to express a personal belief without validity. People can tweet and preach all they want about ideas proven false centuries ago, but by slapping “my truth” on their opinions, they give themselves the power to create their own reality rooted in fiction.

The National Catholic Register published an article that said, “So many today don't speak of truth, they speak of "my truth." But when everyone has their own truth, there is no wisdom.” Blatantly rejecting commonly known facts in place of personal truths does not change what is legitimate — it only proves ignorance.

Oprah Winfrey gave a speech at the 2018 Golden Globes that employed the use of “your truth.” Byron Tau of the Wall Street Journal tweeted that night in frustration with celebrities’ frequent use of the term: “"Your truth" undermines the idea of a shared set of common facts.” Tau’s tweet caused a stir of disagreement. Garance Franke-Ruta of GEN News replied that the phrase is “a call to activism rooted in the individual story, grounded in personal experience.”

This begs the question: How can something be the "truth" if it is grounded in personal experience? Activism through the sharing of personal experiences is effective and important, but each person’s individual experience is just that: an individual perspective, not a universal truth. Perspective should not be able to change fact; it must be true from all angles.

Personal sentiment about a certain idea is a right afforded to everyone. My likes and dislikes are not necessarily those of the people around me, but my preferences are not my truth — they are my opinions. There must be a separation of opinion and fact in order for ideas that are proven true to retain their significance. 


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