06.20 – Is “there are no absolute truths” an absolute truth?
Due to the spread of postmodernism, many people are adopting metaphysical relativism. Such relativism holds that there are no absolute truths because cultural, historical and intellectual biases constrict and contaminate every truth claim.
Biases are definitely inherent in most systems of knowledge, even those that claim to be objective, like modern science. Many philosophers of science have rightly pointed out that the preconceptions of scientists, the paradigms of the scientific establishment and the overall intellectual trends of society affect, even shape, the direction and destination of scientific research.
Still, generalizing and absolutizing the idea that “there are no absolute truths” is self-refuting. Why? Because the assertion that “there are no absolute truths” is itself a claim to absolute truth. Thus, this assertion falls squarely in the genre of other self-refuting assertions like “I can’t speak a word in English” or “I don’t exist.”
As “there are no absolute truths” is self-refuting, absolute truths are definitely possible. But are they accessible? Can we go beyond our biases to access those truths?
Gita wisdom offers us a process of purification that takes us beyond all possible material influences to the universal spiritual essence. The Bhagavad-gita (6.20) indicates that we can perceive spiritual reality when we stop the material mind. Various cultural, historical and intellectual biases influence our mind and thereby skew our perceptions. When we freeze the mind by purification, we gradually access universal spiritual reality.
Gita wisdom endorses the process of bhakti yoga as an alternative to the onerous process of stopping the material mind. Bhakti activates our latent spiritual perception by spiritualizing our thinking through constant contemplation on Krishna.
By the cultivation of bhakti, our consciousness moves inwards beyond the mind and its inevitable biases to the uncontaminated and unconstricted experience of the ultimate absolute truth.