Truth is Subjectivity: Why Reality Isn’t Real

Last week, in Optimism Is Not Enough, I mentioned that Truth is Subjectivity, an idea proposed by Soren Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard is more than just a fun name to say. He was relativity when relativity wasn’t cool!   It is important for us to realize the difference between reality and our perception of reality.  We’ll appreciate that life (reality) can be different for each of us when we appreciate that truth is subjectivity.

Four reals.


Discussing Soren Kierkegaard always gives you the chance to say cool words like Kierkegaardian and Existentialist.  It opens the door to my cool catch phrase, “Who opened the Kierkegaard?” 


The true principle is that even reality is not really real, and even falsehood is not unreal.


Worth a Tweet! Please.

[share-quote author=”Pai-chang” via=”IndyHayHay”] The true principle is that even reality is not really real… [/share-quote]
Now that I’ve gone all Matrix on you…


Who opened the cattle guard?  A True Story

A few years ago, I stumbled across a phrase I had never heard before.  “Who opened the cattle guard?”  It has a similar meaning to “let the cat out of the bag,” but refers more to someone interjecting something into a conversation that drastically changes the subject.

It gave me the idea for a similar phrase and this shirt:

Who opened the Kierkegaard?Who opened the Kierkegaard?
by sh4yne

My new cliché—which I guess isn’t technically a cliché if I’m the only one using it. Technically, I guess that makes it an idiom—refers to when you’re having a conversation and someone brings up something completely depressing.

Let’s say we’re all talking about our favorite restaurants, and someone chimes in with, “but think about all the starving children in the world.”

We get to say, “Who opened the Kierkegaard?”

I just finished searching various search engines for about an hour and could not find an official meaning for the phrase “who opened the cattle guard?”

Back to the blog post.[/special]

We Bend the Truth

Truth is Subjectivity doesn’t mean we get to change reality or ignore reality.  Remember when Col. Jessup tried this?

I could show a few examples of politicians bending the truth in real life, but I’ll stick with fictional one.

It just means people will interpret truths differently.  Just like some will think Col. Jessup was trying to justify something he knew was wrong and some will think he was justified.  Me?  I’m just fascinated by the range of interpretations.

Don’t change it, interpret it.

If we’re not honest with ourselves, then we’re basing our action on a lie.  Let’s try to look objectively at the truth, especially when we’re not convinced it’s the truth.

Double especially if we’re a little too convinced it is the truth.

Try to be realistic about the truth.  Don’t paint a rosy picture of it and spray it with Axe to make it smell awesome.  Let’s be honest with ourselves.  Then use your Optimism superpowers to see the positive in the situation.

If it’s a painful truth, acknowledge that.  Feel the pain and realize optimistically that the situation can be changed, or we can learn from it.  Learning is good!

After traveling and Marvel movies, learning is one of the best.  Easily top 8.

If we have no money saved, then the truth is that we’re broke.  The truth is that I’m broke!  Let’s not pretend we’re rich.  That’s a lie, and next year the truth will still be that we’re broke.  But at least we’re broke.  We can only get richer from there!  Unless we go into debt, and truthfully, that would be dumb.

Let’s also not be pessimistic and think that we’ll always be broke.

We can be optimistic and know that we can earn more to get less broke.

Then we can act, work on earning more income.


The truth:  We’re broke.

Pessimistic Truth:  We’ve always been broke and we’ll always be broke.

Optimistic Truth:  We’ve always been broke, but we won’t be for long!

If we’re munching chips and drinking soda, we can’t say an affirmation like “I only put the best food in my body.”  That’s not truth.

Our Truths Can Be Different

Our experiences, beliefs, and outlook all influence our subjective truth.  Thus each of us will have a different truth.

Let’s remember that when we disagree or when someone disagrees with us.  They didn’t reach their conclusion because they’re ignorant or hateful.  Not usually.

Let others have their truth.  Don’t try to change theirs.  Instead, let’s work to make our truth the best possible truth.

What do you think?  Is truth subjectivity?

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