by David Crow
You may be thinking, "So what if they do? Who cares, anyway? What does it matter to me?" Well, it may not matter in terms of how you go about your routine existence or how you basically function in a material sense. But the answer to this question has a tremendous bearing on your concept of reality, and in the degree of certainty with which you view reality. It can also give you a basis from which you can discover whether your existence has any meaning. I don't know about you, but I think this question is absolutely important--right? Assuming no need for further introduction to our subject, let us proceed.
We can be certain that one of the two views--the existence or non-existence of absolutes, is absolutely wrong, since both cannot be true at the same time. One of the views must be correct, but which one?
What about the idea that since the universe is constantly changing, truth itself is never constant? What actually did Dr. James Burke claim in his "The Day the Universe Changed" film series? We can say he definitely claimed that from man's perspective, the "truth" was constantly or repeatedly changing. Every time someone devised a theory, it seemed that sooner or later someone else would come up with a newer theory which replaced it.
It is one thing to say that from our perspective, change is taking place throughout the universe, but do we dare say that everything changes? What do we do with certain constants which apply throughout matter, space, and time? (Examples of these are absolute zero and the speed of light in a vacuum.)
On the other hand, what about man's theories? Just what are they, anyway? Take, for example, the historical views of gravity. For many centuries Aristotle's view was predominant and considered the "truth". Galileo's view began to displace this view, as it described gravity much better. Eventually, Newton discovered that gravitational phenomena behaved according to a certain universal relationship, that is, a definite law was obeyed throughout matter, space, and time. Man's theory had changed, but meanwhile the same phenomenon of gravity existed all along. Man's understanding may have changed, but the real phenomenon has consistently demonstrated (to the time of this writing, anyway) a definite law at work.
Let's take a look at another of man's views--what was once considered "truth". The people at Hiroshima and Nagasaki once believed they were invincible and would never be defeated in a war, that their ruler was divine, and that the whole nation would be divinely protected. Just because many people held this view before their cities were destroyed did not mean it was in harmony with what actually was the case.
Perhaps in a sense reality to us is really our concept of reality, but that concept of reality is no doubt based on something outside of ourselves which really exists (or is believed to exist), and which we may interact with or change on a small scale, but the overall reality of everything is not to be equated with our concept of what we may wish reality to be.
To get to the nitty-gritty, if no absolutes exist, not only is existence ultimately meaningless, but reality itself does not exist, and neither do you nor I, for that matter. And if we do not exist, we cannot possibly be pondering this question, can we?