Does anyone know the truth?
Our line of sight to the realities of this world, what we determine to be true, depends on more factors than we can ever account for.
Everything we do, we base upon our perception of the truth, even when we try to run or hide from the truth. Our knowledge is limited, leaving us to make decisions based on what we know, and what we think we don't know.
We gather our perspectives of the world, try to filter out the biases, apply logic and reason, and come up with some probabilities. The broader our perspective, the more time we have been given to identify the patterns, the better our chance of making reasonably accurate predictions. For all our lack of knowledge about this world, it is still very predictable.
There are three main ways we learn about our world, through experience, were we are able to test our observations, through observation where we are able to witness the events taking place, and through what others tell us. Most of the information we get comes from others. It then follows that our ability to determine good sources from bad is completely critical to our ability to sight the truth.
There are very specific ways that we establish what is true, what is real.
The biggest factor is repeat-ability. That is what the scientific method is all about. Most of what we know and believe was put together in our brains as infants, seeing, hearing, touching, tasting the world. These are our base experiences that we have learned through a great deal of repeated experience. That we can communicate with each other, and come to an agreement about most of reality only confirms our perspectives of reality. There are always subtle differences in our perspectives of the world, but there is enough to agree upon. We further test our perspectives of reality through games and sports, and our overall ability to make things happen.
Then we encounter more subjective things, taste in music, art, literature, philosophy, religion, abstract thought. When we communicate these things, we find far greater interpretations of reality. These abstract concepts can not be easily tested in the physical world. Mainly we share our perspectives through discussions and debates, such as these forums.
Then there are those things we can not confirm through repeat-ability. Rumor, myth, events and observations of phenomenon encountered by normal rational people, by all accounts, except for the experiences that no one else can confirm to exist. These experiences can be any number of well known things, from a dream where we feel that we are encountering something real that exists at a higher plane of existence, to clairvoyance and telepathy, sightings of UFOs and aliens, bigfoot, ghosts, spirits, dejavu. These are experiences few people ever claim to have witnessed.
What is repeatable, and widely known, we designate as fact. What is subjective we leave to opinion. Unusual phenomenon is is viewed with widely varying opinion.
The thing is, that the unusual, the unproven, phenomenon, myths, create speculation, claimed by many to support abstract beliefs, philosophy, art, religion. Much of this has a long history, it captures the imagination, entertains. A great deal of the most popular tales are also the least credible. Some of these beliefs have a very profound impact on culture, justice, law and order, society. Often, at the very least these tales are cautionary tales that express ideas and concerns that for what ever reason can not be put in more concrete terms. Even a great deal of science includes concepts that are primarily straight out of imagination, unproven, many concepts, unwitnessed by anyone, simply conjectures based on speculation of phenomenon observed through scientific experimentation, and examination of artifacts.
When we ask about the truth, the complete truth, these phenomenon are considered by many. Some people dismiss phenomenon outright, others believe completely, and those in the middle choose to keep things open.
It is important because these things have very significant impact on moral considerations of what is right or wrong.
Is there such a thing as God, life after death? Is religion important? Is science important? Is there such a thing as morality, right or wrong? Does life have meaning?
Our personal philosophy, our individual perspective of the truth, is how each of us determines these things for ourselves.