The pursuance of absolute truth is an inexhaustible journey that leads to never-before experienced realms. The end of this road could never be reached and the best a man can hope for is a few steps in the right direction. To determine what the truth is and what it is not, a heavy reliability is placed upon the summation of what we identify from our senses. This is the standard approach that we as humans take but, it is not necessarily the correct one. Many problems exist in establishing the truth based on our senses and thus they can rarely be fully trusted.
Sense is scientifically defined as “a faculty by which outside stimuli are perceived”1 and by conventional classification human beings have five senses being the sense of hearing, sight, taste, touch, and smell. However, there are actually more humanly possessed senses that serve us. These include our ability to feel pain, temperature, as well as balance2. Our senses tell us what we need in order to survive. Some animals rely on different information to live thus certain species boast different senses such as the capability to echolocate, sense infrared light as well as the ability to sense electric or magnetic fields.
Our incomplete array of senses suggests that there are things that exist on the physical dimension that we as humans are not able to sense. A general way for us to achieve “truth” is to process our data-based perceptions obtained with the aid of our senses and the conclusion results in our belief of truth. This process seems irrefutable so far but, what if our perceptions are false. Socrates, an Ancient Greek philosopher who was one of the key men laying the foundation for modern day philosophy believed that we will never learn the reality and truth of anything if we continue to wholeheartedly rely on our senses.
He would give a simple example to prove his significant point: if you put a straight stick halfway into water, it will look bent. Take it out, it looks straight again3. This is a true example that surely proves a point. Of course science easily provides an explanation for this occurrence, this phenomenon is caused purely due to the decrease of the speed that light travels at in water thus misleading our eyes. A problematic discrepancy is experienced between the sciences and our own perception. There is even a problem between two ways of knowing as our perception tells us that the stick is bent and our reason argues that it is straight.
In this case, our senses do not give us the truth even though our perceptions are certain. People that follow most religions, find a truth without the use of their senses. You cannot sense God but, millions of people hold him to be true thus turning their faith into truth. Myself being Christian, I experienced the process of believing in something even though I received no evidence of this through my senses. Faith is the only direction that I have to lean upon but, that in now way handicaps the validity of the personal truth.
Senses do not necessarily always provide truth although for the most part, they do and without them we would be literally lost. When you see a red light while driving, you stop because through a combination of your sight, reason, and possible past experiences you know that in the interest of personal safety, you must stop. This notion applies to nearly everything we encounter in our daily life such as not touching the hot burners on the stove to not eating food that has been spoiled. In addition, our senses work to reinforce each other. For example, when you see something and touch it, your sense of sight is proven by your sense of touch.