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One of the fundamental questions that humans since the dawn of time have asked themselves is why are we here?, or how are we here?, how did all this happen to be?

Philosophers try to answer these questions. Scientists try to determine the natural laws and how the physical world is as it is, Religions have their own ideas as to answers to these questions.

With the premise that there is knowledge of the absolute truth.

What are we gonna do if we gain that knowledge. Where do we go from there?

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    The classic answer to the meaning of everything, "42", is kinda meant to highlight this problem. Cause the answer is... nowhere, you're here, and you'll still be here. Everything is the same if you know (unless we live in some wacky reality like where one of the religions is true, I guess)
    – TKoL
    Commented Jul 10 at 16:06
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    Only God. No "absolutes" at all for humans. Commented Jul 10 at 16:06
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    (Presuming God, or course.)
    – J D
    Commented Jul 10 at 16:18
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    @MauroALLEGRANZA Ah my favorite maxim: there are no maxims
    – J Kusin
    Commented Jul 10 at 16:51
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    @ScottRowe You must have an active mind. My mind is dull and uncomplicated and is not obscured by contradictory ocluding thoughts. What the hell do I know!!!
    – 8Mad0Manc8
    Commented Jul 10 at 23:28

6 Answers 6

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You ask:

Where do we go if we gain knowledge of the absolute truth?

Well, you are starting your philosophical career in the right place, among philosophers, so Philosophy StackExchange is a good start. If you really take it seriously, you have two options: a university or a library. The advantage of a university is that there are professional philosophers and intellectuals who can get you started, and the advantage of a library is there are no tests and admission is free!

The question you ask is an epistemological question because it is concerned with 'truth' and 'knowledge'. Epistemologists, one prominent example being Robert Audi, spend their adult lives asking and answering these sorts of questions. They build up their personal library of thinking to address questions such as yours. You get to meet these people at universities, and again that's a plus for the ivory tower.

I'm not sure that 'absolute truth' is a defensible idea. People often use the phrase, and it might be read as the truth of an absolutist. From WP:

In philosophy, universality or absolutism is the idea that universal facts exist and can be progressively discovered, as opposed to relativism, which asserts that all facts are relative to one's perspective. Absolutism and relativism have been explored at length in contemporary analytic philosophy.

If this is what you mean by absolute truth, then there are two popular contemporary sources: fundamentalist religion which tends to promote their religious doctrine as absolute truths as divinely revealed by God or gods depending on their flavor, and scientism, which in a strong form is fundamentalist about the application of the scientific method. (There are weaker forms of scientism which are comfortable with relativity of various forms, for instance anti-realist thinkers who label themselves instrumentalists).

Of course, there are also certain people who are philosophically inflexible who tend to consider themselves the sole font of absolute truth, and you'll certainly run across them (even in this forum)! So, before you find this magical place that deals in "absolute truths", figure out exactly what you mean by 'absolute truth', and reflect on whether truths are absolute at all, or whether you're willing to make room for a little relativism in your thinking.

Good luck!

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  • Thanks for the answer I'm too long in the tooth to go to university . So I guess your gonna have to put up with my pestering and questioning on this site as my local library although it has a variety of books, it does not have a comprehensive catalogue of books on philosophy. I have a further question. If truth is relative to the observer. One person's truth is another person's lie how do we ever learn anything without a doubt in the other person's truth, How can we establish a consensus on knowledge if there is no absolute in the first place? Why the hell are we talking?
    – 8Mad0Manc8
    Commented Jul 10 at 16:52
  • Big question in small space. My short version of belief: similar truth is rooted in similar experience, and similar experience is grounded in similar biology. We both have similar biology so we have similar truth. When enough people have similar truth, we have "objectivity" better understood as intersubjectivity. The why is understood in terms of our biology too: the Darwinian need for survival of the species. We are wired to use truth to conduct eusocial behavior...
    – J D
    Commented Jul 10 at 17:10
  • Free to pester, but you're better off using chat.stackexchange.com and pinging me with the @ symbol, @8Mad0Manc8.
    – J D
    Commented Jul 10 at 17:11
  • @8Mad0Manc8 Re "One person's truth is another person's lie how do we ever learn anything ..." etc: Read Karl Popper. Your library should have one of his popular books, and if not, suggest they buy one (libraries are surprisingly responsive! It's their job to cater to the readers!). There is also a ton online, of course. I also really like William James' pragmatism, a sort of Turing test for statements: "Reality" is elusive, but if a statement is helpful we can consider it true. Commented Jul 11 at 15:28
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Unfortunately you do not tell us what you consider the characteristics of “the absolute truth”. Hence I answer your question under the assumption

to consider an absolute truth to be a proposition with an ultimate justification (German: “letztbegründet”).

Examples of such such propositions are mathemathical propositions which have been proven within a mathematical theory.

  1. But I assume that mathematical propositions are not the theme of your question. Then the situation is rather bad for ultimate justification. History shows: In philosophy and in science no general propositions with an ultimate justification have been found. As a consequence, the search for ultimate justification seems to be a dead end.
  2. A way out is Popper’s proposal to consider general statements not as candidates for ultimate justification but as hypotheses which can be confirmed or refuted, but not proven.
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  • +1 Certainly "absolute truth" isn't clear. "letztbegründet" Was für einer Fachbegriff! I wish English had retained it's love of the compounding. We'd be so much smarter for it.
    – J D
    Commented Jul 10 at 16:17
  • Even in math there is no absolute truth. Before the invention of i, which is √(-1), it was true that √(-1) is impossible. Commented Jul 10 at 17:59
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    @WeatherVane "There is no real number x with x^2=-1". This proposition was true previousy and is true also today. Buter later it was detected, that one can enlarge the domain of real numbers by introducing complex numbers. The result is still a field with addition, multiplication and the inverse operations. - Progress in mathematics often provides answers to old questions, it does not invalidate previous proofs.
    – Jo Wehler
    Commented Jul 10 at 18:19
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    That is my point: imaginary numbers are true when used as a stepping stone in calculations, but are false in the real world. Like god (and perhaps catalysts) if their use enables reaching a result that is verifiable in the real world, it doesn't matter if the stepping stone isn't 'real'. Commented Jul 10 at 18:39
  • So death and taxes are not a universal truth?
    – 8Mad0Manc8
    Commented Jul 10 at 23:00
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There's an old Buddhist parable that applies here:

Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.
After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.

Grasping absolute truth (the Western analog of enlightenment) changes your attitude and your capabilities. It doesn't change your intrinsic nature, but merely reveals it. You'll still have to eat, earn a living, clean your house, pay your taxes… C'est la vie!

Nothing in the world changes from higher understanding. What changes is the relationship we hold to the world-as-it-is.

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  • Same sh!t different day? :-)
    – 8Mad0Manc8
    Commented yesterday
  • @8Mad0Manc8:more like 'same shit, different attitude.'😁 Commented yesterday
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If we attain absolute knowledge, then it will change our belief system, it will affect how we interact with each other. For many people absolute knowledge has already been achieved. For example- Religions offers absolute knowledge. Religion changes the mindset of individuals. Religion offers many rituals and practices for salvation.

Science also offers absolute knowledge. For example - speed of light is constant irrespective of who measures it. Science offers new technology. Even if understand everything ,there will be new technological innovations every year for many years to come.

Absolute knowledge is not the end of the road. There are many ways to apply that knowledge in our daily lives thus transforming us into a subjectively better person.

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There are many absolute truths: There are no round squares. There are no square circles. All bachelors are unmarried.

Knowledge of these absolute truths has not had a profound influence on my life.

In the sciences, uncertainty is the killer of absolute truths and since uncertainty is prevalent (the Uncertainty principle), science will not claim any absolute truths.

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Where do we go if we gain knowledge of the absolute truth?

The answer is: You are a human. You cannot gain absolute truth. You would go insane, or your head would explode. Something created this world. It's beautiful. Why do you need to know more. Just enjoy it.

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