truth: the state of being the case; the property of being in accord with fact or reality
fact: something that has actual existence; a piece of information presented as having objective reality
What is truth?
The question has been under examination of late in a small group of which I am part, and this past week I ventured to comment that truth and facts are not necessarily the same – only to find that I was ill-prepared to articulate to someone of a more analytical bent than myself precisely what I meant.
So here I am, taking another go at it.
Facts are concrete things. They can be tied to a place on the map, or a date on the calendar, or a documented event.
Facts are also fluid, though. They can change over time. They are dependent upon certain conditions. They can be acted upon by outside forces which may alter them.
For example: as a matter of fact, I have long, dark brown hair. Except in certain lighting, where it’s auburn. Except for the streaks that are silver. Except in old photographs of a younger me, where it’s short. And in even older photographs of a much younger me, where it’s blonde.
Truth is incorporeal. It cannot be anchored down in the same way that a fact can. It is eternal – it does not evolve or erode, despite the passage of aeons. It is consistent, regardless of conditions. It remains the same in light and darkness, heat and cold, stillness and storm.