What is Reality, Truth, and Existence?

To answer this question, I will repeat the following: provide a definition, provide an example, see if the definition fits the example and make corrections if needed.

Existence is a statement, a statement is anything we can understand or think of.

Truth determines whether an existence statement is true or false.

Reality is a set of true or false existence statements.


Existence: The sky is blue.

Truth: True on days when the sky is blue, false on other days or during the night.

Reality: It is night time.  Or it is day time in Australia.  Or it is day time in England.

Reality sets the context for Truth to use in determining whether the existence statement is true or false.  Truth is therefore a function that takes in both Existence and Reality. For Example:

Existence: The sky is blue.

RealityA: It is night in Australia.  It is summer.

RealityB: It is day in Australia.  It is summer.

Truth(Existence, RealityA): false

Truth(Existence, RealityB): true


Existence: Pokemon

RealityA: Human world

RealityB: Cartoon world

Truth(Existence, RealityA): false

Truth(Existence, RealityB): true


Common mistake: Reality is a word often used synonymously with truth: we think “what is truth” as being the same as “what is reality?”  This is false, and I will explain why below, but first I want to mention something for you to remember for your entire life: no two words in the same language mean exactly the same thing, because then there would be no reason for the second word.  There is always a subtle difference that you are missing if you think otherwise.  Each word has multiple definitions, and it is possible for two words to share a definition, but they will never share the same set of possible definitions and have the same connotations. See: What is language?

Remember that truth depends on both existence and reality, so when you say “What is the truth?” it is an incomplete question.  A more complete question is “what is the truth of [an existence statement] given [reality]?”  Just like in my post Who Am I, the question was missing “time and context,” which we now know means reality.  Let’s see another example:

Let’s say John is in country JohnKing and Matt is in country MattKing.  Both countries believe in royalty, and the citizens worship their Kings as Gods.  If you ask a citizen of JohnKing for the truth about who is God, that citizen will say John.  If you ask a citizen of MattKing for the truth about who is God, that citizen will say Matt.  What this means is who you ask the truth from matters.  A more complete complete question of “what is truth” is therefore

What is the truth about [existence statement] given [reality] to [who]?

This concept of “to who” also showed up in the complete question of Who Am I, and what it does is contribute perspective.  This is why no two people think perfectly alike unless they are the same identical person: everyone and everything has a different perspective.

“Objective truth” is truth to [an objective 3rd party].  However, not all objective 3rd parties have the same truth functions.  If you ask an atheist truth function about the existence of God, it will return false; if you ask a theist truth function about the existence of God, it will return true.  Both truth functions are applied to the same existence statement, reality, and to an objective 3rd party, but have different answers.  This is because the Logic behind each truth function is different: in one, the logic of theism is applied; in the other, the logic of atheism is applied.  This gives us the full question:

What is the Truth about [existence statement] given [reality] to [who] with [logic]?

Reality is a set of existence statements (excluding the one in question if referenced from a question).

Existence is anything that we can think of, and anything we can think of can be labeled true or false by a Truth.

See it in action and learn more from examples in my next post  Properties of Reality where I discuss the behavior and extent of reality; which parts are under your control and which are not?  I will also answer What is Logic and Judgment?

This post is part of AttemptedLiving’s Life Education Curriculum, a collection of core knowledge everyone should have.

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