Truth is Ignorance
By Julian Ostrow

        For as long as anybody can remember, certain unwritten guidelines have explained life's mysteries, and governed us through whispers and unwitting lies. These are known today as universal truths, unquestioned and ingrained into our idea of common sense. A part of these truths is the existence of good and evil, heaven and hell, right and wrong. The concept of good and evil has endured over thousands of years of human history, but the doctrines regarding good and evil have changed numerous times. It is my belief, therefore, that good, evil, and the concept of truth are all inventions of the human mind.

        Consider the truths that exist in nature, aside from humans and other interference. Animals kill each other to eat, do what is required to ensure their own survival. This cannot be considered good or evil, right or wrong. Everybody's own idea and perception of what is good, what is evil, and what is true is not entirely their own. People pass their own versions of truth to their children, their neighbors, and everybody that they come into contact with. Because of this, your standard person may have no true ideas of their own as to what they really believe is true about the world.

        One may ask which universal truths really do exist. The only truth I believe in is that I exist; all other supposed "universal" truths are only relative. For instance, many believe in a higher power, a God. The fact that this divine entity exists is absolute truth to them. From this, they also gain many of their concepts of good and evil. A main source of this popular perception is some form of a holy document or book. Christians base their beliefs on the text in the Bible, Muslims on the Koran, and Jews on the Torah. Every religion and organized belief system has their own set of truths and their own ideas of what good and evil are.

        The concept of a universal truth is a flawed one. Nothing the human mind can conceive is unanimously agreed upon and embraced by the entire race. Perceptions of what good and evil are fall under this category of flawed truth and ignorance. Everybody believes that his or her own version of what's right is truth. Bias and a lack of information prevent these people from seeing both sides of a situation, or possibly another viewpoint on an issue. Closed-mindedness has caused nothing but harsh words and bloodshed since the beginning of human history, and nothing has changed. Until the human race can acknowledge and respect each other's beliefs and opinions, peace will only be the period between wars; we will remain temporarily pacified. Unfortunately, predefined concepts of truth prevent this from ever happening, so we will continue to develop our weapons and grasp the throats of our enemies with the ferocity of false righteousness.

        To conclude, it is important for one to remain self-aware and open-minded in regard to new ideas, religion, and what is considered good and evil. Only individuals can ultimately decide what their personal truths are; outside interference and ideas should be considered secondary, or cast aside. Existance is the only given in this world, and it is ignorant for somebody to try and project their beliefs and values onto another. This eventually causes war and unrest in between two groups that share the same beliefs, sans the details. The unintended conceit that underlies all social, religious, and cultural institutions may not be apparent to those who participate in the common belief, but to others, it may be as obvious and offensive as a slap in the face. Good, evil, and the concept of universal truths are all inventions of the human mind, and in this bliss we remain: Truth is ignorance.

--Note: I received a 190/200 [95%] on this essay today.