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Anonymous

Re: Truth? [Re: Amoeba665]
    #873764 - 09/10/02 06:30 AM (19 years, 14 days ago)

boy i don't even know where to start. i've been away from the board for a while, i'm glad i stopped by in time to catch this thread. i suppose first off, i'll give an analogy.. i'm kinda surprised no one else has already brought this one up..

I'm very glad to meet you.  I always thought you were a scream.  Have you ever thought of having Helen Keller in your dreams?

let's suppose we have an elephant sitting in a big jungle somewhere.

[snip]



Yes, well that only obliquely applies to existence.  Your analogy is taken from a poem by Rudyard Kipling and one I learn from my mother's knee when I was but a lad of three.  Here it is in its entirety for your entertainment and amusement:

"The Blind Men and The Elephant

by Rudyard Kipling


It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind)
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, "Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldy up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he;
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

The Moral:

So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!"

and as for science. the point others in this thread were trying to make is, although the scientific method is quite reliable (it is based on reason,after all), its *explanations* are based upon our current understanding of the elephant. in other words, all truths which science uncovers are only objective in that they can be verified by our collective human experiences as opposed to only our individual human experiences. so they are actually subjective. scientific theories are *based* on absolute truth (everything that happens and exists is because of absolute truth), but the theories themselves are never absolutely true. they are only possibilities, and their only use is as a tool to aid mankind in whatever its goals may be. [insert plato's allergory of the cave here]

True to an extent I think.  Are you saying that our collective human experience is subjective as well?  If you are you are introducing a novel idea into the mix and I invite you to elaborate.

The difference we are talking about resides in the difference between two different Greek words, episteme and doxa.  The first word, episteme, refers to absolute knowledge and you are correct we have very few items that fit in that box.  Existence is one.  There are others.  Doxa means opinion, not in the sense of mere opinion, but in the sense that it is a kind of knowledge that can be refined with the additon of new data.  Newton's law of gravity comes to mind.  Thanks for mentioning my cave.  It's nice to know someone remembers me.

in reality, although absolute truth most certainly does exist, just as the elephant exists independently of its observers, it can not be understood outside of itself. only the absolute can truly know the absolute, only the elephant can truly know itself, only i can truly know me, and so on...

Incorrect.  We know we exist absolutely.  That alone negates your premise.

I only have time for a few quick comments adn then I might not get back to them today.  Tomorrow is out of the question entirely.  I will shut down all my phones, unhook the Internet and reflect on things that are dear to me.  A rare occasion but I am entitled to it.

so assuming the above is true....

A huge assumption and an even larger if.

that absolute truth exists but we can only understand it subjectively, and our subjective interpretation is just a symbol pointing to the thing itself....

You are conflating the difference between subjective and objective.  If I understand you correctly you are saying that it is impossible to have objectivity.  This can be cleared up by introducing the terms 'private' and 'public' in the place of 'subjective' and 'objective'.  I will elaborate on this later but I will comment a little on it now.  There is a pejorative meaning to the word 'subjective' and that is that whatever is subjective has less weight in terms of understanding than the word 'objective' does.  Some of that can be cleared up by using the term 'public'.  When you and I see a glass on a table we both acknowledge its existence.  And should acknowledge that it exists absolutely.

All I have time for at the moment.  I hope to engage you in a few days or maybe later this evening.  I have to say I have never met an amoeba quite like you! :smile:

Cheers,



     


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InvisibleWhiskeyClone
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Re: Truth? [Re: ]
    #873916 - 09/10/02 07:48 AM (19 years, 13 days ago)

We standardize truth according to several kinds of ways. We use the scientific method to verify as much as we can things not apprehendable by normal means. If we can apprehend them by normal means we use logic, which is a subset of philosophy, and philosophy proper to determine what is true or what exists.

I don't know what you mean by "normal means." Do you mean through our sensory perceptions? If so, I would have to say that human senses are notoriously unreliable. You may see the Sun everyday, but it could be just you being crazy the whole time and not knowing it.  :smirk:    Silly but true.  Welcome to The Matrix mwaahahaha

For the nonce we have no empirical evidence that God exists. However, if we did you would have to admit it or be incorrect. Some sections of science are so well documented, and it pains me to say this, that they are beyond reasonable doubt. I say reasonable because science is one of the ways by which we know the world. Regardless of what certain people claim we know that man landed on the moon. It is a scientific fact. There are many scientific facts that came from that journey.

I guess what I tried to say in my post was that there is no knowledge or fact without some degree of assumption. You have to ASSUME that a massive conspiracy didn't trick you into believing that we landed on the moon. A safe assumption if their ever was such a thing, but with all the trillions of assumptions that must be made to 'know' every little fact you know, certainly some of them must be untrue.

I'm still trying not to stray over the boundry into nihilism, but it seems hard not to sometimes. Anyway I think we are arguing non-perpendicular arguments, but I'll continue because it's fun.

What in your opinion constitutes 'objective'?

My opinion is subjective, so umm... my opinion is available at www.dictionary.com  :grin:

Parts of this are entirely incorrect. It is an incontrovertible truth that you can prove, and not just with a reasonable doubt, that the ocean has salt in it. The water from the ocean can be analyzed to see if it contains salt.  

I think the whole thesis of my post was that there are no genuine incontrovertable truths. It's just way easier to discuss this stuff if we assume there are. In other words, a fact is only a belief.

Parts of this are entirely incorrect. It is an incontrovertible truth that you can prove, and not just with a reasonable doubt, that the ocean has salt in it. The water from the ocean can be analyzed to see if it contains salt. This is pure science and results in a conclusion that is undeniably true. The ideas contained in this paragraph are novel to me. Where did you get them? 

-aA-a Aaargh...  I had another attack of nihilism. Sorry.  If we throw out nihilism, and assume science to be the be-all and end-all (not a bad policy if you ask me), then yes there is undoubtedly salt in the ocean, I am five hundred percent certain of that. Maybe six hundred percent. And you know where I got those ideas: my nihilistic confused head of course.

I'm doing really bad at this but I am tired. I hope I am being clear enough that you can understand.

Hehe I'm doing worse. Ok nihilism is gone from this point on, I swear. From here on in there ARE incontrovertable truths.

This is the error of reductionism which assumes that quantifiable parts of a thing have more reality than the thing itself. It is a common error.

I used that example because emotions are unquantifiable and thus, nothing about them can be scientifically proven. IMO science is the ONLY way to 'prove' something to anyone else. You can know in your heart that you love someone, just like my nephew knows in his heart that Santa Claus exists. It is undeniable to him; he has seen evidence all over the place. You are assuming you know what love is. A common error. Especially among 14 year old girls. Heheh just kidding.  All I meant was is that since emotions are at present unquantifiable, they are undefinable, which means two minds cannot share an identical schema for any of them. That's all I meant.

Most of this could have been clarified by using different terms.

Probably. I never claimed to be a master linguist.... and I do DRUGS too!!! Who knows what I was really trying to say :wink:

I do not 'believe' the sun is outside the earth. I know it.

I disagree; I think belief and knowledge are ultimately indistinguishable. For convenience's sake we pretend they are separable. To 'know', you have to have faith (spell that assume) that your sources of knowledge (your senses, textbooks, other people) are reliable.

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my post. 


--------------------
Welcome evermore to gods and men is the self-helping man.  For him all doors are flung wide: him all tongues greet, all honors crown, all eyes follow with desire.  Our love goes out to him and embraces him, because he did not need it.

~ R.W. Emerson, "Self-Reliance"

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Offlinemirrorsaww
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Re: Truth? [Re: Adamist]
    #874062 - 09/10/02 08:46 AM (19 years, 13 days ago)

no one can know what absolute truth is, because it's all subjective

Is your statement the truth? or just your subjective truth?

Maybe the statement negates itself? e.g. "This sentence is false"

If we can't know anything for certain that would seem (paradoxically) to be a certainty...



Edited by mirrorsaww (09/10/02 08:53 AM)


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OfflineFliquid
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Re: Truth? [Re: WhiskeyClone]
    #874246 - 09/10/02 10:21 AM (19 years, 13 days ago)

In reply to:

I'm doing really bad at this but I am tired. I hope I am being clear enough that you can understand.

Hehe I'm doing worse. Ok nihilism is gone from this point on, I swear. From here on in there ARE incontrovertable truths.




This is normal for us, we use our minds in a good productive way. And therefore we spend more energy...


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OfflineAdamist
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Re: Truth? [Re: Amoeba665]
    #874394 - 09/10/02 11:33 AM (19 years, 13 days ago)

Wow, Amoeba... thanks for putting that into words.


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OfflineAdamist
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Re: Truth? [Re: mirrorsaww]
    #874407 - 09/10/02 11:37 AM (19 years, 13 days ago)

Is your statement the truth? or just your subjective truth?

Everything I say is subjective truth. :smile: 


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InvisibleWhiskeyClone
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Re: Truth? [Re: Adamist]
    #874502 - 09/10/02 12:10 PM (19 years, 13 days ago)

Every subjective thing I say is the truth.


--------------------
Welcome evermore to gods and men is the self-helping man.  For him all doors are flung wide: him all tongues greet, all honors crown, all eyes follow with desire.  Our love goes out to him and embraces him, because he did not need it.

~ R.W. Emerson, "Self-Reliance"

:heartpump:


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Offlinevaporbrains
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Re: Truth? [Re: ]
    #874550 - 09/10/02 12:37 PM (19 years, 13 days ago)

mr. mushrooms:

it should be noted that no one can prove that we are not in fact computers and that reality is not actually a virtual reality spawned in the circuitry of a computer .
thusly, the analogy is apt. but if you prefer a more human analogy you can watch The Matrix.

it should also be noted that we could concievably create human beings made out of synthetic parts which would in essence replicate their biological counterparts if we had advanced enough science. There is also no reason to believe that science will not one day create a computer system capable of the kind of thought that human beings exhibit. Nature did it and we are just specialized components of nature. the day that we can program a computer to think like we do may be far in the future, but i don't see how you have proven that it will NEVER happen. such a claim seems to be based more on your pride in your own unique humanity than on any logical/rational process.


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All refrences to and statements concerning mushrooms, mushroom cultivation, and mushroom related paraphrenalia refer specifically to the cultivation of legal species.


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Invisiblebuttonion
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Re: Truth? [Re: ]
    #875056 - 09/10/02 04:22 PM (19 years, 13 days ago)

Wow, I was so high just a minute ago that I actually ?invented? idealism, I completely forgot that I learned of it somewhere else. I was pissed at first then I just had a loud laugh! Here is what I wrote anyway (BTW, this kind of is a runaway bus) Just a wee bit off topic:


When you and I see a glass on a table we both acknowledge its existence. And should acknowledge that it exists absolutely.

Cool? ontology. I grant that you said you would elaborate later, but??Public? knowledge may simply point to commonalities between several (human) observers, evidence for the fact that their perceptual faculties are similar, that they both break down reality in a similar way. This is probably at the heart of a conversation that we were having a while ago. I guess these are two competing ways of conceiving of the ?existence? of objects: either that they exist perceptually (we chop reality into things) or ontologically (reality is already chopped into things). I guess there may be the possibility of a combination of the two. I side with the first view. Neuroscience is continually understanding human perception and consciousness more and more, discovering how certain neurological conditions, lesions, and malformations can lead to a twist on the way humans typically report experiencing reality. Research is showing that almost every aspect of our experience of reality can be affected. When someone has a brain that is different in someway, his reality is totally different from ours. Since all of our brains are the same, what we agree becomes consensus reality. Uggh.. I guess this is why this topic has been a perpetual debate amongst philosophers- there doesn?t seem to be a way to reject either one!



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Concepts which have been proved to be useful in ordering things easily acquire such an authority over us that we forget their human origins and accept them as invariable.- Albert Einstein


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Invisibledeep_umbra
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Re: Truth? [Re: ]
    #875134 - 09/10/02 05:23 PM (19 years, 13 days ago)

if something physically showed you the answer to (insert your question about the universe) would you believe it to be the absolute truth? some would, some wouldn't.. who would be right? making up your own truth is as good as it gets..


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Offlinevaporbrains
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Re: Truth? [Re: ]
    #875350 - 09/10/02 06:34 PM (19 years, 13 days ago)

Computer technology is advancing at an expotential rate. What that means is that the more advanced it gets without creating a Turing machine the less likely it will be that it will ever create one.

fallacy of a uh..bad analogy.    :laugh:  computer technology is not ergs. you don't apply computer technology to a problem in a 1 to 1 way. it's dynamic. meaning...new advances...new discoveries...can change the amount of "ergs" you can apply to the problem.


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OfflineToxicManM
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Re: Truth? [Re: ]
    #875532 - 09/10/02 08:27 PM (19 years, 13 days ago)

OK, I guess I'm gonna chime in with a very different direction than the thread has been following so far...

Truth, in a practical sense, is a combination of my perceptions, beliefs, and aesthetics. Also, an approximation of the truth is adequate for real purposes.

Deep philosophical discussions on the meaning and nature of truth can certainly be interesting (look at the size of this thread and what's been written so far), but there is also a very interesting application side to the whole thing. Isn't the whole idea of indirect knowledge and how do I know one of the foundations of the art of science. It is interesting that, as humans, we also have an aesthetic sense of the truth - if given a choice between two possible approximations of the truth, we will choose the one we percieve as being more elegant.

One of the reasons Einstein's general relativity is so well regarded among physicists is because of its extreme mathematical elegance and beauty. Of course, if it were not also phenomenally accurate in making predictions it would be dropped in an instant, but the mathematical beauty it possesses puts it on a level above most physical theories.

Similarly, as humans, we regard scientific experiments which produce results entirely counter to our normal way of thought as having a beauty above the average. The diffraction of a single electron through two slits is an experiment which demostrates elegantly the idea of particle/wave dualism, and uses easily available materials to do it.

While some logical philosophies will reject a close relationship between truth and beauty, I much prefer a philosophy closer to "truth is beauty". I accept that I cannot absolutely know the complete truth about anything and so I seek my approximations of the truth through my senses, my experiences and beliefs, and my sense of aesthetics.


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OfflineFliquid
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Re: Truth? [Re: ]
    #875900 - 09/11/02 01:38 AM (19 years, 13 days ago)

More truth...

Oppression in  shroomery land ...  :frown:

Your right for freedome of expression is also taken in here...  :frown: 


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Offlinevaporbrains
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Re: Truth? [Re: Fliquid]
    #876277 - 09/11/02 03:42 AM (19 years, 13 days ago)

hey Fliquid: no one is oppressing your right to free expression. you're post has nothing to do with Spirituality or Philosophy. it's off topic. it's a flame. it's more apporopriate for a PM. if you have a flame, post it in the proper forum and if they censor it, then complain.


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OfflineCalen
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Re: Truth? [Re: ]
    #877035 - 09/11/02 08:40 AM (19 years, 12 days ago)

Mr. Mushroom said:
I have a slightly different interpretation of that quote by Lao Tzu. I take it to mean that if you know something you will not tell it and if you are communcating you do not know anything. I always call that quote a thread stopper because usually the poster who posts it is implying that no one knows what they are talking about and the only way to appear wise is to shut up. Rarely have I seen it work though.

I take you're audio processor when you said you were "audiodidactic"? If so, you analyze language as it is written, explicitly. People like me, a visual processor, perceives the quality besides just the logical analysis. Tzu's quote is about experiential truths. The order in which the person does is in the quote. **Experience** comes first, articulation comes after. Not the other way around.


I'll take perceptual quality further in relations to the Tzu's quote when you said here:

Lately I have been thinking about the various ways that we, as humans, figure out what is truth.


Thinking is like *speaking*, internally ~ creates noise. When a person experienced spiritual awakenings (no noise), that person won't speak anything at all (He who knows, speaks not). The intellect (noise) that conceptualizes truth (or truths) and constantly in pursuit for the reasons and validation behind it is "He who speaks, knows not."

Thinking is the absence of the awareness of insight. Can ya dig the truth between you and Tzu's? ~.^

No, it is not more accurate. I don't think I exist. I know beyond any doubt that I exist. Period, Finito, The End.

Explain the levels of existence you don't doubt?

Cognito ergo sum. I think, therefore I am. If you can think you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you exist because that which can think exists. The act of thinking alone causes us to know we exist. Have you not heard of Descartes?


Buddha would agree, but he's anti-Cartesian, would also say there's an 'illusive quality of "I think, therefore I am."


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OfflineCleverName
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Re: Truth? [Re: ToxicMan]
    #877216 - 09/11/02 09:50 AM (19 years, 12 days ago)

ah, reminds me of Schrodinger's Cat.


--------------------
if you can't find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?

this is the purpose


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OfflineFliquid
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Re: Truth? [Re: vaporbrains]
    #878642 - 09/11/02 06:20 PM (19 years, 12 days ago)

I don't know if you believe me... But i had a dream that you would type this... This is really freaky.  :grin:

But what i'm replying now is not the thing i replyed in my dream. It was much worse. And it sturred up a lot of people against me.

Thank chemicals for dreams..  :laugh: 


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InvisiblePeaceful_Nomad
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Re: Truth? [Re: ]
    #879443 - 09/12/02 03:09 AM (19 years, 12 days ago)

I believe all truths (and falsehoods) are contained within.
We already have all the answers, the challenge is to sift
through all the programmed psychobabble, discard all the
baggage, and face ourselves.

Once an individual is able to face themselves in an "honest"
manner, that individual can begin to embark on the journey
of seeking the truths (or answers) to the questions they may
have in life.

I believe humanity is a mirror of ourselves. EVERY person we
encounter is a small reflection of a part of ourselves. Before
we judge others, we must first look within and seek the very
same quality we are quick to judge.

By understanding and implementing this concept (as difficult as
it is), an individual will have a deeper understanding of their own
existence, and from that understanding, answers will then reveal
themselves.

The truth is within each and every one of us. We just have to be
brave enough to face it, in order to experience it!

Peace to Everyone,

Peaceful Nomad



--------------------


Edited by Peaceful_Nomad (09/12/02 03:12 AM)


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Offlinemirrorsaww
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Re: Truth? [Re: vaporbrains]
    #879592 - 09/12/02 04:22 AM (19 years, 12 days ago)

most postmodern philosophers and some moderns don't subscribe to descartes ergo cogito sum. i am pretty unfamiliar with thier philosophies though so we'll skip em.

As far as I can see, you are claiming that certain philosophers deny Cogito ergo sum proves existence. That they admit the possibility that *nothing* may have somehow convinced itself into believing that something exists when really it doesn't. That there could be *absolutely nothing* which "we" falsely believe to be something. The quotes are used because "we" would of course not exist. Nothing would exist. A strange belief in my opinion. Do you have any better evidence for this than your 'thought experiment'?

On the other hand Descartes method of doubt has often been rejected as a starting place for a basis of knowledge. In brief: It starts by trying to find one point of certainty, a foundation upon which knowledge can rest. The point of certainty is found by rejection of any proposition whose truth we can even slightly doubt. The result of this process is to discover the certain truth that "I think therefore I am".

The difficulty comes when you try and reconstruct knowledge upon this basis. In the method of doubt have you not destroyed the tools needed for the job? One notorious problem with Descartes own solution is the Cartesian circle. To prove the reliability of the senses he relies upon a benevolent deity as a guarantor of reason ("God does not decieve"), while at the same time he is using reason ("clear and distinct ideas") to try and prove the existence of the deity in question. It is unsatisfactory to many, but I quite like the idea that reason destroys itself in the method of doubt only to be resurrected (so to speak).



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Offlinemirrorsaww
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Re: Truth? [Re: mirrorsaww]
    #879600 - 09/12/02 04:26 AM (19 years, 12 days ago)

truth just being so truth is redundant...


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