Before you can tell if something is true or not there are a few basic things you have to do. The ability to discern the truth of a thing comes at the end of a process not at the beginning.
Imagine you are in a library. Now in this library you are told that some of the books contain the truth but others do not contain the truth.
There are two basic ways people have gone about deciding which books are true and which aren’t through-out history.
One is to just go on the say so of someone else. That is someone tells you which are true and which are not thus relieving you of the burden of reading them yourself.
This doesn’t include someone telling you about what is in the books. That is relaying to you the contents of the books. Though in that case – if the only access you had to the books was the hearsay of others – it would be wise to hear from many people.
Here someone merely points to a book and says “true”. You go on and tell other people that so and so book is true because so and so said it was.
The other way is to read the books yourself. To take in the information in the books themselves. This seems to me the only way to know whether they are true or not.
Of course you can’t decide whether a book is true or not without contact with what the book is about.
So what you do to discover the truth of something – whether it’s a book or the words someone says – is to first of all forget entirely about truth. Just let the text speak for itself. Actually come to know what it is you are seeking to ascertain the truth value of.
After you have suspended your disbelief, given the same honour you give to Hollywood to the text do you begin to think about truth. Do you look to see if the text corresponds with what it is a text about. First read as fiction and figure out if it is true or not.
This applies to people as well; especially to people. We should give our friends and family the same honour we give to fiction.
I think one of the basic conditionings we are given is to immediately dismiss what people are saying without even hearing it properly. We use the claim that it’s not true or that you can’t be certain.
It shows itself to be stupid because in order to make any of these claims you are using to dismiss or not listen to statements you first have to listen to them!