I was amazed (not surprised, though!) that this meme was shared by some 240 000 Facebook users. The meme was posted on some radio station’s Facebook page (Sioux Falls) and was even labelled by the admin as being “very profound.”
Indeed this shows that many people severely lack critical thinking skills when it comes to worldviews. And I truly say this not out of arrogance or anything like that, but simply out of what I see on a daily basis. In other words, the quote is so evidently self-refuting but at the same time so many people cannot see why, or at least don’t take the time to critically think about this. I will explain.
Firstly, this is an inauthentic quote. Marcus Aurelius (a Stoic philosopher) never actually said this & someone simply made it up.
Secondly, we have a monumental violation of the law of non-contradiction here. Let’s presuppose Aurelius really said this (of which he didn’t), then this is a classic example of logical incoherence. Since Aurelius says that “everything” is “not the truth” then that immediately negates & self refutes his very own statement. For if everything is “not the truth,” “an opinion,” “a perspective” then that would also apply to Aurelius’ very own statement (which comes from his very own ideology) itself. Basically Aurelius is saying this as an expression of his own belief system that he believes is true (despite him claiming that everything we see is not the truth).
This is also an appeal to subjectivism & pluralism. Basically such a worldview says that truth (among other things) is merely relative, however, this logically self-defeating since truth, by definition, is an objective reality that needs to be discovered. Basically to say that all truth is relative is to make an absolute statement on truth & on the nature of reality. But if Aurelius, or a proponent of this worldview, makes an objective truth claim then he can’t at the same time hold to relativism. In other words, this position is self-refuting.
Thirdly, the actual image we see on the meme is something known as an optical illusion. For instance, on one side it would appear that there are only three planks while if we look at the meme from another angle it would appear as if there are four of them. In other words, someone skillfully drew an image that is entirely illogical & devoid of sense. For example, the two characters could just as well have been asked to give their opinion of what the colour blue smells like, or what a rounded triangle looks like. Just because one can draw an optical illusion it no more makes it correspond to reality than any of these examples just mentioned. Now, how much more illogical & irrational would it be to apply such a methodology to an entire belief system… a belief system on a meme that some 240 000 people think is worth a share.
I strongly suggest that this is the reason why critical analysis of one’s own belief system should be done. And if a belief system is entirely built upon a false premise (that all truth is relative) then that itself refutes the entire worldview. Instead, for these several reasons I find this meme to be “profoundly” illogical.