In this day and age, musing about this question is considered dangerous, if pursued in a serious way. I would risk being maligned with the so-called “post-truthers”, people who appear to selectively pick and choose evidence in front of them to support this or that conspiracy theory. Too often these days, “free thinking” is really a veiled attempt to support certain political agendas, when the motivation is to not free you to think. Also to cut off access to helpful information, and to cope with this loss. Exactly how free is one to think, really? There is a reason you don’t hear about socialism as often as, say, reducing taxes, is because we need to understand exactly who those people are who benefit from certain thoughts being thinkable and others being supressed.
I am thinking about a whole different kettle of fish. I am wondering about when decision-making in complex situations, does “truth” matter? It is likely that knowing key facts are quite useful, but sometimes that is also in short supply. It is then when you have to resort to a mixture of scant concrete information, advice from others, past experience, and guesswork. In the end the decision is yours, and you have to have faith in it. There is no glorious “the truth is inside you” nonsense, no using “the force” or other movie tag lines that will guide you to victory. In the end you might be wrong as much as you might be right. Either way, you have to own the consequence of your decisions, even in the face of degenerate information.
And tomorrow is another day. You can correct things; plans can change; wrongs can be righted. But sometimes you never know the truth, except for the outcomes of your decisions. That is why, I believe, that others have no right to interfere in your business unless you ask them for their judgement. In my case, there has not been that many cases where I really needed the advice of other people, but I always knew what people I could ask.
I think that is the way of it for most people. We do our own level best most of the time, but others are around for tough decisions. It’s not important to have all of the information, although it is best to gather whatever information you can. If it is about child rearing, then we often rely on instincts, things we read or advice from those we seek help from; most often those who have gone through it. But in the moment, we rely on our instincts, and that is sometimes all we have access to. Maybe even most of the time. I also don’t think that it matters much how much reading or self-education we take upon ourselves. Even if you knew all sides, and all of the details, I don’t think that would help in deciding. When the chips are down, instincts are sometimes all you have.