We use this model to help us understand different perspectives in our work with individuals, groups, teams, and organizations. It describes four ways people see their “truth” in the world.
- Objective Truth is what exists and can be proved in this physicality. (A round ball of fire appears to cross the sky each day.)
- Normative Truth is what we, as a group, agree is true. (English speakers agreed to use the word “day” to name that time when the sky is lit.)
- Subjective Truth is how the individual sees or experiences the world. (Today is a good day for me.)
- Complex Truth recognizes the validity of all those and chooses which one is most useful at any given time.(If today is a good day for MOM, then let’s take advantage of that and ask for ice cream for dinner.)
As a model, the 4 Truths represents the various perspectives or ways we claim truth. As a method, it becomes the basis for inquiry and questioning as individuals and groups seek to accomplish such tasks as
—identifying their similarities and differences,
—finding common ground for problem solving and decision making, and
—understanding others’ perspectives and actions.