Saturday, August 13, 2016

If vs. Is

“If” is one of my favorite words.  Logical thought is hinged on “if.”  “If” sets the premise.  “If” sets condition.  “If” sets context.  “If” sets the tone.  “If” sets an assumption.  “If” incites the imagination to picture what could be.  “If” sparks thought experiments.  From the “if”, the “therefore” – a conclusion – is made.

“If” is a beautiful word, and serves a versatile function in explicating aspects of reality and truth.  But there’s one important thing that “if” can never do: invalidate an “is.”

“Is” is an objective reality.  “Is” is only invalid when a lie or untruth is declared as an “is” – in which case, it’s not truly an “is” since it doesn’t have the essence of being one.  “Is”, in essence, is synonymous to “true.”

On the other hand, “if” doesn’t always necessarily mean to be true or something that will surely possibly happen.  And even in such a case that “if” is something true or states a real possibility, it doesn’t have the same kind of weight of credibility than an “is” has.  An “is” can validate the truth of its assertion by the essence of itself, while the validity that an “if” presupposes is dependent on a truth that an “is” has offered.  In turn, the validity of a conclusion derived from an “if” is only as valid as the “if” itself.

An “if” can never ever in any form be used to disqualify an “is” declared in absolute.  In such a case, an “if” stating a possibility that seems to be contrary to the “is” must have been serving a rhetorical purpose.  “If” could be stating something hypothetical, not an actual possible occurrence, to enforce a point for the“is” rather than contradict it (coz, again, the “if” can’t invalidate the “is” in the first place).

“Jack is a man.  He loves to swim in the river.  If ever he becomes a fish, he will surely swim towards the sea.”  To use “if ever he becomes a fish…” as the basis to conclude something like “Jack will always be a man unless he becomes a fish because that’s something possible” is simply ridiculous and stupid.

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