A casual acquaintance cornered me as I was leaving the library the other day. He appeared to be quite agitated and urged me to sit while we caught up on each other’s lives. It turned out that this fellow, I barely know, wanted to emotionally dump. He had just broke up with his girlfriend, who I also marginally know.
He rattled off a litany of faults and complaints about his now ex-girlfriend. I soon had the feeling that I was being recruited to take his side in the emotional battle between the two ex-lovers. As I listened to his rant, I got a feeling in my gut that something wasn’t quite right. It’s the subjective feeling that I have come to trust. I continued to listen to the man until he noticed someone else who could offer him sympathy. I then bid him farewell.
That afternoon, the girlfriend bumped into me at the supermarket. She asked if I had seen her ex, yet. I said I had. She then began her own rant and listed complaints about the boyfriend. Once again, my gut communicated that her truth was being stretched. After she left to continue her shopping, I remembered how glad I was about my vow to no longer take sides in lovers’ quarrels. When I was younger, I was frequently given the unpleasant task of choosing whose truth to believe.
I have discovered that there is no one, absolute truth, in any conflict. Be it a political debate, a religious discussion, a scientific investigation, a criminal trial, or a lovers’ quarrel, there seems to be plenty of wiggle room. We might quote Socrates, Jesus, Albert Einstein, or our favorite politician. Our point of view will determine how we understand that esteemed person’s truth. Even in a court of law, the final verdict is arrived at by a consensus of opinions by a jury or a judge. Whatever is deemed true, is really a matter of the most compelling opinions.
To simply repeat a statement is not truth-telling. To do so is merely reinforcing an opinion. Even if we understand this basic notion, most of us want some sort of absolute fact, to serve as a foundation upon which we can construct our mental structure of the truth. Mankind’s search for an absolute truth will never end. The truth is a mental product derived from the perceptions of people at one place in time.
The more forcefully an opinion of the truth is expressed, the more falsehood the opinion will contain. The attempt to constrain the truth converts the truth into a mere tool to be used to enforce a judgement. The teller’s truth transforms into the mental state of righteousness. The righteousness is then used to justify whatever actions the teller wishes to perform. Truth becomes a state of mind that seeks to possess, to divide, to achieve exclusivity and domination.
I can rattle on and write about truth all I want, but I cannot compose a list of techniques as to how to discover the truth. There is no one path to the truth. There is no past or future truth. There is only the truth. The mind that disciplines itself to a achieve an enlightening goal will not find the truth, only a projection of one’s point of view. The achievement of that discipline becomes self-worship. The belief in one’s own truth becomes cyclical, like a dog chasing his own tail.
The effort to “find God” in order to placate an unsettled mind or to validate ownership of relationships and ideals is the act of seeking. To seek is an act of acquisition, possession, and ambition. The seeker looks for definitions by suppression and substitution. The seeker emulates or formulates her own concept of love. The truth will slip away just as pure, liquid mercury escapes grasping tongs.
Can you seek the truth? To discover the truth, we must know of what we are seeking. If we seek to discover, we will find a projection of what we desire to find. What we eventually discover will be a projection of our desire. The act of seeking the truth is the act of denying it.
A person can begin to understand the truth by saying what it is not. A person can begin to know the truth by not seeking after the truth. The truth has no arcane living place. The truth is not continuous. What was true yesterday might not be true today. What is true today, might not be true tomorrow. What is true is not tradition. Tradition is only what was true in years gone by.
Will the truth be found within a certain place or setting or documents, or from certain, select people? Is there some sort of map or guidance to point the way? The search for truth springs from ignorance. We may discover the truth when we stop the efforts to find it and possess it. We may radiate the truth when we no longer wish to become the vendors of it. We may see a glimmer of the truth when we no longer wish to manipulate ourselves and others with it.
The truth is always fresh. Who can really define it? We can only dance around it.