The woman enters a store to purchase some new shoes, she expects to leave with a pair that fits comfortably. If the salesperson tries to force her feet into a pair that is too small, her feet will feel the pressure and pain. If a pair is too large, she knows she’ll eventually develop blisters and calluses. Eventually the “right” pair of shoes is presented. The shoes feel right and comfortable on her feet. After a few days, the woman enjoys the new shoes so much that she tells people about how wonderful the shoes are. They bring such comfort and ease to her stride, and they look stylish, too.
She insists, to everyone, that they should wear an identical pair of these shoes. The trouble is, the woman’s pair of shoes probably will be the wrong size for someone else’s feet. That pair of shoes won’t enhance their comfort nor their wardrobes. Perhaps some people would rather walk around barefoot.
One of the most frustrating aspects of humanity is its insistence upon enforcing the truth. We are evangelized about it by door to door purveyers of truth, we are scolded by preachers. Politicians seek to restrain freedom by quoting some sort of truth. Self-help gurus gently guide us towards their truth. Websites galore proclaim the truth. We disagree over interpretations of the truth. We oppress each other over the truth. Most disturbingly, we kill each other because of the truth.
If I can be truthful here, I’m rather weary of all this truth -mongering. It’s beginning to look to me that we’re all being sold a bill of goods. If “the truth” is really something good for me, why does it seem like I must accept it or suffer an eternal sentence to an extreme detention center? Why must we endure endless propaganda campaigns to indoctrinate us into accepting “the truth”. Why are there so many versions of it? Why do so many people feel so strongly about their versions of the truth that they feel they must sell it to us innocents? Why can’t they just let us live the way we deem proper?
In several nations of this little planet, you can get beat up by thugs if you don’t conform to their truths. The truth is often enforced by stringing unbelievers up with a rope or more “humanely” by lethal injection. Often times, those who don’t believe in a particular truth are shunned or forced into exile. Some are even cast out by their own families.
I’ve long thought that many of these truths are terrible concepts. If something is good, it will be self-evident. If I must be subjected to severe arm-twisting and philosophical indoctrination, my instincts tell me that something is amiss.
If a truth allegedly causes supreme joy and bliss, why are that truth’s advocates so insecure that they must forcibly enforce their truth? Billions of dollars are thrown away to market the truth, enforce the truth, and kill people who don’t subscribe to the truth.
Long ago, I came to the conclusion that there is no such thing as an overarching truth that applies to every single person in a benevolent way. Your truth may or may not be my truth, and my truth may or may not be your truth. The truth, whatever it is, seems to be a rather hazy, fantastic way of thinking. Why must I conform to someone else’s truth? Why must I wear the philosophical “shoes” that give my neighbor comfort but bind me too tightly?
It is troubling and absurd that human beings are the only creatures that kill one another over particular thought processes that take place within each personal brain. We’re the only animals that go to war over ideas.
What exactly is “the truth” anyway? Why do we so readily subscribe to particular truths? What makes “the truth” true? Why do we feel so strongly about our opinions regarding “the truth” that we decide to kill and die for our versions of it?
Truths are messy things that are all mixed up with propositions, special literature and documents, bearers of “truth”, enforcers of the truth, and followers. Then there is the elephant in the room that we are reluctant to see, the question about the concrete basis for “the truth”.
There is no one, elite way to “the truth”. It does not exclusively live in any special nation, ideology, political party, or belief system. It seems that all of these things and concepts must be set aside in order to discover one’s own particular truth. If one feels fervently and strongly about one’s truth, that may well be the manifestation of insecurity regarding that truth.
One’s truth will feel comfortable, yet not sloppy. One’s truth will tend to enhance life, yet sometimes test life. One’s truth will bring about joy and happiness, yet not be glib. One’s truth will enable honor and respect for the truths that other people have discovered. At the same time, this description forms only the slightest outline because our language is not rich enough to relay the truth. The truth is not to be found in mere words. Words and documents that claim to reveal the truth border on idolatry. Even the words in this post must be taken with a grain of salt.
We might find truth when we free ourselves of “me”, “mine”,”I”, “you”, “yours”, “them”, “theirs”, and “ours”. We might be aided in our search when we let go of time, place, and expectations. When we set aside the concepts of reward and punishment, we will be free to mentally explore.
I can say no more because doing so puts me at risk of being a mere propagandist and proselytizer for my own truth.
The Blue Jay of Happiness has long pondered what Fyodor Dostoyevsky had to say about the truth. “Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”