Truth is one. Opinions are many. Or does the following sound more like the truth?
Truth is relative, depending upon the opinion of the beholder. Or how about this . . .
Truth depends upon your belief. If you believe something is true, that makes it true . . . true for you. Of course, if you don’t believe that statement, never mind, because your belief defines your truth in another direction.
Truth is Many
Obviously, there are many versions of truth . . . or at least, perceived truth. A quick glance around the planet reveals a dizzying array of diverse “truths.”
These truths are a reflection of the culture and century they are born into. Only a thousand years ago, the truths of the day included such gems as these:
· Bathing is hazardous to health.
· Women interested in learning about herbs and potions are witches and should be burned alive.
· The earth is flat and is the center of the universe.
· God demands that everyone subscribes to only one version of truth. All others are heretics and should be killed. (In the name of God, of course . . . yes, that’s the same God who decreed “Thou shalt not kill,” but this is an exception to that rule — a divine loophole in this particular brand of “truth.”)
“The belief that there is only one truth and that oneself is in possession of it seems to me the deepest root of all evil that is in the world.” – Max Born (1882-1970) – German physicist
The Birth of a Brand of Truth
When temporal truths become sanctioned policies of some official organization, they become brands. This is the truth about truth, and it has been this way for millenia. For many, the idea of truth is merely a brand that has been effectively marketed until it becomes a belief. A belief is simply a thought that is repeated over and over again. It is repeated because it’s in the interest of some brand of truth to have as many people as possible supporting their particular “take” on truth.
What’s Behind the Smoke and Mirrors?
An objective look at this phenomenon reveals that the various brands of truth have an agenda. Usually, the agenda is obvious — they want their brand to grow and prosper in order to increase the power base and affluence of those who are founders or stewards for each particular brand of truth.
Sometimes the agenda for a particular brand of truth is not so apparent. How do you get to the bottom of their motivation for spreading their particular brand? There’s one reliable method, proven effective through the millennia: Follow the money trail.
Lighthouses Through the Ages
Sure, there are altruistic individuals in every discipline, sincere and passionate about their personal insights and eager to share what they’ve learned. There have always been inspiring stories of discovery and wisdom in every culture, and people with a message worthy of being heard. This caliber of sincerity burns brightly through the centuries and helps to inspire us all to greater understanding.
Fortunately, every age has highly functioning individuals who serve as shining beacons, able to inspire others from within the culture of the times. They are able to use the language and thought forms of the day to help people take the next step toward new ideas, expanded beliefs and new truths.
“I call that mind free which jealously guards its intellectual rights and powers, which calls no man master, which does not content itself with a passive or hereditary faith, [and] receives new truth as an angel from Heaven.” – Woody Allen (b. 1935)
Dear God, Please Save Me from Your Followers
Historically, the problems begin whenever someone’s personal understanding of truth begins to congeal into a brand. The visionary may have no interest in creating anything resembling a brand, but life-enhancing ideas have a way of taking on a life of their own. Friends and associates become interested, then converted, then fervent, then passionate. They become disciples, then missionaries, then soldiers for “truth.”
They take it upon themselves to spread their particular adopted brand of truth far and wide, regardless of the intent of the founder. They make it their personal life mission to assure everyone knows about their brand. If they meet resistance, it must be overcome, because their crusade is true and just, and their brand must be spread, at all costs, even if deadly force is required. Whenever someone claims to have a monopoly on truth, history reminds us of the wisdom of walking (no, running!) in the opposite direction.
Some of these endorsees of “truth” are sincere and honestly believe they are devoting their lives to the mightiest of missions. Others are swept up in the frenzy of someone else’s truth, someone else’s belief, someone else’s habit of thought. They readily adopt someone else’s brand of truth because they don’t have one of their own
“Don’t let your special character and values, the secret that you know and no one else does, the truth — don’t let that get swallowed up by the great chewing complacency.” – Aesop (620-560 BC)
Is Truth Too Difficult?
Why are some so eager to adopt the truth of another? Perhaps they never realized the possibility of discovering their own personal truths. Maybe they are gullible and easily influenced by those who talk a good game. Maybe they are simply lazy and found it too much trouble to discover their own truth. They’d rather fit in, and go along with the crowd. It’s much easier to subscribe to some pre-packaged, ready-to-consume, bite-sized brand of truth — custom marketed to fit nicely into their busy lifestyle.
“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.” – Giordano Bruno
“The high minded man must care more for the truth than for what people think.” – Aristotle (384-322 BC)
Truth Through the Ages
We can learn much from history and our race’s relationship with truth. By looking back with objectivity, we can look forward with more intelligence, keener insight and a sharper discernment for identifying personally appropriate truths.
“A lively, disinterested, persistent looking for truth is extraordinarily rare. Action and faith enslave thought, both of them in order not to be troubled or inconvenienced by reflection, criticism or doubt.” – Henri-Frédéric Amiel (1821-81)
We are living in a different world than the world of our ancestors. Our world is round, and like any other circle, there are no beginning or end points. We can thrive in an endless sea of ideas, and find our own place in the continuum of truths. We can pick and choose what fits best from this buffet of truth and marvel at our own potential of reaching for understandings we have yet to imagine.
Can You Imagine Truth a Thousand Years from Now
Just as our ancestors of a thousand years ago could never have imagined today’s recognized truths of stellar nurseries, black holes in the center of countless galaxies, and the vast space and unfathomable energy inside tiny atoms, there are truths still unknown to us that will continue to redefine who we are and how we fit into this mysterious universe we call home. There are many ways to understand bits and pieces of it and other ways to appreciate the mysteries, and they are all valid.
“No human being is constituted to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; and even the best of men must be content with fragment, with partial glimpses, never the full fruition.” – Alan Marshall Beck (b, 1942)
All Things Change — Even Truth
Truth is a moving target. Our idea of truth grows as our capacity to understand unfolds. We do a serious disservice to ourselves and our fellow man and the entire universe whenever we get stuck on any one particular brand of truth . . . any one particular habit of thought.
“If what you seek is Truth, there is one thing you must have above all else–an unremitting readiness to admit you may be wrong.” – Anthony de Mello
We have an amazing brain, so powerful, we are just beginning to fathom its awesome potential. It’s a built-in tool to help us compare and analyze “truth.”
We have a heart to help us feel what is in alignment with who we really are.
And, we are soul with the capacity to know from direct personal experience what is truth for us, right here and right now.
“To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions.” – Deepak K. Chopra (b. 1946)
If our personal truth morphs over time, that’s okay. Everything else in nature changes, so why should we be surprised when our understanding of truth grows? It is only natural for our personal truth to grow wider and deeper as our consciousness expands.
The New Age of Truth
The idea of warring brands of truth is part of our ancestor’s world and has no place in the reality of those of us interested in personal development and ongoing inspiration. We recognize the greatest gift is the gift of freedom — freedom to choose, explore and try out different brands of truth until the dawning of our own personal truth. This is our birthright and we demonstrate divine understanding best when we offer the same to our fellow man. Many paths can lead to the same destination.
“The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.” – Niels Henrik David Bohr (1885-1962) – Danish physicist, chemist
As a race, we no longer need an intermediary to tell us what we are allowed to believe, how to feel, how to think, and what to embrace as truth. We have everything we need to find our own truth . . . truth for us . . . in this present moment.
“What has not been examined impartially has not been well examined. Skepticism is therefore the first step toward truth.” – Denis Diderot (1713-84)
This understanding of personal truth has the power of transforming our world. Look at history for examples of all the wars waged and people killed because someone felt the need for their particular brand of truth to be validated. This idea is barbaric. We are better than that, and it’s time we start acting like it!
Let it Be
We can’t change those who are stuck pushing someone else’s brand of truth. They will continue to indulge in their drama and eventually die off (or be killed by someone flying the flag of some other brand). We can offer them kindness, tolerance and grant them the freedom to discover their own truth in their own way and in their own time.
“Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.” – Robert Brault
Meanwhile, we can commit to finding our own personal truth. We can hope our example will inspire others to look inside for their own truth rather than looking outside at the tumultuous world of competing brands of “truth.”
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Way of the World
Life is so huge . . . so diverse . . . the possibilities are literally infinite. What’s the best way to sort it all out and carve out a little niche of our own?
Trash Our Treasures
Soul in the Stars
Same Olde Time
Just One Step
Hell or a Whole Lotta Fun
You Gotta Have Fun
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Know Thyself – Ignore Comparisons and Be Yourself
Six Killers of Individuality and Personal Independence
Life Drama as Blockage to Personal Development
How to Live the Life of Your Dreams Through Intuition
Inspire Yourself on Purpose – Inspiration from Inside Out
Methods as Temporary Tools Instead of Lifetime Crutches
Integrity Through Self-Reliance
Belief Systems vs. Knowing
How Do You Feel – About Inner Guidance?
Beyond Science, Philosophy and Religion
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