Thursday, August 21, 2008

It seems that I wasn't very clear in my last post so I wanted to try to fix that a bit.

As I see it, knowledge of the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth is out of our reach as humans in the 21st century. There are still marvels and mysteries yet to be discovered, and I think that by definition, Truth, in this sense, is like God and ultimately unknowable.

What Truth is, I don't know if I could, or even if it's possible to at all, capture in words, yet we all use the word Truth, and we all know what we are talking about (or do we?). When we talk about Truth, it seems that we are talking about a combination of different things. We talk about our beliefs that match with Reality, we talk about ideas that are Good, and beliefs that have shown themselves to work, to help us cope with our perceptions of reality. We experience and then we try to sort these experiences out. We question, reason, "tetris-ize" into our other beliefs, give tentative answers and through this we come to know and believe certain truths. It seems that the sum total of what we know and believe from all of the aforementioned, we also call Truth, even though it seems that Truth is also used more broadly to include what only an all-knowing God could know.

Everybody wants to know Truth, many people think they are already the proud owners of Truth. Some of us have been programmed to believe that our particular system of belief is true and gives VIP access to Truth and of course personal contact information to the author of Truth, God himself.

But then some of us are privileged to have Truth poke it's horned head through our facade of what we believe is Truth. There are many different reactions at this point. Some of us follow it, others don't recognize it. Some of us see it but pile on the bullshit to varying degrees. Yet others bury their heads in the sand.

When this happens there are different emotional reactions. For some, Truth is our savior and we are madly in love, even if in some respects our previous lover's delusions brought us more happiness. We are comforted and satisfied to know that those delusions could only bring us a false and ultimately shallow happiness.

Our relationship with Truth is necessarily piecemeal and incomplete. Some of us want as much as we can get. Some of us feel obligated to sacrifice ourselves to this, and some go willingly as Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac. The sacrifice is not always so great and others go willingly because they have little, if anything, to lose and so much to gain.

However, we are mere human beings. We have hundreds of interests, some of which may be in conflict with our search for Truth. How far down the rabbit whole are we obligated to go? The skeptic that questions his or her religion in search of Truth, though he or she may find freedom from the tyranny of religious ignorance or bullshit, at times finds him/herself in emotional distress. We've all had moments when Truth had forced itself upon us and made us feel uncomfortable. These moments can last for a long time and while in the midst of them, we wish with all our hearts that we had never taken our relationship with Truth this far. Truth can have tragic effects that extend throughout our lives and even to our human relationships. After all, aren't humans more important? Isn't our own happiness more important?

Now you may be thinking that the alternative is "Ignorance is Bliss" and surely that isn't good. But life is not so black and white. We aren't forced to make a choice between 100% Truth, no matter what, and complete and utter ignorance. Perhaps something a little less committal would be good for some people. For those of us that do not find Truth to be the end all, be all, Truth can be viewed as an obstacle to other interests. We aren't all ready, on multiple levels, to sacrifice everything for the sake of Truth. In fact it's quite clear that Truth, to varying extents, is bad for many of us.

In light of all this, does Truth Trump? Is it the Royal Flush in Spades that beats all other hands? Or perhaps Truth is not like this, and other hands are indeed more important.