Monday, September 7, 2009

On Truth

What is Truth, really? Does it exist independently of perception? To paraphrase the philosophical question about the sound a falling tree makes in a forest: If a truth shows itself, but no one is there to perceive and record it, how can it exist or be shared? I do not believe that truth can exist independently of perception any more than sound exists without an ear to hear it. Furthermore, one ear might perceive the sound of a dropping tree as a crashing death, while another hears it as a soft thud marking a natural cycle; the same applies to our perceptions of truth. Thus, Truth appears to be a relative concept.

Given this philosophical theory of relativity (I nod to Einstein here), I have concluded that truth exists only in the intersection between all of our ideas. In other words, in a Venn diagram of disparate beliefs, the section where our circles overlap is the closest thing to “absolute” truth we can find. Ironically, humans have based most of our world religions on relative truths declared by prophets who received their “revelations” while alone, without numerous witnesses to corroborate and establish an intersection between their relative perceptions of the so-called “revelation.” Why do we accept one person’s perception as a basis for our beliefs? Why do we accept that someone else would be closer to God than we are, as if our own search for truth is unnecessary and meaningless because of some preexisting hierarchy of closeness with God? Are we so sure that our search for truth would only reveal the same truths revealed to some lone prophet from another time, culture, and spiritual place? Or are we lazy, satisfied to have let someone else’s search set precedents for us, without daring to overturn any outdated ideas of the “lower courts” by bringing our contemporary thoughts before the most Supreme Court of all?

In imagining this common view of a hierarchical access to God—through prophets and priests, popes and pastors, rabbis and imams, monks and nuns—I see a mathematical factor tree, with the individual believer viewed as the lowest common denominator. And then I think: but the individual, best represented by the number 1, is part of the top tier of every factor tree. Isn’t it “absolutely” true that 1 multiplied by any and every number equals itself? I don’t think that particular truth is a matter of perception, is it? One is the most important, closest factor of all. You can find it in any Venn diagram of factors, too.

The Venn diagram can thus illustrate figuratively that we, as factors in the calculations of Truth, are all One. Our Oneness is the common thread that connects each to the other. Therefore, we all should have the same power in the equation resulting in Truth, if we seek the intersection of ideas, rather than focusing solely on our own.

My goal as a person, and as a writer, is to share my perceptions, my truths, with the hope that others will find an overlapping point between their views and mine, and then share their findings with me, so that we can move closer to Truth together. That is how writers and readers come together, and how person and person come together as People.

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