Truth is the knowledge of
things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.
- Joseph Smith Jr, 1833
There is no "my truth" and "your truth". There is only one truth and that is the facts of realty.
- Rev. Dr. John Rodgers, 1972
Piss You Off
"The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." - Gloria Steinem
Truth is generally defined as a proven fact, actuality or standard. To tell the truth is to state an opinion or belief with the utmost sincerity. The integrity of a person, principle or maxim is rooted in truthWhen the truth is uncovered or revealed, then understanding and enlightenment can occur. The problem is that truth doesn't always support ones current beliefs, so the discovery process often irritates more than it elevates a person's spirit. Only when you're able to get past this natural resistance will you be able to live a life that is truly free
Most people don't want to know the truth.
Instead, they want validation for existing beliefs or positions. They do this for several reasons: ego, denial, ignorance and insecurity.
Egomaniacs always think they're right. They decide what is fact and what is fiction within their world. It is their universe and the rest of us are privileged to be living in it. Truth is subjective in their minds. Beliefs must pass through their own filters before they can be considered facts. In short, they do whatever it takes to fuel their fantasy, until one day their world crumbles around them (at which point, they usually become victims).
At the other end of the spectrum are those who know the truth yet refuse to accept it. They live in denial of what has been revealed to them as fact. They often carry a degree of guilt on their conscience for choosing to ignore something they know to be true. Their life is about avoidance and fear. Oftentimes, they think acceptance of the truth will require them to let go of what they currently have and, for whatever reason, they refuse to loosen their grips.
Ignorant people piss me off more than learning a truth that I should have known. These people have a belief system or biases that are so ingrained into their thinking that the truth is irrelevant. It's not that they don't want to know the truth - they just don't care what it is. Ignorant people stick by their beliefs on principle, so that they may continue to be accepted by others within their group. Integrity is not important because depravity is rewarded in their lives.
Insecurity is probably the most prevalent reason why people don't want to hear the truth. Their self-image and self-confidence are so vulnerable that anything that feels like a criticism sends them into depression. To an insecure person, everything in life is personal. They don't understand that facts, or truths, are neutral. When you speak the truth about what you think or feel to an insecure person, he or she often views it as an attack on their beliefs or character. It is very hard to work with, or be friends with, insecure people. They only want to hear things that don't disrupt their fragile state of mind.
The cost of avoiding truths is freedom. No matter what the reason, all people who fail to discover the truth are living a part of their lives in the dark. Oftentimes, when light is revealed, the flaws in our beliefs are exposed. This exposure, as Steinem alludes, tends to embarrass, irritate or invalidate our existing self-image and world view.
It takes courage to accept the truth, or facts that do not support your current beliefs or opinions. As the saying goes, though, "The truth will set you free." Free to live a life that is based in the realities of the universe; free to know that the relationships you have with others are genuine; and, free to feel good about yourself for choosing integrity over ignorance.
When first revealed, the truth will certainly piss you off; however, once you get over it, the joy of freedom will fill your soul and the elation of enlightenment will fill your mind.
The Basic Assumption
I'll show you how it works - Elroy
In the United States we have been able to create fake diamonds for many years now. Whereas a real diamond takes millions of years under the earth's relatively low pressure to change carbon into the clear stone adored by men and woman around the world, a fake diamond can be manmade in a few hours by taking that same carbon and putting it under intense pressure. Though made in different amounts of time, and though they have different sale values, both are diamonds.
If you take a fake diamond, which can be distinguished from real diamonds because they are too perfect, to an American jeweler and ask him how old it is, he will identify it as a fake and tell you that it is only a few hours old.
If, however, you take that same manmade diamond to some village gem maker in a remote village in the deepest Africa, a place where modern technology won't reach for many more years, and then ask him how old the diamond is, he will probably tell you it is millions of years old. Why? Because his Basic Assumption is that humans can't make diamonds. He will be forced by his own beliefs, therefore, to conclude that it is a real diamond, made in the natural pressure of the earth, and is, therefore, very old.
Our Basic Assumption is what defines how we interpret the facts around us. And as our example shows, different assumptions can create wildly different truths from the same facts.
Basic Assumptions fill in the gaps when we're forced to interpret what the facts mean. But more than that, they link the facts together into whole realities that make sense to the person doing the interpreting.
It's no wonder people can't agree on anything. We all think we know the truth, but all of our truth's are mutually exclusive. Well, not all. Sometimes we band together into groups of people who share the same Basic Assumptions, and thus, the same interpretations of truth. But rather than diminish our differences, by grouping together we only provoke bigger conflicts between groups of people with different Basic Assumptions. With a group surrounding us and telling us our interpretations are correct because they agree with their own interpretations, the members' Basic Assumptions are fortified and given an even greater role in creating a reality palatable to the interpreter. The group's truth becomes an absolute truth in the minds of its members. And everyone else's truths must be interpreted as falsehoods, misconceptions, or downright lies.
In such a scenario, Muslims think Christians are tools of the Devil who spread across the globe with their "missions" in order to subvert the truth of Allah. Likewise, Christians think Muslims are living in deception, no doubt also from the Devil, and that their militant faith is a threat to God's people, both the Jews and the Christians. In both cases each religion gives its members a huge set of Basic Assumptions that are used to create completely separate realities for their members. And these realities don't just exclude other religions.
In America, people who believe the Bible to be completely accurate in every word have vastly different Basic Assumptions that the rest of society. They will interpret current events and find a way to fit them into biblical prophecy. Suddenly every headline becomes an omen of the end of the world; every non-biblically-based political organization is a tool of Satan; every cultural trend not in line with the New Testament is called a "decline of our Nation"; and the protection of freedoms that don't fit their beliefs is called "a loss of national morals."
And just as they test the world against their interpretations of truth based on their group's Basic Assumptions, they will even test their own people to make sure they are actual members, and not infiltrators wishing to dilute their beliefs. Anyone whose interpretations of current events are not the same as the group's will be labeled a heretic or an unbeliever.
Christians call these people "Backsliders." Muslims call them "Tools of Satan." Jews call them "Secular Jews." Conservatives call them "Closet Liberals." Liberals call them "Moral Conservatives." And every other group whose presence is formed around a communal Basic Assumption has its own way of perpetuating its truths in their most "pure" form.
Alas. Human conflict is a self-perpetuating problem.
How much better it would be if we could just remember that our Basic Assumptions are just that: assumptions. We do not know for a fact that anything is true because we are humans, and our minds are interpretive machines. We may believe something with all our hearts and still be wrong. We might fight and die, or even kill, for our interpretation of truth, but it won't make it any more true. All we can do is learn as much as we can and then remove everything that cannot be true and start seeing what is left. It'll never be a perfect truth, but at least it won't be a self-created one based on our personal or our group's own Basic Assumptions.