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Only the educated are free. - Epictetus
The Path to Truth
Some Philosophy Concerning Truth
Why search for the truth if it
isn't going to do you any good
when you find it? Would you do that? I doubt it! Let me elaborate.
Wouldn't the person that is on the path to
the truth take a very pragmatic approach or stance in that they realize
that they did NOT design and create objective reality? They cannot KNOW the
truth from this ordinate or ultimate position. Don't they also realize that they do
NOT have unlimited time and resources to explore every construct our there
in the public domain? Therefore, isn't it only logical that they pursue those
ideas that at least PROMISE to deliver goodness, i.e., what they really need
and want? All other paths can surely be ignored.
Physical reality is dynamic,
not static, and it is this dynamic essence
that we experience and apprehend with our five senses. There is no
experience of physical reality apart from some dynamic aspect, i.e.,
some movement or change, contrast, difference or discontinuity, or
irreversibility. If there were only one color to physical reality, even
the best conceivable eyes would see nothing. Or if there were only one
changeless sound, even the best of ears would not hear anything.
So it would also seem to be
with the essence of spiritual or non-material realities.
In order to understand the meaningful aspects of human experience and
human nature is it not necessary to differentiate, to see that which is the
same and that which is different?
As a functioning
mechanical/biological system we can be compared to a
computer–we have Hardware (our biological body), Software (our psyche
or soul, the composite of mind, instincts, propensities, aptitudes,
etc.), and Input/Output (our ability to sense, respond, act, and communicate). This
triune pattern seems to hold for Man's intellect, which under sound
operation is rational, logical and reasonable. While being rational
means being able to distinguish and apprehend the pertinent facts and
information of a situation, being logical includes being rational and
also means being able to see meaningful relationships between facts and
information and to extrapolate those to valid or correct conclusions.
These two lower level
intellectual capabilities are meaningless in and
of themselves unless they form the foundation of what is ultimately
meaningful, that which is being reasonable, or reasonableness. This also includes but
transcends being rational and logical by relating to and incorporating a
defensible purpose and set of values which can be called human or
humane. Being reasonable (ultimately meaning "correct" or right) is so closely
bound up with purpose that much of the time we use the word "reason" as
a substitute for the word "purpose".
Now, what can be ultimately more meaningful
than the search for truth? Can there be any more meaningful reason to
study human and planetary history? But it is one thing to postulate the
existence of truth; it is quite another to postulate a trustworthy WAY of accessing or apprehending that truth.
How can we be assured that we are
accessing the truth without being intellectually responsible? Will
truth without a way of accessing it have any value? Won't truth without a TRUSTED way of
accessing it always remain tentative? The premise is that truth without an AGREED UPON
means of accessing it will always leave one isolated: it will provide no
basis for a common understanding of the world or our place in it.
How can we be assured that
something is the truth? If the truth walked up to us and shook our hand, how
would we recognize it? Truth without a way of recognizing it will have no
value. Also, will not truth without a TRUSTED and AGREED UPON means of
recognizing it always leave one isolated again, and will it provide no
basis for a common understanding of the world or our place in it?
Do not many people have their sense
of truth tethered to aspects of their society and culture? Some to
the majority, some to prior schooling, some to a set of "sacred
writings", some to tradition, and some to "accredited" authorities,
etc.? The premise is that there is ONLY one way to get past the resulting
troublesome divisions in our collective perception of the world. And that
is through OPENING UP TO THE TRUTH BEING BEING BETTER THAN WE CAN INITIALLY
BELIEVE IT TO BE, and then having a commitment to honest, attentive,
rational, logical, and reasonable inquiry, with nothing else, no higher
motive, standing between ourselves and this quest for truth.
The serious seeker of truth is
able, willing and eager to challenge–and seek others to help challenge or
defend–EVERY relevant idea or concept to which he is exposed whether it's
sourced from himself or from external agencies. Can this not be
overemphasized, because do we not all live in a world of noisy nonsense,
have we all not been steeped in tradition, myth and falsity, and have we all
not held to positions that didn't survive the harsh glare of reality? Isn't
this is just a sensible, fundamental aspect of true humility?
Even the J-person said, "Because narrow
the gate and constricted the way leading into Life, but those
finding it are few." Sounds like bad news, doesn't it? But maybe it
is GOOD news. Maybe the first part is really good news, and the second
part is just and only a sad commentary! And again, "Strive to enter by the narrow
door." Obviously, we can ignore all the normal or wide entrances in our
search or approach. And why not? A narrow door and path are well defined and
preclude bringing a lot of baggage and drifting or wandering around.
Without palavering around any more, this author sees
that the path is bounded on one side to include only those concepts that
promise to satisfy what we need and what we want, and on the other side
bounded by rationality, logic and reason.
Listen to Your Heart
Finally, settling into spiritual truth is often a three
phase process. For the troubled person, the heart is militating for and may
be indicating the truth. But it is the intellect that APPREHENDS the truth,
and when it is so apprehended, the heart AFFIRMS the truth.