Answering the question; “What is truth?” is arguably the most important question about life we face because it is the key to how we interpret all the other questions. Questions such as; “What is real?”, “How should we value what we know, see, touch and so on?” and “What should (or must) we do with our life?” are built on the foundation of what we consider true. What we see as truth, coupled with what we decide to do, determines how we relate and this influences our experience of life. If what we see as truth is not connected to a clear understanding of the collection of relationships that we depend on to realize satisfaction then our efforts cannot function effectively toward this end.
If our senses are not tuned to accurately represent what is going on in our environment we can neither diminish nor avoid destructive forces. We also cannot effectively forge nourishing relationships that cultivate the realization of our full potential. Accurate perception is an essential part of being able to navigate in an environment that has the potential to wound, starve and destroy us. Biological life requires an active participation in nourishing relationships and an environment that is specifically tuned to supply these elements of relationship. A passive approach to life is not an effective strategy to realize our full potential. Clear vision about who we are and what satisfies us is essential to navigate toward a meaningful and satisfying experience of life.
Not all of us seriously probe the question “What is true?” but all of us develop a world view based on what we see as truth. Even though our perspective powerfully shapes what we experience, some of us do not examine the lens through which we see. Instead of evaluating such a powerful contributor to our state of being, we simply absorb the behavior patterns and ideas we are exposed to in our culture. With a passive approach as the foundation for what we see as truth our experience is determined by the currents of culture and we have a diminished or nonexistent capacity to move with intention to shape our destiny.
When we look at the meaning communicated through our global culture we see that we do not demonstrate that we have an accurate vision of the behaviors that are necessary to realize our full potential. To the contrary, we express confusion, ignorance, and/or that we do not value the delicate symphony of cooperative relationships on which our fullest potential depends. Although our entire state of being is clearly dependent on nourishing relational harmony, we act in ways that destroy this harmony on individual and broader social scales. To allow the steering mechanisms that contribute to what we experience as life to this disharmonious culture is to participate in and perpetuate our own demolition.
The portion of our suffering that is self-made reveals the presence of the cracks in our relational values that generate poverty and chaos. This behavioral disharmony with what nourishes us includes relationships both within and between species. Without a serious probing of the truth about our nature we cannot realize the vision that reveals the way to our full potential. In the absence of truth – we sleepwalk from the womb to the tomb – ill equipped to make effective intentional choices that can affect positive and lasting changes. Without truth we are locked in an impoverished state of being. In poverty, we are vulnerable to reducing our experience of life to one that is punctuated with agony – diminished or absent of meaning- a passive reflection of the nature of our conflicted environment – lacking the ability to create, we become like stones, passively reflecting the heat and cold of the seasons that come upon us until we are whittled to dust by the elements. In other words, dead. Without truth we are destined to be slaves to, rather than shapers of, our experience.
Understanding the truth about ourselves is the first step toward moving from chaos to harmony; from a state where dissatisfaction is present to a more satisfied state of being. Without a firm understanding of truth we are vulnerable to becoming ensnared in parasitic and predatory relationships that can diminish or destroy our ability to realize our full potential. One of the most important aspects of truth we need to grasp is that at its best truth is an excellent map, it is not the journey. If we know the path toward a satisfying experience of life that is the map, the journey requires the discipline to translate that vision into action and that is a topic for another day.