Finding the Art in Everything

20 August, 2010

T is for Truth

I know. I skipped a few letters. I was having trouble with H. Even Jadepark, who inspired my list, had trouble with the Letter H. I am working on something, but there is too much going on to wrestle with that letter anymore. I have a list and I'll complete the 26 letters, but the sing-song order no longer feels like an imperative. So I forsake it.

And T is for truth.

Today, in the span of 30 seconds, I drove past a First Baptist church and a sign advertising a lecture event with Deepak Chopra. (The lecture was not at the church.) I moved to a place that has, what they call, a very inclusive definition of truth. It upholds a disorienting syncretism, attempting to bind together different, even opposing beliefs. A cosmic embrace of all religions is common here.

But as Ravi Zacharais identifies, truth in its nature is exclusive. Briefly explained, denying the exclusive nature of truth is, in itself, a truth claim that excludes its opposite.

This local breakdown in logic, I think, actually betrays an eagerness to answer the defining questions of Origin, Meaning, Morality, and Destiny. But mere "answers" to these questions are not enough.

is needed--truth on a grand scale with the power to eclipse all of the tiny, single, relativistic excuses for it that trap my post-modern neighbors in darkness.

But how does a person find truth when there are so many claims to it?

  1. Be Humble. The truth is more important than anything else, especially your pride. Often, pride masquerades as your pre-conceived notions of the truth. If what you already have is really the truth, it will stay without you having to hold on to it.

  2. Test EVERYTHING. It is important to fully explore for yourself everything that people offer to you as truth, with sincerity and humility. (see #1) Only when you have tested everything and retained what's good in it can you be confident in what you have.

  3. Look closely. Truth has two hallmarks: coherence, consistency.

    Coherence is what you seek when you work to thoroughly understand something. Does the idea or claim fully make sense within itself, or are there paralyzing contradictions? Does the truth answer thoroughly all the questions it, itself, poses? If it does not have these things, it will not be a truth you can live with. And I know you. You are not just looking for truth. You are looking for a truth you can live with..

    Consistency is your other measuring tool. Does the truth presented to you make "sense" fully to your mind? To your heart? To your life experience? If something is true, it flows with all three things.

    It is an idea if it only makes sense in your mind. It is a dangerous deceit if it makes sense in your mind, plumbs the depths of your heart, but does not match any part of your reality.

    It is passion if it only rings with your heart and not your mind, and foolishness if it rings with your heart and experience but not your mind.

    It is pride if it only matches your personal experience, and cynicism if it only matches your mind and experience but saddens your heart.

  4. Be Patient. Truth requires time to find. Does the thing maintain its consistency and coherence over time? Is what matches this moment what matches next season? Next year? Next phase in life? next era? Truth--the truth-- withstands time. Truth may not immediately match mind, heart, and experience without time for full revelation.
Only what walks instep with mind, heart, and experience over time is the truth.