Not This, Not That ~ WHAT IS TRUTH?

We speak of Truth, as people have always done. We pick up their words, their ideas, and repeat them as if they are our own. We ‘search for Truth’, entangled in words, without bothering to ask what they mean, or if they mean anything at all. Are we not very much like parrots?

Let us examine:

Is there such a thing as Truth, or is it only a figment of our imagination, of our fears, our hopes, our ignorance? Is it an ‘it’ at all ~ something ‘out there’, a self-existent, independent entity or quality, to be found, stumbled upon, realized? A little thought about this ~ provided we are sincere, that is, and not playing hide-and-seek like children, a game of make-believe ~ might save us a lot of time and trouble.

Long, long ago, in the prehistory of our race, when we under-stood very little about the laws of nature and lived in ignorance and fear, we imagined spirits and gods all around us; every tribe had its own gods. These gods ~ projections of hope and fear ~ came and went in people’s minds, were changed, modified, transmuted, refined, and gradually reduced into fewer and fewer, until finally, some thousands of years ago, in Egypt, there remained, for a brief time, but one, represented by the sun-disk. As far as we know, this was the first instance of it, and though the worship of it did not last long before it was destroyed by the priests of the old religion, the seed had been sown, and what became of it remains with us until now, but with no more sub-stance or reality than the gods of our primitive ancestors. We are the victims of their ignorance and will remain so as long as we choose to believe instead of to doubt and question.

Where shall we find this ‘Truth’ that we’ve heard about and be-lieved in for so long? How shall we find it? What would happen if we began to think, “Hold on a minute. Maybe there is no truth. Maybe it’s been an illusion all along, like so many other hand-me-downs?” Are we brave enough to so doubt? Or do we have too much invested in this word, this idea, this belief? Would the strength in our legs fail? Would our world ~ our mental world ~ quake and fall into ruin if we were to doubt? Religions, through-out the ages, have threatened their flocks with damnation if they presumed to question their dogmas. They ~ or at least Christian-ity ~ no longer burn people at the stake for having slightly differ-ent ideas than the party-line, but still express their disapproval: “How dare you question what we teach!” In the Middle Ages, and for centuries afterwards, the Church had such power that heretics or apostates ~ as it called people who questioned and rejected what it taught, were subject to torture and capital pun-ishment. This no longer holds, and people are free to discard Christianity completely, as I did, without fear of censure or re-criminations. And I will state quite clearly that if I get no further along my way in this life, I will consider it enough to have es-caped from the appalling shadow of Christianity; I feel so al-ready, and have done for a long time; it is already liberation! It will probably take some more long centuries for people of a cer-tain other religion ~ and we all know which one ~ to reach this point. It’s a matter of evolution; you can‘t keep people in dark-ness forever.

Perhaps we need to look at it in a completely new way. Perhaps we’ve got the semantics of it wrong, and a small adjustment would make an immense difference.

Countless people hold firmly to the idea that this or that book contains truth, and in some cases, all truth, and the only truth. But is there really truth in a book? What is a book but an as-sembly of paper and ink? Moses Maimonides, a Jewish philoso-pher of the 12th century, wrote this on the matter:

“Do not consider a thing as proof because you find it written in books, for just as a liar will deceive with his tongue, he will not be deterred from doing the same with his pen. They are utter fools who accept a thing as convincing truth simply because it is in writing.”

We cannot say there is truth in a book unless and until we have experienced and verified it ourselves. And yet, here and now, putting aside belief, however fondly held, we can see the truth about a book, about this, about that, about anything and every-thing. We can see and understand how things are. And in so seeing and understanding, the book, this thing, that thing, any-thing and everything, dissolves and disappears before our eyes, and we realize that appearances are deceptive and illusory; things are not at all what they seem to be, but quite, quite differ-ent. What is the nature, the reality, the truth about this thing that, by common consent, we call a book?

Carl Sagan, American Astrophysicist and Science Writer (1934 – 1996), wrote this:

"If you want to make an apple-pie from scratch, you must first create the universe."

This is a way of saying that everything depends upon everything else, and that there is no such thing as independence whatso-ever. This is a basis for co-operation instead of competition, and our propensity for violence and war will wither away.

And so, where is the book? Maybe we should say: Where isn’t the book? Or, what isn’t the book? To understand things as they are, however, requires insight, again and again, because insight doesn't stay with us, but comes and goes. Sometimes, we may understand very clearly, but our clear-seeing passes, and the darkness closes in again. However, if we have once seen, we never forget.

"Truth is living, not static, and the mind that would discover truth must also be living, not burdened with knowledge or experience."

~ J. Krishnamurti - Sage, 1895 - 1986 ~

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