Not This, Not That ~ WHAT IS TRUTH?
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
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.
is living, not static, and the mind that would discover
truth must also be living, not burdened with knowledge
~ J. Krishnamurti
- Sage, 1895 - 1986 ~