Hello my friends, I have some questions for you. I want to ask what you think about truth and truthfulness. What is truth? All of us have our own truths. We know what we are sure of, and what we are not. Most of us know why we believe what we believe, but might not be so sure of its source and pedigree.
How do we judge the foundations for our beliefs—the knowledge and reasoning that supports certainty? Everyone thinks logically. Everyone thinks what they believe is reasonable and true.
So, can we see that our various (personal) truths are probably not all the same?
What does this tell us about the reality of truth? Does it mean there cannot possibly be one single true reality?
Tell me: What would it be like to live in a world as fragmented as our differing ideas about it are?
I suggest we think for a moment about how the reality we live in actually functions. How, for example, does the human body work so well despite its astonishing complexity? What allows all our interrelated parts to work together in unity?
How does the physical world provide precisely what we need to live, breathe and be active? Why does everything—air, water, light, gravity—all fit together so perfectly?
These are among the interrelated aspects of a reality that make life possible. They are truths we interact with daily and cannot live without.
They are interrelated functions of a single coherent whole—an indivisible and inviolable truth that tolerates no compromise with opinion.
Why do we have such difficulty accepting the logic of coherent wholeness—the single all-embracing unity that presents itself in the life we are given on this planet?
Well, it seems to me there is one very big difference between human beings and the natural order in which we live: We possess free-will. The ability to make choices allows us to actualize our thinking, to create, to be constructive and to cooperate. No other creature can do these things.
We have the conscious ability to engage with one another and with the universe.
However, this freedom also allows us the choose selfishness, to be hurtful and destructive. And to be mistaken. Anything we chose to do we could just as well choose not to do.
So, here’s another question: Why would anyone graced with the miracle of life turn away from the honor of contributing to the safety and well-being of family, community, or nation?
Is this confusion? Stubborness? Short-sightedness?
And so I ask: What are our choices when we disagree? Are anger and hostility our only options? What courses of action can lead to acceptable solutions?
To phrase the question another way: How can we respond to conflict in a way that is constructive, that listens—that avoids subverting or destroying our very own hopes and wishes?
If we believe in freedom we will need to accept diversity and differences. This is reality. And to preserve a free society we need to understand our differences and negotiate our way forward.
As you can see, cooperation is not about sameness. Constructive action is about rising above our differences to build dependable, trustworthy relationships.
Our values and principles are only effective in this way, and a civilized future depends on it.
We all know this is not easy. But the rewards are great and the alternative is terrible.
What will it take?
In my view, it will be necessary to align ourselves with fundamental order: Not the order devised by free-will and the human imagination, but the pre-existing order we are born into on this planet.
You might not be religiously inclined. Some of you might not even respect the concept of virtue. But human societies have recognized the necessity for the virtues for thousands of years.
Truthfulness, honesty, trustworthiness, patience, kindness, self-restraint…. Why are these so important?
They are important because they allow us to align ourselves with the pre-existing order—to belong in this world the way we are supposed to be, and to live safe, happy, productive lives.
And the most important is truthfulness. Because everything else depends upon it.
You may watch for the next post on or about May 2.
A note to new readers: An introduction to the coming book and several sample chapters are available in draft at the top of the homepage. To receive emailed alerts, click the Follow button.