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The Truth

January 27, 2010

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Notable News from a Year Ago, January 27, 2009: Nothing of significance, but I’m told the University of Georgia was founded on this day in 1785.

I look in the sky and I don't see the moon, I see the Truth.

In case you missed the joke, I’m a Georgia Tech graduate, so I don’t care what I’ve been told — the University of Georgia isn’t a real school.  So that stuff about being founded in 1785; it’s obviously a lie.

Here’s something else you need to know: I love to tell jokes (some clean, some snide), and I love to talk about this pliable concept known as the “Truth.”  I’m talking about it here, today, but if you stick around this joint often enough, you’re bound to get a second helping.

I could just as soon say “Consciousness” and be finished with this entry, but what use is being a writer if I can’t ramble for a thousand words or more about what consciousness means to me?

Last week, however, with my first two posts, I was negligent because I unleashed the verbal assault on beliefs without providing a preface, or rather, a context, in which to understand them.  I endeavor to solve that problem, but please keep in mind that I’m little over a week away from my 31st birthday.  The concept of Truth is by no means fixed inside my head, and I don’t think it should be.

Most of what I’m discussing today is old.  More accurately, I read some of the following in books like The Disciplined Trader, and listened to the rest on audio tapes by Dr. Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Toole, and others.  In fact, I could just as soon say “Consciousness” and be finished with this entry, but what use is being a writer if I can’t ramble for a thousand words or more about what consciousness means to me?

Another tidbit before I dive in: The information I mentioned above is startlingly easy to come by.  If you’ve watched old kung fu flicks like me, you might have the impression that long sojourns and self-denial is required to even access the knowledge of the ages, but the benefit of living in the information age is that most of what you need is only a mouse click away.  And, at worst, there’s your local library.  I encourage you to use it.

As for my wife and I, once we started pursuing the stock market (a theme that shouldn’t grow old to you either if you keep reading this) and, by proxy, personal growth, it was amazing how much material built on top of each other, how similar the messages from thousands upon thousands of resources… and how much of we had never heard before.

Not to toot my own horn, but I always knew something was amiss in the “Truth” department.  It started when I was little and my mom and dad couldn’t come to an agreement on the best way to serve the Lord, so I spent the majority of my Sundays at two different churches — two different denominations.  She was Pentecostal; he was Baptist.  Pentecostals were more vehement in their opposition to other religions than Baptist (as least in my southern experience), but I heard the same message at both churches in varying degrees: our way of serving Him was the best and only way, and everyone else needs to change their ways and step in line.

Despite what my mom and dad thought they were teaching me about religion, what they really taught me, in the end, was religious tolerance.

Do I need to tell you that it’s difficult for a child to determine who’s telling the truth when everyone’s saying the same thing and thinks — no, KNOWS — they’re right?  Do I have to tell you that it was difficult for me to have feelings of fellowship with one congregation, and pity, or even disgust, for the other?  Overwhelmingly, when a preacher started a diatribe about how everyone but the people in these four walls was going to hell, although I paid attention in the beginning, eventually I tuned out and read the bible during sermons, extracted my own beliefs.  As amazing as it sounds, despite what my mom and dad thought they were teaching me about religion, what they really taught me, in the end, was religious tolerance.

This is only one example, of course, but I’ve been keenly aware from an early age that the Truth varied among people, perceptions, and even locations.  And if you think about your own childhood, you can probably see that you knew this, too.  As a child there were certain things I would ask my mom for, and certain things reserved for my dad.  That was because they believed in two different Truths, and those Truths yielded different results.  As an industrious youth, I used this difference to my distinct advantage.

(Which is another thing about beliefs.  They can make you strong, but at the same time, they make you predictable, and weak.  But that’s a blog entry for another day.  Maybe if I can remember it, I’ll get back to this topic at another time.)

And my parents were pretty adamant that their way was the best way — the Truth — not just in religion, but in any circumstance.  For all the parents reading this who care about the well-being of their children, this makes perfect sense.  But I hated it.  Suffice it to say, I’ve known for a long time what kind of parent I would be: the kind that let their kids touch the fire to know it was hot; the kind that challenged them to come up with their own unique solutions to problems; the kind who frustrated their kids by never giving them the answer.  I want to be that kind of parent because I didn’t have that kind of freedom growing up, because I longed to make my own decisions, live my own life.

“T is for Truth. Didn’t you know that suckah?”

And so I’ve done it, basically, but what I’ve learned over the years in trying to do my own thing, is that once a “Truth” gets in that gray mausoleum between your ears, it can be a bugger to get out.  For instance, it was years before I came to grips with not attending church the way I was raised to attend church.  Oh no! some of you are thinking.  He’s an atheist! But not so fast.  I just think the Truth is a consequence of what you learn first.  If I’d attended UGA instead of being indoctrinated at Georgia Tech, then I’d believe in that 1785 founding date.  Since I didn’t… well, in the illustrious words of Mr. T (T as in Truth): I pity the fools who think they graduated from there.

Of course, the entire point of this entry is that Truth isn’t something that should stop with what someone else gave you.  That’s not truth; that’s death.  Because if it’s not growing, it’s dying.  There’s no in-between.

Furthermore, when it comes to our brains and the Truth, we have to be both diligent and cognizant; because while I believe there is a One Truth, a one certainty to which we are all beholden, I also believe that, as a human, it’s impossible to know this One, Universal Truth.  Yes, humans have the most highly-evolved biological brain on the planet, maybe in the solar system, but there are still two important limitations in that word: “bio” and “logical”.  Anything that’s bio is finite; and science, even though we would wish the opposite, isn’t going to answer to all our problems.  [2010 Note: Although, I have to say, I love my new iPhone.] The One Truth, on the other hand, is infinite.  So how can the finite understand, or claim to really know, the infinite?

You can’t know the infinite.  I can’t either.  We get glimpses, I believe, but never the complete picture.  Therefore, I want to make it clear hear and now: My position on Barack Obama last week, and indeed, everything else in this diary no matter how effervescent and convincingly stated, should be viewed from this limited perspective — because though I have moments of inspiration, I don’t know everything.

So what is this diary if not the Truth, utter and unshakeable?  It’s a finger pointing to the truth.  The truth is like the moon — it’s out there, clearly present even though it is perpetually skewed.  I can’t tell you what it is, and in some cases, I can’t tell you how to get there since I’m still trying to get there myself.  But I can point; and you can point; and one day your children and children’s children will point.

One day, we’ll get there.

Next Vista: Wednesday, February 3, 2010, “The P-P-P-Plan”

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