Loving Oneness Now
INTRODUCTION TO TRUTH
Many times during my life, students, clients, colleagues and friends have asked me to define what Truth is, especially when I have used that word in a serious discussion. They ask, "What do you mean by Truth?" "How does anyone know what the Truth is?" "How can I be sure that what you (or others) are telling me is the Truth?" "Isn't everyone's Truth different?" "What is True for a materialist scientist or a skeptic is not the Truth for a born-again Christian or a believer in UFO's and ESP!" "How can anyone here claim to Know the Truth?"
HISTORY OF HUMAN IDEAS ABOUT "TRUTH"
Always remember that the opinions and beliefs of any human are the unique opinions of that single person (including me), and, even if he or she is affiliated with a community of similar believers, there are always small or large differences of opinion and practice within the members of that group. This applies to all individuals in all religions, political parties, scientific fields, nationalities, etc. Of course, when we mix together these areas of opinions and beliefs (religion, politics, science, etc.,) the uniqueness of each individual's beliefs is even more pronounced. For example, I know of a Ph.D. physicist who is a mass-attending Roman Catholic and sees no contradiction in it. Incidentally, many churches cite the Bible to be the "Word of God" and thus its contents are "the Truth" but, even in the U.S., the numerous Christian sects (as well as those within one sect) have different interpretations of the contents of their particular Bible. I am not saying that the Bible does not contain many truths; however I am saying the contents of the Bible are filtered through, and interpreted by, numerous human egos, each of which has its personal agenda as well as idiosyncratic emphases and interpretations. One of the major differences is whether a church primarily bases its moral teachings on a fear of the "wrath of God" or on the Love of God. Some churches embrace both and see no contradiction.
In other words the popular concept that most of the people in any group or organization have very similar views "across the board" is a fiction. All beliefs are idiosyncratic, including scientific ones. The only science there is, exists only in the minds of scientists. Current scientific theories at any time in our history are only a rough consensus of what groups of scientists believe, even within each discipline. Currently this consensus is mostly to be founded on the viewpoints of science Journal Editors (including their selected referees) who do most of the deciding about what is "legitimate science" and what is not. Mostly these selection decisions are based on a fear of derision and accusations of "pseudoscience" -- a very loaded unscientific epithet.
Even a cursory glance at the history of human knowledge, right down to the present decade, illustrates that human beliefs, principles, doctrines and constitutions are open to continuously changing interpretations and modifications. All of us within our lifetimes modify our beliefs over time. Some of us even flip to the opposite polarity; religious people become agnostics, while atheists suddenly remember God.
My point in the above discussion, is that because all human belief systems are idiosyncratic, and that none of us, including scientists, philosophers, politicians or religious people (or myself) can claim to possess the Truth. Even the United States Declaration of Independence has to resort to meaning-less phrases such as, "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." These "truths" of equality may have been self-evident to Jefferson and Adams, but they are still not self-evident to most of the world's population today -- even in the USA. Down the ages, numerous humans, from Pythagoras (a numeric geometric cosmos -- see next paragraph) to A. J. Ayer (Logical Positivism and testable hypotheses), have put forward criteria for discerning what is, and what is not true. However, all of these theories have severe limitations, most of which lie in what they arbitrarily minimize or exclude, such as consciousness-per-se, and paranormal or parapsychological happenings -- even when the latter are investigated using the criteria of strict scientific method. They also exclude observed phenomena which seem to be unrelated to mainstream theories, especially Standard Models in physics and biology.
Here is a recent footnote to Pythagoras. [It is from article on Gregory Chaitin by Marcus Chown in The New Scientist, 19 March, 2001.] Chown says: "Chaitin has shown there are an infinite number of mathematical facts but, for the most part, they are unrelated to each other and impossible to tie together with unifying theorems."
Chown continues, "The implication of this statement for our mathematics-based physical sciences is that they describe/define only one arbitrary subset among an infinite number of possible unrelated physical realities -- let alone the sciences involving mind/ consciousness."
TRUTH AS A WHOLE MULTIDIMENSIONAL JIG-SAW PUZZLE
My answer as to how any human can claim to know the Truth is always the same. On Planet Earth, in its present state of psycho-spiritual physical evolution, we can only understand Truth as (by analogy) an almost infinite multidimensional jigsaw puzzle the unique pieces of which fit together to form a vast picture or tapestry of Truth in all its many facets and many hierarchical, interlaced levels, myriad forms, intricate patterns and systems of systems--much like the Earth itself, including all the humans on it.
The previous paragraph may sound intimidating to many people, but it is no more intimidating than the 1000-piece jig-saw puzzle you eagerly spill out onto the dining room table and begin to assemble as you continue to wonder what the final picture will look like. The multi-dimensional jig-saw puzzle I am proposing comes without a box or an accompanying uncut picture, and the pieces are mostly tiny, so you have no idea what the final image will look like. Even though guessing is allowed, the experienced jig-saw puzzle assembler will harbor no preconceptions about what the final picture will look like, nor will he or she jump to premature immutable conclusions. Rather, the assembler of their own giant jig-saw will keep an open mind and be prepared to shift and change and modify any hypotheses about the final picture, even after he or she is well into the assembly process. Certainly, dogmatic ideas held about the puzzle during the beginning stages of piecing it together all too often lead to confusion, frustration and misplaced pieces.
Remember that each person usually starts working on the multidimensional jig-saw puzzle of Truth in a unique way by assembling the first few dozen pieces in an idiosyncratic sequence that almost nobody has done before. It does not much matter where you start, or which part, or parts, of the picture begin to emerge first. A physicist, a theologian, a psychologist, a plumber, a teacher and a social worker may each begin working on the puzzle somewhere within their own fields of knowledge, but these initial diverse pictures will eventually begin to become more and more indistinguishable as the unified picture of Truth emerges in each.
Another consideration when doing a jig-saw puzzle is that you do not throw away a piece of the puzzle that does not immediately fit the picture you have assembled thus far. Unfortunately, in the past, when we have "assembled" our version of our personal "true picture" of the world, we routinely reject and throw out anything that does not immediately slot into what we already believe. Thus, for example, many religious people reject certain scientific findings, while many scientists reject aspects of religion that do not seem to agree with their personal worldview (i.e., jig-saw). Also, many members of polarized political groups routinely deny that almost everything the opposition believes is of any value. Member groups of almost every discipline, from physics to theology, set up rules, regulations and criteria about what is admissible as valid pieces of the puzzle in their field of enquiry, and not infrequently there are arguments about admissibility even within those groups. For example, most materialist scientists have a rule that excludes anything non-physical from admission to their science; all psychological phenomena are only electro-chemical processes in the brain, endocrine system and central nervous system.
Therefore, when assembling your Universal jig-saw puzzle of Truth, never throw away any piece of the puzzle, but rather, put it to one side for future consideration. Remember that everything has to fit into the puzzle somewhere even if it is in the psychological categories of illusion, denial or falsehood -- all of which have to be explained and accounted for in the Whole Scheme of Everything -- the Ultimate Picture of Truth.
There is one prerequisite for those who decide to assemble the whole multidimensional jigsaw puzzle of Truth. He or she needs to be able to understand many areas of human knowledge at a fairly deep level. This does not mean that the person involved has to become an erudite professional expert in all the numerous areas of knowledge, but he or she does have to truly understand the deep implications of the specific conclusions reached by those who are experts in a specific field of study and how they reached them, but these statements I have just made do not necessarily apply to the "world-views" of those experts. It is also a good idea to read and evaluate the work of those experts who offer alternative explanations and theories (especially for anomalous phenomena and research) in addition to the views promulgated by the "standard model" conformists in any given field of study. Remember that Science has made radical shifts in its fundamental theories several times, and more shifts are on the horizon as more anomalies and inconsistencies arise. Many scientists are now calling for a new Einstein. Also, the investigative methods and equipment of science (as well as in other areas of study) are constantly evolving, which means that no findings are permanently sacrosanct. We always think the next piece of invented scientific equipment will settle the outstanding anomalous questions, but usually it only moves the puzzling questions up a level, and often many more puzzles are opened up. I am not saying that research of this nature should not be carried out -- on the contrary I am all for it, because, inexorably, this evolving, expanding scientific approach to Truth is revealing more and more pieces of the multidimensional jig-saw puzzle of Truth which must be fitted into the Whole.
Do not automatically reject any knowledge that may come your way from any Source or source, and if that piece of knowledge fits somewhere, then leave it in place, unless, later on, it needs to be moved to a "better picture fit." Open-mindedness combined with insightful integration and extensive knowledge are essential to this process of "getting it all together." In terms of Knowledge, do we not call our ultimate goal the Unified Field Theory, or the Theory of Everything? Unified means ALL, and Everything means ALL THAT IS.
THINK ON THIS:
"You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created." Albert Einstein (and numerous others)
Loving Oneness Now -- Copyright © 2007 Alexander Bannatyne, PhD