I know when you go on hiatus you’re supposed to announce it, but I didn’t quite realize it was happening until I was knee-deep in the middle of it and couldn’t muster the power to mention it here. Apologies!
If it makes you feel better, I have at least three posts half-begun sitting in my draft folder. They are all turning out long, however, so I figured I would start with something shorter (ha, ha).
- I believe in objective Truth. Even putting aside that to me Truth is also a Person Who Loves (that Truth is Love is Goodness, that these three things are inseparable), my understanding of the world includes this concept that there exists a Truth and that if we put our minds to it we can discern facts about it. Kind of like scientific laws, Truth is one of those underpinnings in the cosmos.
- Since there’s objective Truth, that means there are things that are True and things that are False. Alongside this, there are things that are Right and that are Wrong. Period.
- Since Truth is something to be studied and understood, like science, it is okay or at least understandable if we don’t have a perfect understanding of it. It’s a life-long process.
- Our misunderstandings, however, don’t change truth. I can think leaves change color because they get tired of being green and want to show off, but that’s not why it happens. (It’s very pretty and poetic though and I’m going to use that somewhere else some day. You saw it here first!)
- Obviously we, as human beings with limited understanding, occasionally (or regularly) get Truth wrong. Or, more likely, we are going to ignore the nigglings of Truth and do what we want because in our short-sightedness What We Want sounds way better than some objective standard we’d rather not think about. (Scientifically speaking, alcohol will destroy my liver, but man binge-drinking is so much fun!)
- We’re also fully capable of twisting Truth around to our own ends, or picking and choosing bits of Truth in order to create the picture we want. (Okay, so scientifically speaking alcohol will destroy my liver, BUT scientifically speaking drinking lots of water and taking aspirin in the morning will help me avoid a hangover, so I’ll keep binge-drinking and just make sure I have pain meds on my nightstand, and my liver will probably be fine because I don’t feel so hungover so probably I’m fine.)
- Again, our cherry-picking doesn’t change the whole seamless objective Truth that is still out there.
- Just because we in our lifetime may never fully grasp the beginnings and ends of Truth doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. It’s like saying “well poverty is here to stay, so we don’t need to focus on trying to solve it.” Just because we may never fully succeed doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
(The above mindset is in fact one of the things that infuriates me most, of all possible mindsets. It’s incredibly selfish, short-sighted, and ignorant. Especially if accompanied by a “well, it’s not bothering me, so it’s probably okay.” Settling for comfortable imperfection and acting like you’re in the right to be doing so is just so arrogant and obnoxious and ugh. We root against those kind of characters in movies about change; why are we comfortable being them in our daily lives?)
- As I said, even IF we’re trying (which we should be!), we are likely to be measuring up short time and time again. This is okay, so long as we don’t give up.
- Also, we’re not alone in this journey! Since it’s an objective Truth, it’s the same for everyone; that means everyone who’s searching for it is searching for the same thing, ultimately, and so we can rely on people gone before and people around us and trust that even if we don’t finish the work there will be others who follow who will. (We need to cultivate those followers too. Another post.)
- GIVEN ALL THESE THINGS, I am also annoyed when people veer too far one way or another as far as Truth is concerned. By this I mean either heading too far in the “Truth is Truth and it’s inconceivable that anyone should get it wrong” (and thus shunning or condemning people who get it wrong when, let’s face it, you are probably wrong about some things too) or into the more Kantian “sure there might be a Truth but I don’t think we can know it so who cares” (c.f. earlier infuriating things) directions.
- As to the latter point, sometimes I get impatient in secular dialogues when I feel like I am having to constantly couch my language so as to avoid appearing too objective-Truth-y, or when my interlocutor phrases everything in terms of “well, different things work for different people” or “obviously this only goes for some people, other people follow different things.” I’m not talking about in terms of culture; I’m talking in terms of moral behavior. (Which, again, Objective Truth, Right and Wrong, Transcending Individuals.) Just because everyone goes over the speed limit doesn’t mean the speed limit doesn’t exist; it just means you’re less likely to get caught for breaking it. Just because people have differing opinions about something doesn’t mean that at the end of the day there isn’t something Right or Wrong or True at the heart of it, and just because it might not mesh with what you think is right or true doesn’t mean that you are right.
- At the same time I’m not trying to deny that people have different opinions, or that they are going to do things that maybe aren’t the best. I’m not even going to deny that as we search for Truth we might occasionally rest in conclusions that aren’t quite up to snuff (the search for Truth can be wearying, after all), or that in the end there aren’t multiple ways of living out the same Truth. Truth is vast and we are merely individual. (It’s why we have to work together.)
- But again, just because Truth is vast doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to know it or that we should shy away from talking about it or pretend it doesn’t exist. The Truth is worth it; as they say, the Truth will set you see.