Let me start by saying that "truth" (especially Truth) is a word and concept I have discarded from and no longer allow into my lexicon of right and spirit. I use the word, of course, as it comes up needed here and there often enough in the English language. But as my path has unfolded and my understanding has been opened, and I have meanwhile filled many other glorious words with clarified and overflowing meaning, I have not yet found the place for the word or paradigm of Truth. There is nothing in my observation that needs to be corralled within that term that cannot be stated with the use of other more relevant idiom.
Thus, where some might characterize their life path as a search for Truth (or any variation on this theme), I find that I cannot manage such a pursuit. I have not discovered why I need to locate Truth, and I do not expect to make that discovery. The opposite, in fact. I have discovered that the search for Truth is my leading astray.
In my childhood, there was transmitted to me, and I was trained in, a paradigm that values Truth. This paradigm sought for Truth, lived by it, and applied it as an adjective or category for certain concepts and principles. I say this to let you know that I have had my swim in Truth. I'm not a novice. But as my life journey continues, it turns out that Truth is a pool I climbed out of and dried off from.
One of my observations that has led me to this state is the mutability of concepts and facts. An absolute truth (if we accept that there is such a thing) can never be conceptual or factual. Conceptual and factual propositions are what I call "google-able". We may not yet have the search engine that will allow us to plumb the heights, depths, and breadth of the multi-metaverse, but imagine if we did. What would we have to wonder about or argue about any more? Thus I rarely find myself defending any position that would be subject to that future universe-google. (When I do, it's because of the human nature to do so.) We are eventually all going to find out what the deal is--or not. So I find guessing about and arguing about and subscribing to concepts and facts as anything more than "the state of our paradigm and consciousness currently" as fruitless.
A passage in one of the letters to the Corinthians presents this (King James Version New Testament): "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." The earlier verses of this passage say that we can count on everything to fail but one thing (which is godly love). This passage also presents a knowing that is rooted not in a collection of things we know in our mind, but a knowing between humans where we are seen and known by each other and where nothing is hidden between us.
Thus, truth can never be what we once knew. Tradition can never be the vessel of truth. And today's truth is tomorrow's tradition. Truth is going to unfold in the tomorrow, a place we never will be. So in this sense, truth will never be in our hands. So why make that empty chase? What we know about, say, love and freedom today eclipses what was understood by our ancestors (collectively and not referring to the timelessly wise). And I expect what we understand today about love and freedom (for example) to be eclipsed by the coming generations. So since there is always going to be more that the universe and the practicum of humanity will serve to us, dare we insist that we have any truth right now? Isn't that insane? Truth in this sense can never be now. We can only know that we have not arrived at truth yet. As presented through the ages by the timelessly wise, truth is not what we know or are certain of. It is what we don't know, what is bewildering and humbling, and what we can't know unless we are shown--step by step walked into the mystery.
Most often when I hear Truth being wielded, it is to slice a section or category out of the universe, or at least our language and experience, and anoint it as Truth and to reject what is left as not truth. The category "relativism" is often set at tension to the category of "Truth". Truth is seen as a structure of concept devoid of point of view and uniformly applicable at all times and places and with all people.
I find this to be a failure of understanding. Is it true that the sun rises and sets within a 24 hour period? Yes. Unless you live in the far north, and then sun rise and set is on a six month rate. Which is more true or less true? How is one experience valid and one invalid? It doesn't make any sense this way, does it? When it comes to truth, it does matter where you stand. There is that favorite parable of the many blind men all placing their hands on the elephant and describing what they have in their hands. One describes the tail, another the ears, another the broad side. Each are convinced of the invalidity of the others' experience and a deep conviction of the Truth of their own experience. None of them can realize that they are all holding on to the same elephant but just standing in a different place in relationship to that elephant. Is it true to be a man? Or is it true to be a woman? Is it true to be a carrot or is it true to be a beet?
Jacob in his writings (Book of Mormon) says that "the Spirit speaketh the truth . . . it speaketh of things as they really are." Joseph Smith (Doctrine and Covenants) echoed, "And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come." Joseph Smith goes on to warn against both "more or less than this."
How are things really, then? What is? Truth encompasses and takes into account all the points of view of a given moment. Point of view is integral to truth. If we are missing a point of view from our understanding or paradigm, then we are missing a piece of the truth. Truth is living and responsive and unique, not static. Truth is to comprehend, not the relativism, but the relationship. Truth is the acknowledgement of all experience in one.
Truth can be considered as binary or paradoxical--yin and yang. (Although when I say binary, I don't want to crunch truth into only a set of two, since there are an infinite set of numbers of which truth can also make use.) Think of breathing. Is the exhale the inhale? Is the inhale the exhale? No. The inhale and the exhale are very clearly concrete conditions. And yet they make no sense without the other. Can you have an inhale without an exhale? Can you have an exhale without the inhale? They are married and one and yet still themselves. What a lovely mystery. What a lovely way that things really are. Human nature often wants to resolve the paradox, divorce the paradox and pick one side and call it Truth. That isn't Truth. That is mourning. Lehi (Book of Mormon) taught his sons, "For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things . . . wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead." Truth breathes.
Since Truth (as I once imagined it) is no longer my habitation, where, then, have I arrived?
I am alive.
I'm alive. I'm a person. You are alive. You're a person. Each of us is experiencing, and our respective experiences are threads of the whole. We have the privilege of sharing these experiences, being observers and witnesses, until we come to that beautiful place the writer described as "face to face . . . know even as also I am known."
I love sacred texts but I take care not to imagine that Truth is in them. There are wise words that may elicit truth from me. Rather than a written book, I have come to understand that people (and other life) are The Text. You cannot know all the truth unless you know all the stories: where human beings individually and together have been, where we are now, and where we are going.
But I'll die before I know everyone's story!
So it's a work of a lifetime for me to hear and understand as many stories as possible so my canvas of truth gets as much paint on it as possible and reveals what the picture is.
Meanwhile, I can only be true to what I know in this moment. I can keep telling the truth and offering honesty of who I am and what is really happening with me.
Rejoiceth in the truth. (from the first letter to the Corinthians)
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ME . . . and you