Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Truth


You are at some pains to tell yourself the truth whenever and however possible.  You focus on such specifics as how you feel in or about a particular situation, a person in that situation, perhaps even your role in the situation.  Did you, for instance, do a good job at a particular task?  Could your performance been better?  More nuanced?  Less?  More decisive?

Even though you are well aware of the nuances the word truth has, you nevertheless try to steer a course toward it, with some sense of obligation to keep the destination in mind.

If truth is, in ultimate terms, the abstraction you suspect it is, nevertheless you attempt to treat it as though it were some tangible, recognizable thing such as a friend you’d readily recognize in a crowd, someone you could remark to, later, “I saw you at the market,” or in the coffee shop, or somewhere.

You’d want to see the friend even if the friend did not want to be seen, was not, for the sake of fancy, willing to be seen there, thus does “truth” become complicated according to individual agenda.  Thus also, “I saw you but you did not wish to be seen.  I will accordingly be a good friend and not have seen you.”

It is nevertheless better to have a friend who does not wish to have been seen in a particular place or, say, with a particular person than not to have a friend, meaning as well your own take that even though you would be stretching or distorting the truth so far as the friend were concerned, it would be better to have the flesh-and-blood friend than the abstract truth or the distorted truth or the manipulated truth.

You could argue that a number of such moral dilemmas with this particular friend could easily put the kibosh on your friendship, but of course you can also argue the same feelings with regard to wishing to keep the truth in your life.

Without at least the abstract definition of truth in your life, you are every bit at sea as the ancient mariners who strayed beyond the convenient view of the coast.  There is no telling where you might arrive on a given journey.

You do not spend too much time thinking about the permutations and abstractions of truth, and yet, every time you do, you come away with a growing sense of how to get from one place to the next in the metaphoric navigation of life.  There are some rolled-up charts available, religions, philosophies, attitudes, and while they have some apparent relevance, their unique boundaries make you aware again and again that these are little more than mnemonics to help you adjust the instrument only you can adjust, which is your own compass.

There are satisfactions to be had from being able to rely on your inner compass, the most powerful of all, in your view the reward of being able to trust yourself when you pose to yourself that great existential question, “Now what?” and to be able to listen with some sense of trust when you hear the answer.


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