We unconsciously become our past thinking until we consciously choose new thinking.
Let me ask you a question. What good is truth, if you won’t shift your paradigms?
I found the cartoon in the image above some years ago. It was one of those things that immediately struck me as a fundamental fact about human nature or at least unenlightened, unaware human nature.
Please know that some of what I’m about to say may seem like an attack on your beliefs and ideals. It is not. It is an attack on your unwillingness seek the truth, as much as you can understand it, beyond long-held and cherished ideas.
Every single human being – including you and me – has blinders and goggles on. The blinders are those things we simply refuse to see because they challenge our paradigms and our comfort zones. The goggles are tinted to show us the world through prisms acceptable to our biases. Both leave us, if we allow them to persist, far from any semblance of objective truth.
I believe truth is the highest principle we can strive to attain. Absolute truth may very well be beyond the capability of piece parts of existence like us. That kind of truth may only be attainable by the whole of existence. In fact, there is an argument that we may be here for the very purpose of experiencing things from differing perspectives.
To be a “truth-seeker” you must commit to this idea that truth is a higher ideal than the tribal concerns of groups you may belong to. If you’re not willing to concede that point, you probably can stop reading this post right here.
Power hack: For those intrepid souls who kept reading, you might have some very logical questions.
- How can we know what truth is?
- How can we recognize lies?
- What difference does it make if I seek truth, but the rest of the world continues to bound by its unquestioned biases?
These are great questions. I’m sorry to say that I cannot answer any of them for you. What I can offer you and what will help you answer these questions for yourself, is this.
- Blinders – you must do the work of understanding what your blinders are. Remember, I’m defining your blinders as those things that prevent you from even seeing truths you don’t want to see. What are your blindspots? You may need help from others to identify these.
- Goggles – get clear on what political, religious, cultural, and educational, and class goggles you wear that color your vision of everything you see in the world. This may take some deep thought and time. Some of your biases are so baked in, they’re almost invisible to you. You must be willing to see that others may hold pieces of the truth you lack and you must be willing to adjust your point of view accordingly.
- Generalities – biases and blindspots thrive in generalities. Truth exists in the crevices of specificity. I often say that any statement you find coming out of your mouth or wafting through your mind that begins with a generality like the following is probably an area of exploration for you.
- Black people are…
- White people are…
- Fat people are…
- Christians are…
- Jews are…
- Muslims are…
- Men are…
- Women are…
- Rich people are…
- Poor people are…
- Democrats are…
- Republicans are…
- Insight and wisdom – as you begin to sharpen your thinking through work on your blindspots, biases, and generalities; you begin to see the world more clearly. You begin to see a less biased and more balanced version of truth. It still may be unfinished and unpolished, but you’re beginning to clarify the picture. This insight and wisdom also gives you the ability to better assess new and incoming information for its alignment with your clearer picture of truth.
I want to offer one final thought. As much as I love this cartoon for the point it makes, it’s wrong about one thing. Not all truths are unpleasant and not all lies are convenient.
Despite a massive human bias toward a negative view of the world, many truths are very pleasant. They even open us to a far better world than the convenient lies we may have accepted.
Conversely, many of the lies we have accepted are not convenient at all. They’re, in fact, very inconvenient and even destructive to us as human beings and to our civilization on this planet.
Is your endeavor to follow the truth wherever it leads challenging? Absolutely. Might it take years, decades, or the rest of your life? Probably. Yet, you have these wise promises to guide you.
- Three things cannot long remain hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. ~Buddha
- Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear. ~Mahatma Gandhi
- The truth is found when men are free to pursue it. ~FDR
- The truth is not for all men, but only for those who seek it. ~Ayn Rand
Have an amazing day, truthseekers!
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Note: I did not tackle the issue of objective and subjective truth in this article. I will address that in future article. For now, simply begin the process of clearing your eyes and your mind to see things without your blinders and goggles.