Wednesday, January 1, 2014

That Bright, Shining Temple Of Truth

One of the reasons I ended my last blog (which as most of you know was dedicated to examining the intricacies of the various worldviews) is because I came to the conclusion that I was running a fool's errand - both for myself and my readers. While it may be fun, even intellectually stimulating, to "grope the elephant" before us in our present state of darkness and ignorance and then compare notes with one another, in the long run not much is accomplished other than momentary diversion from the elephant itself.
When all is said and done we must still live our lives one day at a time, and that with the sum total of wisdom we have accumulated up to that point of the journey.
As a book lover from way back I have spent more than my fair share time digging around the dusty shelves of used bookstores. Old textbooks are always fun to peruse, and mainly for this reason: knowledge increases at such a rate that it is humorous to note the air of certainty with which (now) old ideas are presented as truth. And now we know that some of the old "truths" were just wrong and perhaps the majority of them we now seen as having only been partial truths. The big picture keeps getting clearer and textbooks become obsolete rather quickly.
And so it goes.
Therefore I'm abandoning my search for THE TRUTH. I guess I will just learn to walk according to all the light I see. I recognize I may see it differently than you and vice versa, but that's the beauty of diversity. Any worldview we espouse only makes sense when certain perimeters are first rigidly assumed.
Besides, I've come to believe that compassion is better than knowledge (not that I'm antagonistic towards knowledge - just the arrogance of those who mistake opinion for fact and then call it knowledge). I'm thinking that a kindhearted fool is better than a cold-hearted genius. I can't help noticing that the majority of people I know and come in contact with are well between the poles of FOOL and GENIUS.
It seems to me that great harm comes about if we mistake the search of truth as an end in itself rather than a means to an end. Gee, we've made so many advances in the field of medicine, but much of it avails little because human greed puts the good that can come from those advances out of the financial reach of so many people. And I'm also of the persuasion that some of our knowledge is being manipulated by pharmaceutical companies in an effort more to fatten purses than help humankind. But that's another story....
We bemoan the fact that scientific knowledge is abysmal overall here in the good old US of A. Some rationalists, I see, are outraged that so many Americans still doubt the science of human evolution over the religious notion of divine creation.
It truly is a sad thing not to keep abreast of the current state of scientific knowledge. But not nearly so sad a thing as that we as a people have become so selfish overall that the human family seems hopelessly divided.
Conceding for the sake of argument that coming into possession of THE TRUTH is actually possible, I ask if it is a thing to be more greatly desired than the cultivation of an altruistic spirit?
For me that answer is a resounding "No!" That's the approach to life I feel most comfortable adopting. My circle is broad and includes everyone who has a kind heart, regardless of how simple or sophisticated they may be.
Knowledge is good, but the state of it constantly changes and increases over time. Kindness is ever the same and, unlike the current state of knowledge, never goes out of style.
I think that bright, shining Temple of Truth standing someplace on a high hill is itself a myth. Not necessarily a bad one, but certainly one that needs to be kept in proper perspective.   


  1. While we will never grasp the Truth with a capital T, we can find nuggets of smaller truths and create meaning as we go through life.

    Happy New Year, Doug. Here's to new epiphanies in 2014.

    1. Thank you, Ahab, and a very happy New Year to you.

  2. Replies
    1. Yes, our time on this globe truly is short.

  3. I agree!! "Imagine..." Happy New Year my brother!