By John Smith
There are many words in the English language that are frequently used, while many of us have little or no understanding of their true meaning. One of these words is “truth”. When thinking about this concept in preparation for this article, the thought, “What is the truth about the truth” suddenly came to me, which I then decided to use as the title. Let us examine and discover what truth is really all about.
Firstly, let us look at the meaning of the word. The Collins Pocket Preference English Dictionary provides, amongst others, the following meanings - “in accordance with facts, accurate and correct”. The first meaning, “in accordance with facts” immediately raises an important question; namely how do we know if the facts are correct, or the truth for that matter. I think it is safe to state that not all facts are correct. That is the difference between truth and error. Upon further analysis though, there is another aspect to this statement that provides a clue as to what truth really is. Read the statement again and see if you notice. The clue lies in the words “accordance with”. A synonym for the word “accord” is “agreement”. In other words, truth implies agreement. Agreement with what? Before we answer that question, let us philosophise a little about the concept of truth.
As discussed in a previous article about universal laws and principles, it is important to understand that there are two kinds of realities. The first is objective reality, that which is greater than and outside of us, over which we have no control. Secondly, there is subjective reality, that which forms part of our experience and lies within our control. The same applies to truth. There is objective truth, the universal laws and principles that govern the universe (refer to the article “Universal Laws and Principles – the recipe for Life”) as well as govern life itself. Then there is subjective truth, that which applies to my personal experience of life. The universal laws and principles are immutable, whether we believe in them or not. They are either obeyed or violated with subsequent outcomes that show up as my experience of life. Objective truth is determined by these universal laws and principles. Subjective truth, or simply put, my personal truth, is determined by my knowledge, understanding and implementation of these.
I realise that this may begin to sound complicated, but it really is very simple. My personal subjective truth, that which determines my experience of life, is created by my agreement or accord (beliefs) with whatever the relevant facts may be. If I am in agreement with erroneous facts or information, that will create my subjective truth and will determine the outcome of my life experience, which will be negative and disempowering. If I am in agreement with accurate facts or information, that in turn will determine the outcome of my life experience, which will be positive and empowering. Whatever my beliefs agree with, will create my reality.
In view of this, I need to emphasise the imperative of regularly questioning our knowledge and beliefs. Many of us have through a lifetime of conditioning formulated beliefs that have disempowered and harmed us, without realising the fact that our beliefs have been the cause of the difficulties and challenges so many of us continue to struggle with. Most of us know the biblical saying, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Let us spend some time examining this principle.
The word “know” in this context is a little deceiving. The original meaning of the word is to “understand and believe”. This goes beyond merely knowing. It implies a conviction of the veracity and truth of the facts or information. Simply believing that something is true only makes it subjective truth and not necessarily objective truth. As stated earlier, all of us to some extent harbour beliefs and convictions that are based on incorrect information. These beliefs determine our attitude, behaviour and subsequently our experience of life. Once we learn to understand this principle, we will then begin to understand that much of what we experience is not caused by outside factors, but by our beliefs. The quality of these experiences will be determined by whether or not our beliefs are based on objective truth, being in agreement with or in violation of universal, immutable laws and principles.
This casts a shadow on the saying, “Knowledge is power.” Knowledge can be either empowering or disempowering, depending on whether or not it is truth. The responsibility is ours to determine the veracity about our subjective or personal truth. This in turn will determine whether or not we have a positive, empowering experience of life or not. Therefore, continue to question everything you hear and discover truth for yourself. Your life literally depends on it.