Question of the Day:
Concerning truth there are two basic camps. One says that truth is absolute; the other says that truth is relative.
What is the truth of the matter here about truth itself? Is truth in the eye of the beholder, or does it exist independent of the beholder?
If you believe in absolute truth give an example or two.
If you believe in relative truth give an example also.
My answer on this will be quite controversial for some of you, but bear with me and I think most of us will see eye to eye in the end.
If I only talked about things we all agree on like peace and love I wouldn't be doing much to stimulate your learning would I?
First let me say that I agree with most of your comments from the context that you presented them. Basically, I am going to present another framework to you, but it will be an important framework because it will lead to a greater perception of truth in the end.
What most of your comments refer to as relative truth is not relative truth at all, but relative perception of what seems to be true. Because our perception is relative does not mean that truth is relative.
Consider this quote from "A Course in Miracles" (ACIM):
"For truth is true and nothing else is true. There is no opposite to choose instead. There is no contradiction to the truth. Choosing depends on learning. And truth cannot be learned, but only recognized. In recognition its acceptance lies, and as it is accepted it is known." (ACIM Workbook, Page 257)
Here is stated the great principle behind truth itself:
"The truth is true and nothing else is true."
Run this by your soul and see if it does not resonate.
The truth of this has been demonstrated to me not only because of soul contact but because no one in my entire life has ever been able to give me a relative truth. Relative perceptions yes, but not relative truth. There is no such thing.
Wait, says one, did not Glenys present an example of relative truth through her example of the three blind men and the elephant?
I guess it's about time I picked on Glenys a bit -- I think most of you have had your turn, but it's difficult to find anything to correct in her writings.
"One touching the leg says it's like a tree, the second one touching the side says it's like a wall, and the third touching the moving ear says it's like a fan. Each man is true in part but doesn't present the whole truth - that it's an elephant; it's more than the sum of its parts, just like truth. Relative truth doesn't endure, can change according to circumstances or new information and can fail when tested."
Actually this parable was first given by the Buddha and was his favorite. It will be expanded in a future Immortal book.
Glenys would have been correct if she would have said "relative perception doesn't endure," for there is no such thing as relative truth. All truth is absolute.
Am I saying then that the blind man's idea that the elephant's leg was like a tree is absolute truth?
Not exactly but close. Let me state the principle of absolute truth and go from there:
"At any point in time and space (the reality where we presently reside) there is a point of absolute truth that will never change. If we are to move from truth to truth and realization to realization we must recognize those points as we pass by them, else our perceptions become dull and truth seems to be relative."
So what in the world is the absolute truth that the blind man feeling the leg of the elephant sees when he thinks he is feeling something like a tree? If he could see he would realize how wrong he was.
Answer: If he could see he would not see that he was wrong. Instead he would see that he would have increased power to find more truths about the elephant and many other things. At that point in time and space when he felt the leg of the elephant it was absolute truth that his sense of touch revealed that there were similarities between the way an elephant's leg feels and the way the trunk of a tree feels. A million years in the future that point in time and space where that perception occurred will still be true.
2+2=4 is absolutely true at this point in time and space and nothing else is true. There are trillions of illusionary answers but only one right one. Nothing else but four is correct. Two plus two absolutely does not equal 22 by addition. Two two's is merely a representation of the number of two's, and is not the sum of 2+2.
I am typing on my computer at this point in time and space and there is no other truth in the universe that will contradict this, either now or a million years from now.
Some say life is an illusion or a dream and nothing is real, nothing is true. Not so. Even in dreams there are points of truth. If I dream I am being chased by a monster then at that point in time and space it was absolute truth that I was having that dream experience. That experience will still exist in time and space a million years from now.
I have more to write on this subject, but expect I have given you some food for discussion here. Feel free to disagree.
If you still believe in relative truth in any degree then you should be able to give a definite example. There are billions of examples of absolute truth, but one example of relative truth would prove me wrong.
Why do you suppose the understanding of this principle is so important?
If we are to find the truth, teach the truth and apply the truth then it is of extreme importance that we understand what the truth is and whether or not it is relative or absolute or shifts around like a moving target.
If we as a group cannot generally see together the essence of this thing called truth then all the truths that are presented become nebulous and just beautiful theory of no practical consequence.
Rick is right about the problem being largely that of semantics. It is important for communication's sake in this reality that we define our terms precisely so we can all speak the same language. This is a major step in the resolution of many disagreements.
One of the current problems I see is in the use of the term "absolute truth." Some seem to believe that this seems to apply to some great truth beyond the physical reality or maybe some one great truth centered around the One God.
I can see what you are saying but I think you are using the wrong word. I think the word you are looking for is "ultimate" as in "ultimate truth."
All truth is absolute, but only one truth could be the ultimate.
My dictionary says the word absolute means: "Not limited by restrictions or exceptions; unconditional."
Therefore 2+2=4 is an absolute truth. There are no exceptions. Every time you add 2+2 you get 4. Restrictions do not alter it, neither do conditions.
As I was typing at the computer yesterday, I told you that event would be true forever at that point in time and space. It is still absolutely true today that I was typing that article on the computer yesterday. It will always be true.
Some of you are rolling your eyes, I can sense it. Let me try and paint a picture that makes the point a little clearer.
Visualize a painting with infinite pictures. You look up, down, left and right and can see no end to the images. This infinite mural represents time and space.
Now you are curious about how the painting is created so you use some Star Trek device that magnifies it. The beautiful images become larger and larger until you can no longer recognize them and you get to the pixel level something like exists on bit map computer art work. The difference here is that the pixels are not uniform squares but each one is a different shape and image in its own right. Each of these individualized pixels is a point in time and space, a part of the Eternal Now. When in the "Eternal Now," these pixels are stationary and eternal and ever present, but when present in time and space, consciousness can only see one pixel at a time as if they are passing never to be seen again.
In time and space the pixels seem transient and have nothing to do with the great event called absolute truth, but in the "Eternal Now" no pixel is ever lost and is ever present to be retrieved by the mere power of thought.
What are some of these pixels? I just mentioned one. It was me typing at the computer last night. The pixel of that true event may seem to be gone, but it is not. It still exists in the great painting called the "Eternal Now."
Now, I can deny that I was at the computer last night. I could say I was having a wild party over at my friend Wayne's place. I could make up a million different stories, but out of the million things I could make up only one thing agrees with the pixel in the great painting in the "Eternal Now." This truth is absolutely true and nothing else is true. I was typing at the computer. This truth and all other truths and pixels are not relative to anything else. All truth stands by itself.
You can, however, stand back and see dozens, hundreds, and thousands of pixels as they naturally are gathered together and view a larger picture that brings a larger absolute truth to your consciousness. This does not mean that truth is relative. Instead you have adjusted or enlarged your perception of it and are thus able to see the bigger picture. The tiny pixels of truth are not changed because you now see the bigger truth or picture. The tiny pixels have to be seen correctly, and without illusion or deception, before the bigger picture can be viewed. If we are deceived about the pixels we will be deceived about the picture of truth they create.
Now let's take Rick's examples and analyze them. I guess if I can pick on Glenys, I can pick on Rick, I'm sure he'll take it in the right spirit. Here's what he wrote:
"Like good and evil, truth is different for each."
It may seem that way, but instead it is the perception of truth that is different.
Rick continues with:
"If you are about to begin a football game, it is only true, for one team, that heads is the good side of the coin."
If the Cowboys win the coin toss with heads then it is true for the whole universe and for all time that the cowboys had good fortune in this pixel.
"In the 60's it was absolutely true, for some, that drugs led one towards the Truth, but for others, they led to addiction and death."
These are two absolute statements of truth not relative to each other and do not contradict each other. It is also an absolute truth that some people can be killed by penicillin and another absolute truth that others can be cured with it.
Many people say I have my truth and you have yours. Can this be a true statement if one truth opposes another truth? Why are we so inclined to make this statement? If this statement is incorrect how would you rephrase it to more accurately portray what the speaker really means?
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