I’ve wanted to write for a long time. I’m supposed to. I was created for this. I need it.
But I’m still scared.
I’m not sure why. I’ve already been published but it was about technical stuff, not what I’ve always loved to think and write about- Truth. This blog (and hopefully one day soon a book) is about my search for truth. I’ve always been on it. Even as a kid I’d read books about little known facts and miscellany, looking for some connections between the things that all of us know and experience, and the rare experiences of those who were bold enough to explore and seek out to find the rarer truths. The deeper truths. Nothing was off-limits, and nothing was above reproach. I I read to learn. I learned so I could ask better questions. I asked questions to ferret out the inconsistencies and imperfections in my knowledge.
Truth is a lot like a fit body. It’s not something you just find one day, nor is it something you can store up. You get it and keep it the same way- by working consistently and diligently at it. That’s what makes it more valuable than things that arrive quick and/or stay without effort. Truth itself, is true.
It’s important to differentiate Truth from mere facts. I just googled the definition of “Truth” to give me some bullet points, but I got sidetracked with this graph:
I must admit that I was a little shocked at this graph. It looks like we are using truth only half as much as we were 150 years ago. I know that this graph is only the use of the word and not necessarily the concept it describes, but it still seems telling. Today we hear people talking about my truth, your truth, fake news, alternative facts, and other similar phrases. I do understand the uses and meaning of these terms, but I worry that we’ve started to lose sight of the real thing by focusing on the outliers, our limited experience, our preconceived notions, and cognitive biases.
Here’s the thing- Truth is elusive. she’s like a valuable gem born beneath a mountain from heat and pressure. She’s the glorious work of art built over painstaking years of effort. She can run the race of time because she has been running all along- and if you’re not constantly pursuing her, you’ll not only never catch her, but you won’t even have the stamina to keep her in sight. She is the means to the goal, the goal itself, and her own reward for reaching it.
Truth is also trinitarian- she can never be found in one end of a polarity. She resists the reductionary duality of “us vs. them.” She won’t play tug-of-war with you. When you resist her in an opposite direction, she lets go of the line. You’ll either end up on your ass or running in the wrong direction if you pull against her. She will not struggle with you at opposite ends of herself. She desires that we know her fully- so she forces us into what Richard Rohr calls a “divine dance.” She circles her center core, while exploring every facet of her outer edges. And she invites you to do the same. There is no way to know her in part- we must know the whole truth to know any of it.
Lastly, truth is often imitated. Without the constant practice she requires you will never know the delicate nuance of her beauty or the steps in her dance. You’ll fall for the impostors and fakes, confusing your ego and laziness with the truth you desire because they’re close and easy. Just like that childhood dream you gave up on not because you didn’t want it anymore, but because you were tired of doing the work to get it. And therefore, you try to convince yourself that your money, your stuff, your notoriety, your relationships, or your fame are a worthy substitute. But let’s face it- you can I both know that’s a load of crap.
It’s not hard to see how the graph above happened. Truth is hard to find. Frankly there have been times I just didn’t want to continue doing the work to find her. I got complacent, and that made me complicit in my own ignorance. I got confrontational, and that made me complicit in my struggle against it. And the confusing word salad around truth today as well as our natural inclination to feed our ego over our soul, to appear right rather than pursue righteousness, and to think that joy comes from obtaining rather than pursuing make it that much more difficult.
I do it too. I’m guilty with you. But I’m getting off my ass, walking across the floor, and asking the prettiest girl at the dance to dance with me. I’m not going to be afraid of what others think. She’s been staring at me all my life- I know she’s interested in me, even though the other kids and even I myself had a hard time seeing why. She sees something in me, and I’m going to keep dancing with her until I feel like I belong here.
Dancing, with her.