First off, I’d like to apologise for my absence. My internet has been down since Thursday morning and I got it back just this evening. As I mentioned in my previous post, I haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions and even if I had, posting more often would not have been one of them, but since I was hoping to write this post sooner, even if none of you knew about this intent, I’d still like to apologise, maybe to the post itself. Also, this post is sort of dedicated to Mr. Richard Bach and his wife Leslie Parrish-Bach, since their story and writings got me thinking about this topic a bit further than I usually do.
I have been thinking an awful lot about belief, truth, right and wrong, fact and fiction of late. More often than not do we humans think we have the answers to these questions, even if we’re not aware of it. Scientists often believe that what they have found is the truth, though they might – just so that no-one can question their answers – call them theories, and say that it has not been asserted. Is anything ever more than a theory? I don’t think we can say it is. Because in order to have a theory, we must use some basic guidelines, hold something for the ultimate truth, decide that something is pure fact and reality. Life would become horribly unstable if we did not have these common agreements.
But did you ever look at what you hold to be the irrefutable truth, a fact so basic and simple that a child with the most undeveloped of vocabularies could express it, and ask yourself if it in fact is? When someone says “just as the sky is blue and the grass is green”, is that the truth? Because “sky” is simply what we call the stretch of atmosphere and space for as far as our own very limited vision can reach, and not an actual physical place. And in so many cases, the sky can be black, grey, red, yellow… are any of those colours blue? And the grass is indeed not green, in fact it’s the only colour it isn’t, since it cannot absorb green, thus reflects it back and just appears to be green. And even these two explanations are just based on yet more explanations for something that science itself has found to be true.
“As sure as you and I are standing here”. How can we ever know we are? How do we know we’re not just dreaming, or hallucinating, or that we have bipolar disorder or our brains feel like going all “A Beautiful Mind” on us? It can sure feel and seem like we’re standing here, but what if we’re not? What if we, as limited creatures, simply cannot see the whole picture, or even part of the picture, as it actually is?
Science and religion are often looked at and spoken of as polar opposites. On the one hand we have fact, on the other blind faith. But to any person who truly believes in a certain scripture, deity or faith, religion is fact, and whatever tries to dispute that fact is lies, confusion, fear and evil. Many people have their children believe in Santa Claus even though they do not for a second believe in this jolly, bearded old man themselves. To them, Santa Claus is a lie, something to make Christmas more exciting because apparently it’s not exciting enough to get to spend time with your loved ones, get free stuff and eat a disgusting amount of food. To me, Santa Claus is a possibility, because since no-one can truly, actually prove that he does not exist, how do we know he doesn’t? “Oh sweetie, they’ve been all over the North Pole, there are no flying reindeer or little gnomes making Buzz Lightyears anywhere, trust me”, you might say. But how do we know he lives on the North Pole, or if he does, that he hasn’t managed to create a good enough cover-up that we can’t find him? Because if we did, he would not be able to work in peace, that’s for sure, and a lot of polar bears would have to be removed in order to fit a mail-box big enough up there.
My point is, that whenever we say something is the truth or a lie, we can never go further than to say that to me it is. To me, as I see it, according to my own personal believes, this is how the world works, this is what this person is like, this is what you should be wearing or how you should raise your child. But considering how infinitely enormous the universe is, and how often we’ve discovered we’ve been wrong about something very fundamental and basic like the general shape of the planet we’re on or if that big, bright ball in the sky is circling around us or we around it, or how often we find new species or places or historical relics or ways to cure diseases we didn’t even know were diseases hundreds of years ago, considering all of this, how can what we know ever be the truth, or even part of the truth?
In a world where technology has reached such a great importance within just the past few decades, and is now moving forward faster than an oiled penguin in a stream-lined water-slide, the answers to what we believe to be true are also changing ever fast, from one moment to the next. Who knows what we’ll believe to be the ultimate truth in ten or twenty years from now, or even a few weeks? It is my personal belief, and what I hold to be true, that we with our own perception shape our own individual truths, which can never be forced upon or applied to others. They say “before you judge someone walk a mile in their shoes”, or “let him without sin cast the first stone”. Well, the shoe-thing, I don’t think that works in the real world since a mile isn’t very long and walking it in fluffy slippers might change your ideas about foot-wear a bit but in the long run it probably won’t give you that much of an insight into the previous shoe-wearer’s life. The stone-thing, however, I happen to think is pretty smart, and kind of works to this day. Who can ever be without sin when every single person has a different definition of what is truly sinful? So no, maybe I don’t think that “the truth shall set you free”. Because I believe that the only thing that will – and boy, now we’re getting into the definition of the word “freedom” and I don’t even want to go there right now – is the realisation that truth does not exist as more than a frame of reference, a basic tool of measurement and value that we need to apply to every choice we make in order to have this world look like anything other than a Picasso-painting inside a kaleidoscope inside a Möbius-band turned inside out.