Another week gone and even more examples of how our society is lacking any semblance of truth. More suicides in the news, the hope of humanity hanging in the balance as two of its champions negotiate a peace treaty and families are being torn apart over the necessities of a made up border. The good news is the Padres have won their 5th consecutive series for the first time since 2010 and the World Cup begins tomorrow, so we’ll have plenty to distract us. In this series of posts, I have been trying to articulate my understanding of our relationship to truth. Today’s post is about knowing that truth is rarely something easy to know, but requires a commitment to investigate.
My favorite Karl Marx quote goes like this “There is no royal road to science and only those who do not dread the fatiguing climb of its steep paths have a chance of gaining its luminous summits.” Somewhere between Marx’s words and today, science became synonymous for truth. Much of society’s aim over the last century has been to level out the steep paths to gaining this scientific truth, to democratize it through compulsory education, access to the technology especially the internet and through the utilization of the scientific method in all areas of life. Even as a Science has pushed out many of the other avenues humans have used to seek truth, it has also shown us how hollow our senses are. What we immediately perceive rarely grasps the true reality of the object. When we see and hold a rock, for example, it appears solid but microscopes have shown us rocks are mostly empty space. Our initial reactions, assumptions and judgments about a situation seldom hold up upon deeper examination.
The point is not to degrade scientific inquiry. It is a tremendous tool when used in valid areas. The point is to know, if we have the courage to seek truth, it will require the best our time, energy, creativity and skill. It is an open ended adventure. Since we cannot fully depend on our own perception, conversation with those around us, especially with those close to us, is one of our best avenues to discovering truth. Yet, conversation is becoming an endangered species. Here are three ways to increase the amount of truth seeking conversation in our lives.
- Desire conversations. If we see that truth will elude us without knowing the thoughts, feelings and perceptions of those around us, we will be more likely to start up these life giving conversations.
- Schedule conversations. Constantly try to find ways to speak with people. Search for honest conversations like it was money. Ask people if they will read books with you, or meet for a beer or go to a ball game or exchange ideas over email or schedule family meetings. The more you try, the more chance you’ll have for those essential insights.
- Unplug and rest. Simply put, our capacity for meaningful conversations, for being able to concentrate for a long time, for being in a positive state to be disagreed with involves a reservoir of emotional energy that most of do not have because we live busy lives, full of distraction and purposeful amusement. We have to create capacity to have meaningful conversations.