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The Illusion of Truth



“Neatly packaging everything gives us the illusion that we actually know something” –Steve Hagen, Buddhism Plain & Simple


I am an inputer. I am. I even have the stregnthsfinder test results to prove it. I love information. And as a researcher I get to roll in it all day. Clothe myself in it really, like a warm blankey of knowledge. Funny thing about medical research (what I do), if you really look for it, you can find contradictory evidence to anything. Sure, some science is stronger than others. More evidence-based. More solid in methodology. But each study has its limitations. Even the ones carefully done.


Similarly we often tell ourselves that if we just know enough we will find security, ease and comfort. We get caught up in what we know to be true, because it provides a level of control in our environment. And there is comfort in the known. The familiar. But, as Hagen reminds us, do we actually know anything? There is the truth of this moment, but, as with science, this truth becomes fluid when we look at bigger circumstances. Just like science knew the world was flat at one point, we grow with the knowledge we acquire. And change according to our perception-painted on the canvas of our experiences.


But what would happen if we let go of the expectations we project from our knowledge and just experienced life? If we stopped analyzing the data. And simply processed the beauty. Knowledge is, more often than not, transient and dependent upon the disproven theories of those who have gone before us. In fact, a false premise is not defined as truth-but as “a function of its internal consistency, not the truth value of its premises”. Perhaps the internal intention of truth and consistency of a positive belief is the best we can ask for, given the myriad of external variables we can’t control. Even more so given the nature of life’s uncertainties.


My take: Be cautious letting knowledge cloud your search for truth . And the truest truth can only be found in adoration of the moment you are with. Seek the knowledge, but don’t let it supersede your judgement. Live your truth, but recognize there are other perspectives that can offer you something. Trust yourself, but realize that your truth is not the only truth available. Or even the one most cozily comfortable for that matter.


Most of all, be kind to yourself while you are learning. Because no one truly knows everything. And even if they did, their truth would likely change with the next moment of discovery. Be open. Welcome the fluidity of truth. And take comfort that we are all seekers, learning right along with you.

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