The Idea of a Common Source of Truth

Hi all,

my thesis is that there is a truth which is common to us all because it is “simply true” and that the sages and prophets, saviours and holy persons, if they are at all authentic and effective, have all tapped in to and interpreted in the cultural and historical framework of their day.

I also believe that this source of truth is where we must return, by whatever method we have found to be helpful, in order to bring mankind out of the steady run towards destruction. If there is a future for mankind, then this is what we have to do.

Any thoughts

Shalom

It seems to me like there are always two conflicting ways of approaching truth. One way is to casually overlook differences for the sake of a general sense of friendliness (the truth of inclusion). This is important because we tend to make too much of differences - we get caught up in particulars, but fortunately we have the ability to just go ahead and bypass that mess, when that is required. The other way is to unashamedly explore and even accentuate differences in order to be truthful (the truth of exclusion), so that we don’t become all mashed potatoes. In some sense, truth and friendliness must be at odds with each other. Yet how could truth be limited to a particular limited viewpoint? On the other hand, how can we be consistently friendly if we are just suppressing our instinct towards distinguishing truth from falsity? Our intellect and our intuition often find themselves contending with each other - the intuition naturally strives towards union, knowing that is “more true”, while the intellect strives towards differentiation, knowing that is “more true”. I think that exploring this dynamic does lead somewhere.

I like the general attitude expressed in the OP, yet I think there might be some sort of one-sidedness there as well. Is truth limited to the religious traditions? Do modern materialists have anything to contribute? Angry atheists? Deconstructivists? Where is this ‘source’ of truth? A tree also receives nourishment from the all-pervasive air - not just through its roots.

Hi Ingenium,

It is interesting how people react to people who are intuitive in their dealing with the world. I have a daily occupation with medical and gerontological multi-morbidity and have to rely upon the diagnosis of doctors for the treatment of my residents. However, in elderly care homes in Germany we have no employed doctors in the home, which means we have to ask them to come and do a doctor’s round. What I have observed in the last years however is that many doctors rely upon the intuition of the care-staff (once it has shown itself reliable) to save the elderly patients the pains of long-winded diagnosis procedures. After we have given a summary of the symptoms, we are often asked, “What do you think?”

Being a friend of one of these practitioners I asked him why he and his colleagues turn to us and whether it was just a case of making easy cash. He answered that our experience on a day to day basis has made our intuition reliable. The number of false diagnoses on the basis of what we believe and the risk to his patients is minimal in comparison to the benefit of a quick treatment of ailments and avoiding the diagnostic procedures. Another doctor (a surgeon) told me that intuition is also his best advisor in the treatment of wounds, once one knows of the various treatment methods. He saw himself as an informant to us and encouraged us to order the medicines needed for decubital ulcers and other wounds which he then occasionally looked at to check progress.

What I am getting at is that intuition is a matter of experience, not emotion. Once a certain amount of information has flowed, there is no need to mistrust intuition. It isn’t just a guess but an opinion based on experience. If this is true in this case, why should it not be true elsewhere?

I don’t think that “possessing” anything will help us, but that we need to learn to possess nothing and be. It is precisely the idea of supposedly “possessing” truth that leads people down the garden path. The spirit of truth is not something I can “possess” but something which I can observe, follow, imitate, comply with or however you want to describe it. It is something that requires an aware state or else it seems to be ephemeral. The “God” of Moses, like the “God” of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is just like that. This God has no name, instead it is called “I am which I will be” - “Being” is the key word and an indication that, despite however it has become, Judaism began as a non-religion and early Christianity picked up that thread (I will forego further evidence of this unless you are interested).

That is why I feel obligated, especially in a climate of religious extremism, to point out that many believers are moving in exactly the opposite direction to the venerables of their religion and it is having precisely the opposite effect to what biblical prophecy proclaimed – which is no wonder. Incidently, the criticism of rising Islam in the seventh century was also that Judaism and Christianity had betrayed the “God” of Abraham – even if we know today that there are Moslem voices who say the same of the practise of Islam today.

I was also told in Sri Lanka that Buddhism, until a short while ago, had various paths on which the Laity or Monks accordingly walked and that sometimes the goal of happiness was preferred to enlightenment. The practise of Buddhism in the far east varies to this day and the boom of the last century doesn’t say much about the quality.

OK, but if you say someone is “deluded”, is it better than to say they are “lacking”? My terminology was intended to be a reserved statement, meaning wanting or inadequate. Deluded sounds to me like deceived – by whom, if not themselves? Self-deception seems widespread in our day.

We are here! I wouldn’t expect anyone to do what I have done, but I would expect people to want to overcome prejudice and enter into dialogue – which is what I have attempted to do. I may also not be the predestined person for such a dialogue but I have been looking for people with whom this dialogue could take place. I agree that the use of the word “wrong” may have been premature.

I understand tolerance as a figurative word describing the willingness to carry someone even if he is of a different opinion. As long as I am fair, objective and permissive towards those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from my own I believe I am on the right path. I may warn of the dangers of contemporary Fundamentalism of various colours, but only because I intuitively see great harm dawning and threatening our children. I have not called people to opposition but to awareness – like many others have done.

As a child of my age, I doubt very much whether any of the venerables would be happy with my practise. I listen and try to learn in my own imperfect way, try to find alternative possibilities and I challenge people to discuss with me (mainly because that seems to be most effective). I try to live a faith in “non-religion” rather than atheism because I believe that it has more chances of bearing some kind of fruit. I also live within a church community in which I try to offer my assistance in whatever way I feel able and is needed and choose to use actions rather than words to illustrate my point. If my command of English isn’t up to standard it is because my daily language since 1977 has been German – perhaps it has been the reason for a lack of clarity.

Shalom

I definitely agree with the common source part, but what do you mean by truth, or simply true? The simple things are often the most difficult…you may laugh when I say “simple harmonic motion” if you’ve studied it.

Your idea that, “If we do not return to this simple truth, we will destroy ourselves,” makes me think that the truth you’re talking about is self-preservation, or at least dependent on it. That has great implications on who developed it and why (smart, amibitious leaders or learned sages?), and also relies on life itself as the definition of what is true and why.

It’s either that, or that self-preservation is a by-product of the truth, and then you have to explain why that is.

we will eventually destroy ourselves…

the Walton’s will survive tho… (the have an underground bunker capable of supporting them for 80 years)

unless we absolutely destroy nature we will simply return to the bush…

back to savagery…

it sucks that we wernt born in a time where killing your neighbor for stealing your ox was accepted practice…

plants need light for photosynthesis

Hi Anon,

I agree and would say that this is the best way. However, instead of “overlooking” which could be called pretence, I would suggest that we agree to disagree or simply accept the differences as not being substantially relevant but rather expression of the variety which life in general shows is possible.

I think too that differentiation and debate does help us approach that common source, helps show up dead-ends and spurns us on. We must also differentiate the way we differ. If the mode of differentiation is to “unashamedly explore and even accentuate differences” then were are stuck in duality and my-truth – your-truth. If we enter on an expedition and want to find a certain location, it may be good to send out several groups, but it would be contra-productive if these groups were first of all concerned with slandering or even destroying the others.

I think that the only exception must be persons or groups which seek the destruction of others. The person who influenced me first of all was a Marxist, the second an elderly Pastor, then the list went through all sorts of influences which are marked by the variety of sources. I apologise if I over emphasised religion since, as I wrote above, I believe that truth seekers are involved in “non-religion” in the contemporary sense, even if it is religion (rebind in the sense of a book that has been rebound or a ligament which has been rejoined to a bone).

Shalom

I would have disagreed with this, but you wisely contradict yourself in the same post:

There is no truth common to everyone. But if there were, it should be the same as that shared by the Jewry.

Huh?

I believe there is one whole universal Truth, which has many parts, all of which are not universal. Truth is God.

My post was designed for people with a little knowledge of the Self. If it didn’t make sense to you, hopefully one day it will- but it won’t be because I explained it to you.

The truth changes from time to time, but there are some things that are eternally true. If God told you the truth, you’d still be in doubt as to whether or not it really was the truth. Be aware that the truth is abundantly shocking.