Truth/Reality as a Perspective

Just some reposting of things I said on a messageboard.  Random thoughts.

What I was trying (and probably
failing) to say was that Truth is not a fact or a collection of facts.
I need to be careful here because my thought is somewhat experimental.
Sure there are true facts, but I don't think they touch (at least
directly) on the essential, eternal heart of reality.

What I
am proposing is that the heart of reality is not something you look at.
It's something you look through. This is why I said Truth is a
perspective and in that sense subjective. Because you can experience
the heart of reality (God, if you want to call it that), in your own
subjective experience when your perspective aligns with that of Truth.
And the experience seems to be an experience of experiencing (heh).
That is, when you feel God (or truth, or reality, or true aliveness),
you actually see things differently. It is the perspective that is
experienced, and that is so powerful.

Perhaps this is what is meant by putting on the mind of Christ. wink.gif

Again,
disclaimer, these thoughts are rather experimental and not to be
considered an entire philosophical system. Also note that I mention
nothing about how truth changes.

Language on its own doesn't mean anything. Words are symbols pointing
towards something that is much more real. When two people who speak
different languages meet for the first time, neither can understand the
other. Each seems completely different from the other. In fact, if you
had never been exposed to any languages other than your own, you might
think they were living in some other reality or something. All you hear
from them are a bunch of meaningless sounds that may even feel
offensive.

But then you both look at an object. Say, a tree. You
say the word "tree" and he says "mti." You start to understand each
other, because you share a common experience. The tree is not the
sounds "tuh ruh eee" it is the object in itself. Can you say anything
meaningful about the tree without using words? No. We need language to
help us describe reality and share our experiences.

So too, with
two different religions, only here there are layers upon layers of
meaning, as the experience we are pointing towards is grander and more
basic and even ineffable. Each religion is based in the shared human
experience of the divine (whatever they may call it). They are just
trying to describe it in the best way they know how. All the stories
and the mythologies and the ideas are pointing towards that essential
experience.

Is there any belief out there that is warped so much
that it is against eternal truth? Sure. But I think it's important to
note that even the worst ideas have a seed of truth in them, and that
all is not lost.

How do we know what's in line with truth? That
is a very very good question. If I answer it simply, it won't be
complex enough. If I answer it with complexity, it won't be simple
enough. It seems to me that it springs out of love. Love can be mislead
and perverted, but the love underneath it is still true. If you learn
to look for the signs, it will become easier and easier to see it.

Anytime
you are shut down, closed, fearful, worried, prideful, possessive,
etc…your love is buried deep and trapped within you. But when you are
relaxed, open, giving, humble…your heart pours out and your
perspective opens and you can welcome everything and everyone, and come
to know truth. In both cases, it's still there. Perhaps you are just
waiting for the right key, or perhaps it will take a wrecking ball to
get through to you.

Similarly, any idea that promotes fear or
pride, any idea that divides us into an in-group and an out-group, is a
love buried underneath varying degrees of worry for the self. Sometimes
it's on a very subtle level. And sometimes all it takes is a slight
shift in perspective, and what once was an oppressive idea becomes a
liberating one.

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  1. This actually seems in line with some recent philosophical literature I have been reading. It's actually a very postmodern perspective: that truth is not a property or not a matter of correspondence. And because of this–because there is no one right description of reality that we can map onto/have a correspondence with–there is the possibility of pluralism or a plurality of truths or multiple correct, yet incompatible, descriptions of the world (the truth or falsity of a description, on this view, depends on the context one is speaking in…or the perspective one is looking from). This can be applied to religion (religious pluralism) but it can also be applied to other more standard philosophical fields, like metaphysics….such that what the world consists of–what objects there are–is a matter of perspective.

  2. Factual truth is reliant upon language. Experiential truth is not. However, the only way to relay our experiential truth is through language! :)Perhaps the tree isn't actually an object in itself, but rather a system of relationships.

  3. Yes, although my hypothesis is that finding truth is about finding a certain perspective. This perspective is not characterized by a particular factual outlook on what objects there are and what the world consists of, but by the attitude with which we approach life. The more inclusive and broad our perspective, the less we try to push away or avoid certain aspects of reality (for instance, suffering, people with different opinions), the closer to truth we are.So to me, this makes an individuals search for truth not a search for something "out there" but an inward search for ways to see clearer. This, I think, allows for a freedom and a creativity and openness. We aren't afraid to experiment with and to incorporate different points of view because the whole point of life is to expand your perspective.Just something I've been contemplating.

  4. I love how I am continually attempting to unite our diverse philosophical mindsets and yet you continually shoot me down. :PI nonetheless think there is a parallel between what you are saying and what I am saying. Expanding your perspective or finding ways to looks at things (the world, your self, or whatever) from a different perspective can completely change what we discover, what we decide is important, and it also promotes a sort of dialogical charity…i.e. one can treat the various views people have with more respect because we are able to see the world through their eyes.

  5. I'm right with yeah on the idea that reality is not something to look at, but rather something we look through. I kind of skimmed by the term "perspective" during the first reading but wonder if there might be a better term to express what it is you are saying? Perspective usually implies a point of view and there can only be a point of view in terms of reality if we assume reality is something to look at, right? Even if we have an expanded perspective, it remains a perspective and so our reality is always bound by it. You wrote: Can you say anything
    meaningful about the tree without using words? No. We need language to
    help us describe reality and share our experiences. It's true that we can't say anything meaningful about a tree without using words, even to ourselves. But it isn't language that describes the reality of the tree. The reality of the tree is indescribable. Language describes our relationship to the tree based on our point of view, not reality. (Unless, of course, we are assuming we look at reality rather than through it, of course.) The tree isn't our experience of a tree, it is a system of infinite interrelationships. What you seem to be talking about is an attitude of love and openness which sort of precludes perspective. Openness is the recognition of the limitation of perspective. Am I going totally off base? I think that might be why a plurality of perspectives doesn't mesh with what it is you are saying. We don't find truth so much as we open ourselves to it by, in essence, realizing our oneness with it. The notion that we get further away or closer to truth is kind of misleading, maybe? We are all essentially swimming in it but have closed ourselves off, to varying degrees, to the experience. And so the clarity you speak of is not about trying to understanding things from a multiplicity of views but rather the recognition and total appreciation and acceptance that the other is fully other. We can't see things from their point of view because they are not us and we are not them. But if we are both open to the reality in which we exist (and experience through), then it is likely that both of us will fully recognize the limitation of our individual perspective. In that way, we know we share something that goes beyond the limitation of language. The word awareness gets overused, so maybe it's not a good substitute for perspective, but could it possibly be a better fit? Expanding our awareness includes expanding our perspective, but I think it is likewise the recognition of the limitation of perspective. Maybe it's really just one of those bizarre paradoxes – the more you expand your perspective, the more you recognize its limitations? :)I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, either. I hope I haven't completely misunderstood your point. It's an interesting thought.

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