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 Blooming Stars

Search for Truth

            “Truth shall set you free” said Christ (Jn. 8, 32). The title of Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography is: Experiments with Truth. In his early years Gandhi equated God with truth; in his later years he equated truth with God. We are constantly reminded by the age-old saying: Satyamevajayathe (Truth alone wins). Truth can vary depending on one’s perception. We humans are more governed by our perceptions than by the reality of things outside of us. In any case our first reactions are often based on our perceptions. Quite often our reality is our perception. That is why it is very important to perceive reality as accurately as possible. While truth may be looked at from many points of view, for our purpose moral truth and emotional honesty are focused.

            Moral truth refers to congruence between what is in one’s mind and what is in oral or written expression. One expresses as accurately as possible what is on one’s mind. There is no intention to mislead or deceive. A lie results when what is on mind does not correspond to one’s speech or writing. Persons employ many ploys to evade or avoid truth. Stories like the child telling the creditor at the door ”Dad told me to tell you that he is not in the house” are too familiar to us. Persons exaggerate facts, or distort realities, or prevaricate to gain temporary advantages. Sometimes persons justify their small lies calling them white as they are not intended to do any harm to anyone. In all these instances truth is the casualty. Diplomats intentionally mislead or lie for their country. Some cynics believe that there is no truth in the world. If that is true at least that much truth is there. If that is false there is truth in the world.

            In the prevailing climate of a mercantile, consumer society where mere appearances and make-believe are more valued than harsh realities, truth is greatly at risk. It is not truth but what sells is what really matters. Here deception and matter triumph at the expense of truth and spirit. In an atmosphere of cut-throat competition and ruthless one-upmanship, principles are sacrificed at the altar of opportunism. In a society where progress is measured in terms of material gains, truth suffers. Sadly some advances in science and technology cater to a culture of decay and death rather than to vigor and life.

            In the sphere of moral truth, failures are easily detected. This is not the case with emotional honesty or truth. I would like to define emotional honesty as genuineness or authenticity. Emotional honesty will also involve probity, integrity, and transparence. The general culture in the world promotes an environment of hypocrisy, avoidance, and evasion at the enormous expense of mental health and emotional well-being. When one asks you, for instance, ‘How are you?’You say: I am fine whether you are fine or not. Therefore I am not suggesting that one needs to give a long response or explanation.

            Very often people feel that truth will not get them anywhere. As a result they may not lie outright but often will not reveal their true feelings, motives, or Intentions. Again I am not suggesting that one needs to self-disclose to everybody. We promote, perhaps unwittingly, a culture of lie and paranoia. We are more likely to distrust people than trust them. The old dictum that everybody is innocent unless proved otherwise has taken a big beating. Now it is more like everybody is a crook unless proved to be innocent. This is a bad state of affairs. The world is in a sorry plight. All this needs to change for a better, spirit-led world. After having said all this, I do not want anyone to despair. We really have no reason to be cynical or pessimistic. For this current world as it is with all its drawbacks is many times better than what it ever was with the malignant cancers of slavery, racism, casteism, colonialism, imperialism, totalitarianism, authoritarianism, ethnic-cleansing, and dictatorships of tyrants and kings or queens of the past. Some of these evils in the past were given a “spiritual” coating to look good. Divine rights of kings/queens, for instance, were justified theologically.

            The so-called religious and spiritual people in the past had no qualms of conscience related to gross injustices of slavery, untouchability, and other evils based on caste, creed, and gender. Authoritarianism in religious organizations is still justified and cloaked under the guise of divine mandate from God. Remnants of these evils are very much alive in different parts of the world and raise their ugly heads from time to time. We all have a duty and a privilege to work for a world where all are equal and well. It is very important to discern who has a right to what kind of information. So the information we give to those who have a right to it is truthful. That way we promote a culture of truth and live it. In every situation one needs to know that there is a price (emotional or financial) for what one gets or achieves. I do like to point out that the more genuine one is the happier and more satisfied one is going to be. Emotional and spiritual well-being is directly correlated to one’s genuine and truthful life.


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