Posted by: spiritthrive | April 3, 2013

Entertaining Truths

Do you generally see a difference between facts and truth? If one accepts a fact as a scientifically measurable event or phenomenon, then what is truth?

I believe that truth is the meaning we assign to facts. How the facts fit our worldview, how they measure up, support our story, interrelate. We determine truth both on an individual and a collective basis. Laws, rules and regulations are merely the codification of truths we agree on to form societies. The reason we meet, debate and vote to form common ground is because we don’t hold the same truths.

A man may hold the truth that it’s alright to take something that doesn’t belong to him, but we deem him a criminal, one who has chosen to value his truth above society’s, and we fine him or isolate him from the collective group for a period, giving the message that he should reform in his deviance from society’s truth.

But we also seem to “punish” others on a more subtle basis for not sharing some of our truths. This behavior births prejudice, religious disagreement, and, less subtly, armed conflict and war.

Why is it so important that someone share your truth on a given matter? Does another’s differing opinion threaten yours, or suggest yours may be wrong?

Why not accept the myriad interpretation of facts as a diversity of thread holding together the beautiful tapestry that is this world? Why not entertain another’s point of view as an exercise in growth, learning and love?

One of the emerging beliefs around dementia is that people whose brains have developed more neural networks are better prepared to defend against its onset. Guess what a good way to build more neural networks is? Challenging the brain with activities or ideas that are new to it. Perhaps this is nature’s cruel (or fitting) punishment for the narrow-minded: that in old age they lose their capacity to reason because it was shoved into well-worn ruts at such a young age.

Aristotle observed “it is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Are there thoughts you cannot even entertain?


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