In a previous article I wrote, “Some thoughts I had while walking through a University campus: the revulsion in becoming a “systemite” and the “war for humanness”” I spoke of what I called ‘inherent truth’. Here’s some thoughts I had on it:
To begin with, I’d say that ‘inherent truth’ is a truth that is “innate”, so to speak. It just “is”. In this way, it reflects what I call ‘primal awareness’ (see my article “Thoughts on ‘primal awareness’: the “is”“). This shows that ‘inherent truth’ is based in an awareness and one that is rooted deep within our self. Its no surprise, then, that, in the end, it is actually a reflection of the self and, because of this, it reflects a ‘personal truth’.
Not only that, ‘inherent truth’ exists independent of all other conceptions or mental fabrications (that is, thoughts, ideas, beliefs, etc.). The self, we must remember, is not based in conceptions and fabrications and so, accordingly, neither is ‘inherent truth’. As a result of its association with the self, one discovers ‘inherent truth’ not by learning it, or being told it, or hearing about it, or even reading it, but by discovery and experience. One of my most favorite sayings that reflects this condition is:
“Knowledge is better earned than learned.”
In other words, ‘inherent truth’ is not based in any philosophy, dogma, or belief, though it can be expressed through them. In fact, I feel that philosophy, dogma, belief, and other conceptions and mental fabrications are nothing but expressions of ‘inherent truth’. Being an expression, though, they are always “lacking” in some way. This is because an expression only represents something which means that it is not what it represents. This fact is the basic failure of all conceptions and mental fabrications (which include beliefs, philosophy, opinions, etc.). This reveals the tendency where once one focuses only on conception and mental fabrication (that is, expression) one loses “contact” with the original source. This shows a basic dilemma with ‘inherent truth’ . . .
THE “DILEMMA OF EXPRESSING ‘INHERENT TRUTH'”
One of the problems of ‘inherent truth’ is the “dilemma of expressing ‘inherent truth'”. To put it simply, once we express it we tend to lose it.
But, if one looks closer, one can see that this dilemma, really, describes a process, with a number of phases, each with unique dilemma’s. These phases are:
- Becoming aware of ‘inherent truth’. A person must be aware of ‘inherent truth’. Otherwise, there is nothing. Many people will never be aware of it.
- Once one is aware of it there is a need to “integrate” ‘inherent truth’ into ones self. This is often difficult to do and one reason why ‘inherent truth’ tends to “slip away” so easily. It also shows the close relationship between ‘inherent truth’ and the self.
- But, in order to “integrate” ‘inherent truth’ into ones self, it requires a “voice” or “means of expression”. In many ways, its this “voice” or “means of expression” that bonds or connects ‘inherent truth’ with the self. Otherwise, ‘inherent truth’ remains removed and separate from us. Without a “voice” or “means of expression” there is a tendency for ‘inherent truth’ to become ‘lost’, degraded, or “fall by the wayside”. In fact, I feel that the absence of a “voice” and “means of expression” is why ‘inherent truth’ tends to be absent nowadays. The need for a “voice” or “means of expression” spurns a need for symbols, images, stories, philosophy, knowledge, etc. as a means to give it a “voice” or “means of expression” . Oftentimes, this consists of conceptions and mental fabrications.
- Unfortunately, once ‘inherent truth’ has a “voice” or “means of expression” it tends to cause one to lose “contact” with it. In other words, we become alienated from the source. Typically, the more it involves words, concepts, and mental fabrications, the more easily you lose “contact” with it.
One can see that this dilemma is based in the integration of something into our self. In short, it is a reflection of transformation or growth. But, as with all transformation and growth, there is conflict. Because ‘inherent truth’ needs a “voice” or “expression”, and this ends up causing an alienation, it creates what can be described as the “tug-of-war of ‘inherent truth'” between expression and alienation. It causes an endless battle or inability to fully “grasp” ‘inherent truth’. No matter what you do there is always something lacking . . . “you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t”. This makes it so that ‘inherent truth’ has a quality of an endless battle or struggle as part of its natural trait. Though this tug-of-war seems to make it a losing battle, I’m inclined to say that, in actuality, it is the tug-of-war that makes ‘inherent truth’ so powerful. This is because the tug-of-war causes a strain and pull on the self, causing a transformation and growth of the self.
“Inherent truth” is a condition of what I call relevance (see my article “Thoughts on my saying: Truth is relevance“). By relevance I mean that it is ‘something’ that has a worth to a person at the moment. Notice how I note several things:
- The person.
- At the moment.
These are all significant . . .
“Worth”: taking “note” of things
In life, at any moment, there are a multitude of “things” that affect us. We must filter out most things and only “note” things that have worth to us. Otherwise, we’d be overwhelmed and get lost in all the sensations of life. Typically, what we “note” are things that “reflect us”, that is relevant to us. In this way, we could say that “truth is us”. This refers to things such as:
- What we are “designed” to do. A bird, for example, will find more worth in where each branch on a tree is located, and “note” it, whereas we wouldn’t even notice them at all . . . why would we? The location of each branch has no meaning or worth to us. This is because we were not “designed” to fly and land on tree branches. As a result, we don’t “note” them. This shows how what we are “designed” to do determines what we “note” in the world, making it relevant to us (for example, see my article “Thoughts on insect behaviour – some initial thoughts on insects conception of the world“).
- Our situation in life. Ones life situation makes a person “note” things related to it. If we are in a war zone we “note” things about ones environment and situation that are influenced by the war, things we probably would not normally note. This shows how what we “note” is based on ones situation. In other words, there’s a ‘situation bias’ caused by ones situation. As a result of this, a person will easily miss and not notice other things going on around them. Not only that, it shows that what we “note”, and finds has worth, is actually limited creating what can be called a ‘worth tube’. That is to say, worth creates a condition much like looking through a tube, where we only see some things and miss other things. In this way, the tendency where we find what has worth actually makes us more “narrow”. As a result of this, there can never be a”complete truth”. In other words, “truth”, by its nature, is limited.
- Our individual character. Our character greatly determines what we “note” and, subsequently, what has worth. The saying is true: “one mans poison is another mans treasure”. Because of this, “truth” varies from person to person. To be more precise, what is “noted” varies from person to person. Not only that, it can vary from moment to moment, creating an infinity of variations and forms. Its for this reason that there cannot, nor ever will be, a “complete truth” that everyone accepts.
As a result of these, worth, what we “note” and, therefore, what “truth” is, has a lot to do with who we are as a whole. In this way, one could say that “truth is a revelation of self“. That is to say, it reveals the self more than anything else.
“The person”: the need of self
For something to be relevant a person needs a sense of self. In fact, one could speak of “relevance is only relevance in relation to the self”. In other words, the self makes relevance what it is. Because of this, the state and condition of the self is critical in ‘inherent truth’.
The self brings “truth” upon ones person, so that it rests with us and has meaning to us. This makes it very personalized and individual. In this way, ‘inherent truth’ is not a “social truth”, though it may reflect a socially accepted truth. It is a truth that lies primarily in the person and is, therefore, reflective of that person. Because of this, ‘inherent truth’ varies with each person. Just like a fingerprint, each person has their unique form. This is another example of how ‘inherent truth’ is not an “ultimate truth”. You can’t just write a statement and say “this is truth for all which describes all”. There may be a similarity of “truth”, between people or in a society, but one will find that each person has a different “truth” when one looks at it closer.
Because of this emphasis and need of the self the “questing” for ‘inherent truth’ often brings a great growth of the self. In many ways, that is its main benefit. In addition, the emphasis on the self makes it so that ‘inherent truth’ becomes a “truth of self”. That is to say, a person cannot find ‘inherent truth’ unless they become true to themselves and who they are. Because of this, ‘inherent truth’ can be very difficult to attain and discover.
“At the moment”: the importance of time
To me, ‘inherent truth’ has strong associations with time. It does this in two ways:
- Awareness: the current moment. What we “note” is primarily reflective of the current moment and situation. As a result, worth is based in the moment. That is to say, it is primarily reflective of what is happening at the current moment. Not only that, the emphasis on awareness – the “now” – shows that it is rooted in the ‘primal awareness’ (see article referred to above). ‘Primal awareness’ is, in many ways, ones first awareness in life and, as a result, the most “pure” and “whole”. All other awareness are actually breakdowns or derivations of ‘primal awareness’. Because of this, ‘inherent truth’ is “based” in ‘primal awareness’. One could very well say: “truth is awareness” (see my articles “Thoughts on my saying: “god is awareness” – the ‘dilemma of god-awareness’“, “Thoughts on ‘practicing unspoken awareness’“, “Thoughts on ‘Seeking The Awareness’“, “Thoughts on ‘Practicing Awareness’“).
- The self: a timelessness. In ‘primal awareness’ the self, the world, time, and all things seems timeless . . . an “all”. This is because, before the self develops, the world is the self, one senses no difference: this is the “pre-self” (see my article “Thoughts on the pre-self, primal self, world self, post-self, and the greater self“). This creates a sense of everything as one, an “all”, and part of this awareness is a timelessness which is really “time as all”, there seems no time, no past, no present, no future. In fact, it even goes beyond this. The “all” sense creates a sense of everything being “one”. This, in actuality, is the origin of the sense of god. This shows that the sense of god originates from a deep awareness originating from our first awareness in life – the ‘primal awareness’ – before our self has even developed – the ‘pre-self’. The “sense of religion”, or spirituality, is nothing but sensing that first awareness.
Though these seem to be opposites (the “now” versus “timelessness”) they are actually more like flip-sides of a coin, the same but different. They complement each other and make a whole. The relation between these two is important. I’d say that much of ‘inherent truth’ has the quality of being very much rooted in the “now”, of “the current moment”, but with the “timelessness” casting its shadow upon it. There are times, though, when one senses the “timelessness” strongly and it predominates. As a result, one as if alternates between the two or has a mixture of the two.
A SPECTRUM OF RELEVANCE: WORDLESS TO WORDS
Relevance is not a single condition. That is to say, it is not just “a thing”. In actuality, it consists of something like a spectrum reflecting a range of aspects and qualities that are associated with it. This spectrum shows that there are different ways relevance appears. The spectrum goes much like this:
Awareness refers to being aware of ones self, ones world, and ones relation with the world. In short, awareness is being aware of ones situation. This awareness, as I use it, is the “act” of being aware. In other words, its without words or thought.
Symbols refers to the use of images, myths, and other representations. Typically, they are wordless though they may use words, to some extent, to describe it, such as we see in mythology.
Conceptions refer to an idea of ones self, ones world, and ones relation with the world. Conceptions can be with or without words or thought.
Mental fabrications is an elaboration of the image or “model” but using more complex mental processes, such as thought and logic. It tends to use words and thought quite heavily. This, of course, creates philosophy, science, and such.
Looking at this, we can see a pattern to the spectrum:
This more or less means that relevance ranges from wordless to containing words. This fact is very influential with ‘inherent truth’.
Most people think of “truth” only in regard to mental fabrication. In other words, “truth” is a result of thought and logic, a theory, a belief. To me, that’s only a small part of the picture. In my opinion, the power of “truth” is more to the left end of the spectrum above, beginning with awareness which is a wordless condition. This is not surprising as the wordless condition reflects the ‘primal awareness’ and ‘pre-self’ state. Because of this fact, the wordless condition is the foundation of “truth”. As a result, “truth” is a manifestation, primarily, of a wordless condition. Therefore, anyone “seeking” ‘inherent truth’ must “look beyond words”, so to speak. If one confines themselves to mental fabrications, such as logic, then one is bound by its restricted and limited nature.
Since ‘inherent truth’ begins in the wordless condition, everything else sprouts from that. Because of this, the farther you move to the right, on the spectrum above, the more it becomes a reaction to this wordless condition. As a result, one could say that there is this pattern shown in the spectrum:
This means that mental fabrications (thought, logic, etc.), being on the far right of the spectrum, is the “most reactive” place on the spectrum. Not only that, reaction is primarily like a language, interpreting the “sense” of the wordless condition. In this way, reaction is only an elaboration of the wordless condition, as if to give it more power. Because of this, wordless “truth” as if “spills over” into the word state of reaction. Its as if there is a natural movement from wordless to word form. This is the ‘wordless to word flow’. This is a natural tendency. Because of the conflict between wordless and words, the ‘tug-of-war of ‘inherent truth’ is created.
The tug-of-war becomes particularly strong with mental fabrications. This is because there is a tendency that when one follows this flow one becomes “stuck” in the word condition. That is to say, we mistake the words for the “truth”, when all they really are is a reaction to the wordless “truth”. In so doing, we lose touch, and often completely forget, the wordless “truth”. As a result, one quickly becomes “alienated” and lost in all the words, concepts, principles, and such. I speak of this as the “alienation tendency of mental fabrication”. Not only that, mental fabrication has this vacuum-like quality that as if pulls a person into it so that one focuses on mental fabrication exclusively, as if that is everything. This is a common tendency in philosophy, science, and the modern world. I speak of this as the “mental fabrication vacuum”. Typically, people in this state have to have everything in ‘word form’. In that way, their perception of “truth” becomes like a legal document that has to be “worded correctly” with every dot above each “i” and every “t” crossed. In this way, what they call “truth” is nothing but trying to word everything correctly, to their “intellectual” satisfaction. In this condition, “worth” tends to deteriorate because the importance of mental fabrication becomes the dominant motive. In other words, the shift from “worth” to an emphasis on words, concepts, and mental fabrication tends to degrade worth and, subsequently, truth. Because of this, the “mental fabrication vacuum” ends up undermining “truth”. In fact, because of this, just about every belief, philosophy, point of view, etc. will reach a point where it fails and no longer supports “truth” anymore. This is the “failed truth by mental fabrication principle”. Basically, the overemphasis on mental fabrication ends up causing the “truth” to fail. This has proven devastating, not only to individual people, but to societies, religions, and belief systems. An effect of this is that it can throw people into despair, loss, and depression. Societies, cultures, and religions, can be devastated by it, to the point that they fall and collapse (in fact, the U.S. seems to be following this pattern).
Its not uncommon that the “failed truth” becomes a dominant reality in life. In fact, one could say that a “failed truth mentality” is often reached which can become a way of life and world view. One could probably describe this as a “nihilistic attitude” or a “lack of belief” (that is, a lack of any acknowledged “truth”). Much of the mentality of the modern world is of this nature. In many cases, no one wants to “believe anything” and life becomes one of “drifting along” often ending up becoming hedonistic or self-pleasing in nature. This does seem to show a pattern, that “failed truth” leads to hedonistic attitudes. This, I think, is quite revealing.
As I said above, the self plays a dominant role in ‘inherent truth’. Because of this, the ‘primal awareness’ and pre-self are critical, as they are the beginnings of awareness. Unfortunately, as we progress to reaction, particularly to mental fabrication, we become alienated from the source (the “alienation tendency of mental fabrication”). As a result, we loose sense of this unspoken quality of life, but the need for this ‘other self’ is still felt deep down . . . we are incomplete without it. But a phenomena of the alienation tendency is that, because we have become alienated from the source, we seek other aspects of our self to as if fill the void: petty whims and wants. In other words, instead of seeking our deeper unspoken self we seek other things that move us deeply and mysteriously. Petty whims and wants has this deep and mysterious quality as well as a “power” over us. We then “mistake” these petty whims and wants with ‘primal awareness’ and the pre-self. Pursuing these we then become hedonistic, seeking their pleasure. This leads to a mistaken aspect of the self leading one, in fact, in the wrong direction. This is the “mistaken self by failed truth principle”.
The use of mental fabrications is very prevalent nowadays. In the past, though, the use of symbols was more prevalent. Today, the use of symbols is almost forgotten or neglected. Because of this, there is a tendency to go from awareness and jump right into conceptions and/or mental fabrication, completely bypassing symbols. In other words, there is a gap, now, in the spectrum. The “sense of symbols” is practically lost. In my opinion, though, the “sense of symbols” hits deeper than does conceptions and mental fabrication. In many ways, symbols are the “best of both worlds”, reflecting unspoken qualities but being partially spoken.
SEEKING ‘INHERENT TRUTH’
Because of the ‘wordless to word flow’, which leads to alienation and “failed truth”, a person must seek to reverse this flow in order to avoid the “alienation tendency of mental fabrication” and what it causes. In other words, a person must try to reverse the direction of flow and create a “flow to the wordless” mentality as part of the seeking of “inherent truth”. In fact, I would be inclined to say that the “flow to wordless” is a critical and a basic part of ‘inherent truth’. In other words, the creation of great conceptions, mental fabrications, philosophies, etc. is not the path to ‘inherent truth’. In some respects, that’s nothing but “making castles in the air” more than a seeking of ‘inherent truth’.
Because the “flow to the wordless” lacks the use of mental fabrication it entails a whole other orientation, such as:
- It requires deliberate effort. This is because it is going against the grain of the “wordless to word flow” tendency, which is a natural and automatic tendency that happens. It makes it so that we have to struggle against this natural and automatic tendency which gives ‘inherent truth’ a quality of going uphill, oftentimes.
- A patience.
- A tendency to listen to ones depths.
- A selflessness.
- A willingness to accept another aspect of ones self.
- A tendency to be inspired. I would be inclined to say that ‘inherent truth’ is based in inspiration, of allowing things to “happen”.
- A contemplative attitude.
- A sense of spirituality.
In one sense, ‘inherent truth’ is a continual discovery and, therefore, requires a continual sense of openness to this discovery. But it needs more than that. One doesn’t just “discover” and that’s it. To truly be effective ‘inherent truth’ requires a transformation, an altering of ones self. In this way, we could say that the seeking of ‘inherent truth’ entails:
- Being open to ones self.
- Transformation of ones self.
In that way, ‘inherent truth’ is nothing but allowing this process to happen. The real power of ‘inherent truth’ is in this transforming of self. Without that, ‘inherent truth’ is no different than reading a book or watching a movie: one is aware and that’s it. This transformation of self is so important that one could say that ‘inherent truth’ is really a seeking of ones self.
THE MYTH OF “ULTIMATE TRUTH” AND THE NEED FOR MYSTERY
There is a tendency to think “truth” is a reflection of the world, of a great truth, of an “ultimate truth”. This perspective is seen in things such as religion, science, and philosophy. The idea is that the “truth”, which is always a mental fabrication of some sort, is the “answer” to all, the “ultimate”. Once one knows this “ultimate truth” (that is, the mental fabrication, the words, the idea, etc.) then one “knows”. In some respects, its like saying that “because I know ‘X’ I know the ultimate” . . . but, now what? So you know ‘X’ . . . what’s next to do? In some respects, knowing the “ultimate” gets one nowhere. Its like an illusion.
The only “world” the ‘inherent truth’ reflects is our own world. In other words, ‘inherent truth’ is really ‘personal truth’. It is the truth of the person and the person-in-the-world. This, of course, is different for each person which means that there is nothing “ultimate” about it. This fact, I think, is very important in ‘inherent truth’. But, I feel that ‘inherent truth’ requires another “truth” to be “complete”. This creates “two truths” with ‘inherent truth’:
- ‘Personal truth’. This is basically ‘inherent truth’.
- The ‘other truth’. This is the knowledge, awareness, and recognition that there is another world or ‘truth’ beyond us and our ‘personal truth’. This is a truth we will never know and, therefore, remains in mystery.
In other words, part of ‘inherent truth’ is this idea that there is something more than us in the world and which is beyond us. Because of this, ‘inherent truth’ implies the awareness that it is limited in scope and that we are incapable of knowing the “ultimate”. This means that mystery, the ‘other truth’, plays a big part in ‘inherent truth’ (see my article “Thoughts on the importance of mystery in life“). In fact, this ‘not knowing’ is necessary for ‘inherent truth’. One could say that it “completes” ‘inherent truth’ and gives it its depth. This fact, then, describes this pattern:
This means that anyone seeking ‘inherent truth’ must seek to know themselves, and their ‘personal truth’, but also that one “does not know”. This creates a wonderful duality with ‘inherent truth’ and it as if makes a complete circle. In this way, ‘inherent truth’ is like saying:
“The seeking of ones self in mystery.”
Copyright by Mike Michelsen