What is Truth? Part I
The title of this essay has been pondered by every thinking person since the dawn of time. It has led, for example, to the idea that there is a universal truth, or one truth that is consistent throughout the universe. The idea is that once a person discovers universal truth or THE Truth, instant enlightenment is attained.
Perhaps there is one universal truth, but if so, I don't know what it is. My investigations into myself and the universe, my observation of others, and my living of life with all its attendant experiences have shown me that the search for One Truth is futile. I have found that after decades of searching, my search for truth is best experienced on a personal, practical basis.
The idea that if one discovered the One Truth, one would attain enlightenment has within it, however, a nugget, a seed which can be applied positively to life. If one achieves enlightenment, this must feel very good, I would think. So Truth then, whether universal or personal, must be something that feels good. The problem is, is there one thing, or idea, that feels good to everyone? Maybe, but identifying this would be very difficult. If you ask 10 people about an event they saw, inevitably there will be 10 different descriptions. That is because a physical being necessarily occupies a unique point in space/time. The physical experience is guaranteed to generate unique points of view on all things!
This leads me to think that each person has their own, personal, truth. I think we are on safe ground if we describe Truth as personal to each individual, since people can't seem to agree, throughout history, on one Universal Truth. So let's say that Universal Truth, if it exists, is not definable in a way that will make everyone happy. Let's also say that Truth, personal or universal, must be something that feels good to you.
I think we are on solid ground here, because I have observed that the basic reason why anyone does anything, is because it feels good to do it. Of course there are negative people who seem to concentrate on beating themselves up, in making themselves feel as miserable as possible. But if you do a little probing you will find beneath all of that, lie uninspected beliefs or ideas. Once a person is aware of these unidentified beliefs, they blow off and the person feels much better, and the irrational conduct is lessened or goes away.
I have noticed that persons who feel good act more rationally than those who do not. The criminal, the neurotic, the insane, are always unhappy people. (Unhappy can be defined in this way between apathy and antagonism on the scale of emotion/vibration). Therefore truth (and rationality) must have something to do with feeling good. There must be a direct connection between rationality and feeling. This means there is a direct connection between logic and feeling. A logician would laugh at this idea. Logic is defined as purely mental, totally divorced from feeling. But I wonder why the logician delves into logic? I think if the logician were being really truthful, he would have to admit he studies logic because it feels good to him. Ultimately, it is not logic or rationality that is the reason for living, but feeling.
How to apply this idea to everyday life?
Say you know you are going to be laid-off from your present place of employment. You have two job offers, and another choice to be self-employed. One of the job offers, at a large corporation, comes with a 50% increase in salary, but you dont like the company. The other job offer is with a small company, and the environment is attractive, but comes with a 40% cut in pay. The other opportunity is to join a group of friends who are starting their own company and want you to join. The risk is enormous because the business might fail, but the upside is also tremendous. After two weeks of intensive thought, weighing the pros and cons, you still can't make up your mind. You are in an agony of indecision. Logic will not work for you in this situation, because the future is not predictable! We have all made decisions based upon logic alone, only to see the future yield a result which was totally unpredictable.
If you apply the idea of personal truth to this situation, you choose the one that makes you feel better.
The truth is always that which makes you feel the best, regardless of the 'facts.'
This may seem, itself, to be an irrational suggestion. If all of the facts, say, point to the job with the pay increase, then that's the logical and best choice. But what if you feel your gut tightening at the idea? That crummy feeling is your internal guidance system giving you a warning.
The truth always feels better, because the truth is a connection to your true self. Sometimes we lose that connection in our daily grind, and when we do, stress, anxiety and a general sense of the lack of well-being pervades our experiences.
So we summarize our conclusions by saying: Personal Truth are those thoughts and actions which lead to a feeling of well-being.
That's pretty simple, and it can be applied on a practical basis to everyday life. Esoteric philosophy, metaphysics, advanced mathematics, abstruse logic, etc. are all roads to personal enlightenment, but are not applicable to the everyday person. But even the genius can apply this simple, powerful concept of personal truth.