I was asking ‘Why?”
the magic word that unravels the universe, and I came across a problem. How could I get a
true answer? Rather, how could I know any answer I got was the truth or not? How could I know if it corresponded
to- the facts; to reality. How could I even know if what I already thought was the truth, was true?
What if I had made a mistake? What if somewhere in my education, I had made a mistake, learned something
that was false, and thought it was true? And what if it affected everything I had learned since?
And even if I had
not made a mistake, that was no guarantee of truth either. After all, everything I learned was based on
what I had learned before. Everything I assumed was true was based on what I had previously been taught.
What if, what I had been taught, was mistaken? (It could also have been twisted by the standardizations
needed to communicate. Which itself includes errors. But this of course must mean that
error is necessary to education, at least as it is practiced. Anyway...)
So what if what I had been taught
had contained an error?
Then everything I had learned after that error would be corrupted, twisted by that error. Even what I had been taught before
would be perceived in error, because I would see it looking back through the lens of that mistake.
perhaps the error originated with my teachers. How could I discover what it was? Perhaps
the error was from their teachers, or from their teachers, all the way back to the beginning of human knowledge.
of course there was some error. They, I, couldn’t have gotten it all right.
I had come to
question what I had been taught. . I had had many years of good and expensive education, and much self-teaching.
Everything I learned after that error would be false. Everything I learned before that error I would perceive falsely.
I didn’t know which of what I knew was true, and which was false. Which meant everything I knew was false.
Which meant I didn’t know anything. I had to throw it all out. All my wealth, for I considered
my knowledge my wealth, gone.
How could I find out what that error was?
There was no way I could
find it out because my thinking would be itself in error. It was hopeless.
No. I thought.
There had to be a way. There just had to be some- some flaw in what I had learned, and if I could
just discover it, if then I could correct it, then everything would be all right. Of course, that thought
could be in error, but what could I do?
Then, I could always pass on the question. I could always live the normal life. I could
still return to the normal life. But once I had asked the question, in sincerity, with emotional weight,
the normal life would be living a lie. Worse, I would know I was living a lie. O
sure, I could get by. I might even prosper. But I wouldn’t have a meaning that satisfied me. (And
after all, I had already left the normal life. I had already been dissatisfied with its- offer of meaning.) There
would always be a gap, between action and satisfaction. And that satisfaction would always be- incomplete.
Something would always be missing. Unless I knew the Truth, I could not be true to myself. I could not know who I truly
was. So I thought.
Now, I knew that people lived lives like that all the time, lives of incomplete
satisfaction, their hunger never sated, always seeking more. Usually unconsciously, they lived their lives with a hidden flaw,
their actions not quite in alignment with their true desires, because they literally did not know what those true desires
were. After all, I thought, you needed to know the Truth to know what your true desires were. You needed to know what the
world truly was, to know what it truly had to offer, and who you truly were, to know what you truly wanted. At
least that was what I thought.
So I was trapped. I had to find the answer.
I thought and
I thought. There had to be a way. How to tell the Truth from falsity. But
there was no way. But then I thought, but I was looking at it from the point of view that some things were either true, or
they were false. But did that have to be true? I thought about this. It was an
implicitly dualistic perspective, after all. On the one hand true, on the other false. But what if there was no such perspective?
What if things were simpler than that? What if things only appeared- different. What if seeing some
things as true and some things as false was just a result of perspective? What if reality wasn’t
that way at all? What if there was just one way, one true way, of looking at reality? What if, the reality
was, it was all true? That is, what if every statement were (somehow) true. Then what I thought of as truth
would be true. That is, if everything was true, then what I thought was true, was true. But- that had to be it! But that was
too incredible. I couldn’t believe it. But there was no alternative. If anything was
false, I couldn’t tell if it was a part of what I had learned, tainting the rest of it. Everything had to be
true. Or none of it. And I realized that was the Truth.
I was exultant.
It was all true. All Truth. Wonderful.
So I was satisfied for a brief
while. But, there came a vague feeling of dissatisfaction. There was something wrong
with that. Because- it meant, if it were all true, then the statement “Everything is false,”
must be true also. That is that everything was false, was true also. And I realized
instead, that all statements were both true and false. And I saw that if that was true, then everything
was false, and illusion. Images in my mind. All the world, illusion. I
wept. I was alone. And once again, the world was mine All the world was my illusion.
My creation. And I was God.
And the error that I had been taught, the flaw in my learning:
That only some statements were true, and that every other statement was false. That a statement
was either true or false.
It does not end there, of course. Some statements are
true or false, depending on where you stand. And that statement is true and false.
It’s rather like a mountainous landscape. The passes are truths, the mountains are truths, but
cold, uncomfortable truths, and people seldom stay long in such places. Each valley is also a truth, verdant and friendly,
accommodating and warm, attractive, to one degree or another. And in these valleys, people stay, and in each valley people
live together in a shared Truth. Only through struggle, climbing the cold high passes, does one reach
other valleys, other truths, verdant and friendly, accommodating and warm, attractive, in their own different ways, to one
degree or another. Most people are born into a valley, and never look up. Held by learning
and choice in one valley, verdant and friendly, accommodating and warm, attractive, to one degree or another. Some are born
to cold high valleys, and escape, only to allow themselves to be trapped in a warmer one. Others are cast out of the community
of their valley, perhaps only because they looked up, and saw the passes, and the mountains, and tried to tell the others
I was born
to a warmer valley, grew into another, but found them each confining, and looked up, up to the cold passes, and then the mountains.
Of course, I wasn’t actually looking. It was feelings. A feeling of confinement,
of dissatisfaction and isolation, drove me, despite the caring of those near me. Instead, I
climbed the high passes and the mountains, looked upon many valleys, many mountains, and finally saw and climbed the highest
mountain. There I found the coldest, hardest Truth. It burned, and warmed. The Truth of Truths:
Everything was True. And I was God. And alone. And of
course, I’m not.
And so you shall find, should you feel, or should you look up, from your valley, perhaps warm and verdant, the cold passes
to other valleys, the cold passes where one truth and another are true, and the mountains, where many contradictory
things are true. Of course, many contradictory things are true in the valleys, as well, but they are unconscious.
The mountains are merely the awareness of those contradictions. The shared truths of each valley are merely
the- peculiar, shared unconscious contradictions of Truth of that valley.
So should you find your valley confining, though perhaps warm
and verdant, should you leave your valley, and climb the highest, coldest, mountain of awareness: The Truth
of Truths. Everything is True. And You are God. And alone. And
of course, you’re not.
And fear not. You can always return to your valley, should
you still choose to, if you can live conscious of that valley’s particular shared unconscious contradictions.
Though you will be changed. And so will your valley, and those others
who dwell within.