I have been thinking about this topic for a couple days now. I was trying to discern a way to have this discussion that would avoid some of the obvious pitfalls involved. The best way I have been able to come up with so far is to impose a kind of entry fee (not money). Each participant should start their first post with their definition of what "the truth" is. That way everyone has a starting point to understand what each is trying to say.

So I will start.

To me, "the truth" is that one thing that connects everything together and gives it meaning.

Everything that is, has been, or will be, exist within the truth.

What this means is all the opposites we deal with everyday, good and evil, hot and cold, even up and down, all exist within "the truth". So nothing on it's own can possibly describe "the truth" because all of them exist within "the truth" (this goes for our definitions as well).

So if one only considers good things, then ones relationship to "the truth" would be good biased. This would limit ones understanding of "the truth" to that part associated to good. Given that evil has an equal part in "the truth", then ones understanding would only be half true. Considering both good and evil would yield a fuller understanding of "the truth".

This is why I think it important for us to give our own definition of "the truth" It is only when we include all understandings of "the truth" that we can (together) gain a fuller understanding of "the truth"

My apologies for the repetition of the words "the truth". It just doesn't feel right to refer to "the truth" any other way.

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hi

i've been thinking about this notion myself recently. I think the truth is whatever an individual, or community, decides is the truth for them. (thanks Richard Rorty, who i have found a revelation). what is interesting to me is that depending on ones notion of truth, an anthropology is implied. for example, if you believe 'truth' is out there to be found, then you must explain how a human being can get in touch with it.(is it soul knowledge, are we sparks of the divine and hence in touch with it? etc) If, instead you believe 'truth' is constructed, that itself implies an anthropology, one that says no part of a human being gets in touch with 'reality as it is'. Our own, and others, underlying assumptions must be brought into light. rgds, Dewald

Dewald,

Our universe (and by extension everything in it including us) came from something. That something is our truth. Without it our universe (and again by extension everything in it), would not exist. If this is true (I say if because this is my understanding), then that same truth exist within us. Isn't this what every religion tells us?

The truth of apple sauce would include all the ingredients, amounts of those ingredients, order of mixing, and any other information needed. If I were to replace the apples with cherries, I would not get apple sauce.

We are no different. So if I decide to use cherries, it doesn't change it to apple sauce. It would only serve to mislead me, and then through me, mislead others (a false prophet).

I have often used an example of a box, sitting in the center of a table. If one were to sit in one of the seats one would see one side of the box. From that side one may be able to extrapolate what the other sides could look like, but one wouldn't "know" until one had looked at every side (perspectives).

Now if there were 6 people, all looking at different sides, then as long as each faithfully reported what their side looked like, then all six could  (through faith in each others reporting) gain a fuller understanding of that box, even though only one side was actually seen by any of them.

This is represented in the story of The Tower of Babble. The story talks of language. When all share the same language, then they all can communicate, and their power is unstoppable. So in the story God isolates them by giving them different languages to interrupt that communication.

I heard this story when I was very young, and it didn't make much sense to me, until I saw the connection of language and perspective. What we say is biased by what we see, what we see is biased by what we believe (or our understanding of ourselves). By combining all our perspectives (understanding) a common language (perspective) emerges.

Now if any two of us, together as one, can move mountains. Then imagine what all of us could do if we, reported what we see accurately, respected what everyone else said as a perspective of the truth, then (at least in this universe), we could do anything.

I completely agree there is an anthropology, and that none of us alone stands much of a chance of seeing this through our own limited understanding   I contend that is why we have unique perspectives, and why we try to communicate them (or bring them into the light)

hi David

could you explain a little what you mean by 'faithful reporting' and to 'see accurately'. How do we do that. How would we know if someone is seeing accurately or faithfully reporting? We might suggest that when we all say the same thing then that is the truth.But i am not convinced all religions are really saying the same thing - it is a very theosophical idea, which is surely just one of many. How do we overcome your point of what we see is 'biased by what we believe".

I would be happy to try my best to help clarify. My apologies, I have a hard time limiting the connections I see to things. This tends to make me a bit long winded. In my efforts to avoid dissertation length post, I sometimes (oops, faithful reporting), ok, often stretch the steps to far and generate leaps. I have to admit this does help to generate questions, and it is the questions that help me to communicate better.

Faithful reporting is another way of saying; to describe yourself, or your understanding, honestly, regardless of personal risk of criticism (a personal sacrifice) for the good of all (or the whole).

Accurately was used as a description of how we should report what we see. We can accurately describe what we see, without seeing accurately.

If, when you read it the first time, you thought I was suggesting any of us could accurately see, then something you were thinking (or possibly something you believe) influenced what you were reading (or seeing), if nothing else I believe (and accurately report) it is only through cooperation with each other that we, together, have any chance of understanding who or what we are. Until we have a fuller understanding of that, we cant hope to see accurately.

The interactions of our individual descriptions of our understanding of ourself, creates our society. Our society is sick (and possibly dieing) because our individual efforts have been mislead.

Our society guides our children's development, if we are not faithful in our reporting, those lies manifest themselves in our children's perceptions or understanding in ways we can not begin to imagine. We can not imagine them because the generations before us did not allow those connections to exist (or manifest).

Our children are shooting each other in school, screaming to us that we have something wrong, but noone is listening, noone is looking, noone understands, noone has made those connections within themselves.

thanks. i am not sure i am following you totally. you seem to be saying that one can be in an illusory state, but accurately describe that state. i.e. you dont 'see accurately', but you can describe what you 'inaccurately see'. So i may understand myself and the world in a pure materialistic manner (let us say it isnt true, but how would we know) and describe myself in those terms. Another person may understand themselves to have a soul (let us say this is true, but how would we know) and describe themselves as a body and soul. The 2 of us then meet and we describe ourselves to each other. What mechanism breaks this standoff? I do like your point about doing things for the "good of the all", and would agree on that. (the only proviso being, that everyone probably has their own ideas of what is good for all.

How do we know? We don't, we can't, we will never be aware of knowing.

If you have a whole, and you take a part of it, this part (being part of the original whole) has all the information of the whole, contains the potential of becoming one with the original whole (or returning to it), but it lacks the structure for the rest of the whole. 

If the part were say 10% of the original whole, it would lack 90% of the structure of the original whole. If that part could generate the energy and the resources needed, with the information within it, it could recreate itself, and become whole. Until it had created that last piece, and put it properly in place, it would never "know"; what the whole looked like, what it is (as a whole).

The only method likely to yield usable results, would be for it to have faith in the truth within it, and sit back and enjoy the ride.

As far as we can tell, that part has been evolving for about 14.7 billion years without the interference of a thinking brain.

So why, suddenly do we think we have to know?

Hi Dewald!

This is a similar argument I have for multiple theosophies. Sufi Masters believe in the Koran; Buddhist Masters believe in the teachings of the Buddha; Christian Masters believe in Christian Doctrines and the Trinity; etc.

All are enlightened but have fundamental differences in Belief/Truth. One must assume there is more than one Truth you may find.

hi John

I wonder on what basis multiple theosophies could be compared? or rather, brought together. is this desirable, or is it sufficient to just lay two theosophies next to each other and admire the differences. If i understand you, i think i am with you on there being more than one Truth - we might drop the idea of 'the Truth'. Does this not undercut the idea of a self consistent wisdom tradition.

Just to clarify, when you say 'all are enlightened', do you mean according to their own traditions definition of that state. Of do you mean something more universal and shared by all. I think you mean the former. does this not undercut the idea of a self consistent wisdom tradition.

By all enlightened, I mean that all have siddhis and no individual appears to have more knowledge over reality.

>>  Does this not undercut the idea of a self consistent wisdom tradition.

I believe so. There may be overlaps, by the syncretisms that have been proposed fail in the long run. Religions have pieces which cannot be overlapped/overlayed/combined. The concept of Hell is an example. They are all different and sins may differ.

thanks John, i just had a last question on this. the thread began with the idea of a box, being looked at from various perspectives. add the perspectives together, and you get the proper full description of the box. the box represents 'reality as it really really is'. (that is my take on the first post.) I think i am trying to pin you down here, sorry.(i know you did not pen the first post.) I am trying to establish if you think human beings actually 'touch' reality as it is in some way, or if our religious truths are just constructions of our own making. You mention above, 'knowledge over reality'. Which implied to me that you do think human beings can actually get knowledge of reality as it is. Which takes me back to my first point, you must have an anthropology which backs that. Your concept of a person must include some aspect which can touch reality directly, and know the real 'truth' shorn of delusions. If this is case, why could there not be a self-consistent wisdom tradition? Is reality and truth waiting there for us to find it,or do we as humans just construct different stories, in different times, for different motives and purposes? If I am putting words in your mouth,or misreading you, i apologise.

>>>>>  why could there not be a self-consistent wisdom tradition?

there can be one Truth. I just think that the experimental/experential evidence suggests we look at other options. Can there be multiple Physics? One for Electricity and Magnetism, one for Gravitation, One for Quantum Mechanics etc.  They can overlap but the rules are different for each. Each independent etc.  Unified theories are a conjecture.

>>>>>you think human beings actually 'touch' reality as it is in some way, or if our religious truths are just constructions of our own making.

Human Beings can touch reality, as they do with Physics and siddhis. I am not sure they all stem from the same source.

I am playing somewhat of a Devil's Advocate here.

hi -could you say in what sense physics and siddhis 'touch reality' - I'd like to understand that. Dewald

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