This is about truth, learning, unlearning … and contradictions.
First. I have always believed the moment you own a contradiction is the moment you capture an emotional and intellectual awareness.
Second. I am not sure I have always applied that thinking to Truth.
This is about letting go and holding on.
Letting go and holding on to … well … Truth.
<so I imagine this is about learning & unlearning>
And I imagine this is about the catastrophe called truth <these days>.
Because if there has ever been a time when conventional wisdom, aka ‘truth’ was challenged more … I cannot identify that time.
Truth is a contradiction <in a way>.
The dilemma always is if you explain truth … some people stop and debate <the edges of it> and some people start moving <simply accepting it as it is>.
And then if you tell people less than the whole truth? They will typically unerringly <and maddeningly> take action on the only path remaining … in the space that resides in the ‘less than.’
Truth implies some ongoing ignorance … because it is sometimes a moving target.
And understanding you have ignorance suggests you are ready to let go of something you have learned … and yet you will almost always want to hold on to your knowledge. Let me suggest one thing … Ignorance is relentless <whether you want to face it or not>.
What forces you to face the relentlessness of ignorance?
Typically it takes a catastrophe.
A catastrophe like something you have learned as unequivocal, or known as “truth”, has become equivocal, debatable and maybe even not a Truth anymore.
Now. Once facing the catastrophe … you should seek, and embrace, the contradiction.
Because owning this contradiction is powerful.
And because a real contradiction actually represents a real Truth in a way.
– truth is rarely simple.
– truth is often ambiguous.
I imagine an additional contradiction would be that … in its ambiguity … Truth is never frail.
In fact … it is the strongest, least frail, most powerful weapon of all.
But this ambiguity is difficult to accept. Me? I know better than to disbelieve what I find difficult to accept. But it is difficult.
It asks a lot for someone to think this way.
And in that thinking it has come to me that the idea of an irrevocable truth <always something I struggle with as the idea of an absolute, irrefutable truth> is perhaps not smart … well … maybe just not useful.
I do know that sometimes I worry that the idea behind most of my truths is nothing more than a story I’ve told myself so often that I can’t imagine anything but that idea … that story embedded in me <and we all like a good story don’t we?>.
The story, told and retold and retold again, embeds itself in the lore of the mind.
In the end I am simply calling my story ‘the truth.’
I think this is one of the foundational thinking platforms in Life.
It’s not unusual for my story truths despite having been told a zillion times mentally to become untrue. Sometimes it is unraveled thread by thread slowly.
Sometimes in the blink of an eye.
All it can take is for someone to say something … perfectly articulated … and the core of the truth … once unshakeable in its storied strength … becomes shaken.
The threads of the truth becomes frayed … sometimes even snipped clean … revealing thoughts <and some truth> unseen until then.
Sometimes I don’t even need anyone to watch Truth unravel.
Sometimes I read something and a small voice <of wisdom I imagine> begins weaving a new story in my mind.
I am not alone.
Smarter people than I … scientists, geologists, archeologists, physicists, astronomers … well … everyone who knows something about something … are all discovering that the world isn’t exactly as they learned when they were learning that something they are renowned for … or even imagined but a generation ago … and in some cases things they ‘knew’ even a year ago.
We are finding that the past is not written in ink but rather pencil … in fact … reality <in some ways> is the same.
It seems like everything in the world can shift shapes & colors.
It seems like in an instant a new version of some Truth in, and of, the world can arise.
It makes me wonder if there is such a thing as “the truth” … or an unequivocal Truth … if something can be unraveled or undone so quickly.
Despite the fact I have always wanted truth to be some kind of eternal reality … in the end … truth is often ambiguous.
And therefore I am forced to constantly learn … or unlearn … or I am faced with a world that no longer exists <meaning that I am doing and thinking relatively meaningless irrelevant things>.
All that I have said, and suggested, is relevant to the everyday person living in everyday life. Heck. Everyday life <parenting, friendly debate at the bar, etc.” is difficult with regard to Truth and its ambiguity.
But lets take minute and talk business.
It would behoove today’s business world to think about this … and not just think about this as a ‘whole new world’ apocalyptic burn everything and start anew idea but rather taking what is known and ‘unknow it’ <unravel it and reweave>.
The leader who stops learning … or maybe better said … the one who believes he/she is learned on how things should be done … are only then equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
This is a big thought.
And while it seems like common sense … the business world is strewn with antiquated thinking leaders.
And certainly strewn with antiquated organizational management leaders.
They may say some of the right things. and they may go through the motions <i.e., set up a digital department or send people to social media conferences or trying anything that is buzzworthy at the moment> but at the end of the day they continue doing the same things … or worse … applying all their learned antiquated thinking as judges on all the new aspects they have invested to put in place.
And then they wonder why their world and culture is dysfunctional and good people leave and … in general … productivity isn’t as good as it could be … and should be.
Or maybe they have stopped unlearning.
But they certainly do not know Truth as it exists in the moment.
Sure <once again> their lips move with the right words but what actually comes out is the same ole same ole.
I fully understand that challenging truth is difficult.
And therein lays the contradiction.
We love truth but maybe not trust truth <anymore>.
Maybe we do trust Truth but rather we get distracted by the more philosophical truths when the on the ground truths are there and available to any and all willing to learn <and unlearn>.
“The big questions became increasingly irrelevant and felt more like a distraction. I was more interested in ground truth―the stuff you need to know on location in your life in order to navigate the twists and turns of daily human existence.” – Jim Palmer, Notes From (over) The Edge
Here is the funny thing in today’s world.
And, actually, it may be the same as it ever was … but just more so now than before.
As truth becomes more identifiably ambiguous the older people <business leaders in particular> are holding on to what they know, or think they know, harder and tighter than ever before.
As truth becomes more identifiably ambiguous the younger people <especially in businesses> are letting go of old truths <some would call it unlearning> faster and smarter than ever before.
So maybe trust is being placed in a different arena now … maybe we should trust learning & unlearning more than ever.
Maybe we should embrace the restless minds and the quest for Truth.
Part of trust is in the constant challenge … challenging conventional wisdom in search of Truth.
Because in the end … Truth is good.
And restless constant unlearning is the path to Truth.
And truth can become reality once more.