As an admitted relentless truth seeker I have thought about this quote for quite some time.
Other than the truth I have actually found pretty much anything else in life unobtainable.
I just said that.
Mostly because I think everything else is kind of irrelevant if you can not only find truth … but accept it … and accept the responsibility that comes along with it.
I hesitated to use this quote for quite awhile mostly because I wasn’t sure I had found the right words to say what I wanted to say.
I know that I don’t believe we are in ‘times of universal deceit.’
How about we are in a times where selective or partial truth is universal.
I imagine that may mean we are in a times of unclear truth.
We are in a times where truth is being debated in some fairly absurd ways.
And we are absolutely enduring times where truth has never been needed more so.
I worry about truth.
I worry that we are losing what truth is … and what it stands for.
And I worry about people who stand for truth … because I sense it is becoming more and more difficult to be not only a truth believer … but a truth teller.
And then I found something written by an archbishop in 1994 about truth.
And it helped me … a lot.
Those who boast of their open-mindedness are invariably those who love to search for truth but not to find it; they love the chase but not the capture; they admire the footprints of truth, but not catching up with it. They go through life talking about “widening the horizons of truth” without ever seeing the sun. Truth brings with it grave responsibilities; that is why so many keep their hands open to welcome it but never close them to grasp it.
The real thinker who is willing to embrace a truth at all costs generally has a double price to pay—first, isolation from popular opinion. Second, those who discover a truth must stand naked before the uplifted stroke of its duties or else take up the cross that it imposes.
Those two effects of embracing truth make many people fearful. In their cowardice, they keep their minds “open” so they will never have to close on anything that would entail responsibility, duty, moral correction or altered behavior.
The “open mind” does not want truth for truth implies obligation, which predicates responsibility, and responsibility is the only thing the “open mind” is most eager to avoid. Avoiding responsibility only results in the abdication of one’s free will to another, whether it be to an ideology or to a director. The only real solution is for those with “open minds” to grasp truth, even though it does involve a change in behavior, for ultimately it is only truth that can make them free. – Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
That was pretty spectacular.
“Love the chase but not the capture.”
Open minds never have to close on anything that would entail responsibility.
Lastly … truth does involve change of behavior.
That is good stuff.
Truth involves not only a change in mind, in attitude, but also the outcome of truth … a change in behavior. And following that logic … behavior involves responsibility … responsibility for actions and words. Responsibility for the truth you may hold so dear.
And in doing so … and in thinking about that … that really does seem like a revolutionary act these days.
Days and times in which everything is debated and counter-debated with obscure inconsequential facts <yes … some facts are more consequential than other facts> … and times in which I am not sure we endure true deceit … but rather we endure ‘true compromise’ of truth.
And that is where I landed as I thought about this.
The fact we are actually compromising on truth.
And what a slippery slope that is.
Julian Benda suggests in Treason of the Intellectuals that all of us have a choice of principles:
- privilege and power, or
- justice and truth.
But oddly those who care about privilege and power the most seem to compromise and make multitudes of concessions to those who serve privilege and power to gain what they desire.
Worse <to me> … those who care about justice and truth seem doubly damned … first they find it harder and harder to accept the duties that come along with truth <as well as struggle to accept the cross it imposes>, and secondly, the more difficult it is to accept truth in society … the more truth seekers inevitably end up compromising … which means th more we inevitably diminish the capacity for justice and truth.
Truth doesn’t move and yet it moves.
Truth is in and of itself a rock. Steady and solid and with weight <gravitas>.
And yet truth evolves with time. It is not a myth but rather lives in the present … simply passing through the different faces of the past and the future.
Yesterday, today and tomorrow hold truth as certainly as the sky holds the sun.
You cannot replace real truths.
If you can … they were simply lies <ponder that little thought as you listen to talking heads in media globally spouting forth what they offer under the guise of ‘truth’>.
You cannot be a truth seeker, truth teller … or even a truth believer … if you simply live according to the prevailing myth of the day <prettied up and called a truth>:
“I lived according to the prevailing myth. Everyone lives by myths. Prettied up they are called truths … basic truths, natural truths, self-evident truths. What I knew or thought a year ago is beside the point. The problem is today. Even if the past was a lie, what am I supposed to replace it with? Another lie? All that’s necessary is to pull the old one out and put a new one in like a circuit board? - Inspector O
Truth is a burden.
And in some ways I imagine it is a revolutionary act.
Because in fact I believe society, culture and people are starved for truth.
We don’t need a revolution … we need someone and someones to guide us back to it.
I purposefully used a religious figure’s words to discuss truth … not because I believe truth is about religion … but rather I believe truth needs more missionaries.
We don’t need martyrs or revolutionists … we need truth heroes.
Not ones who shout from a pulpit trying to obscure what others have to say … but rather the strong willing to wear the burden of truth’s cross … the responsible who accept what it takes to close on the truth rather than simply be open to compromise.
Truth is a burden.
It is a responsibility.
Is it a revolutionary act? Whew. I don’t know. I tend to believe it is just the right thing to do. and the right thing is hard. Often the hardest thing to do. It isn’t the easy path.
Therefore it is ultimately in the purview of few.
While Truth is for everyone … only a few can assume the burden of Truth’s responsibility.
Truth telling and truth responsibility … in the end … will remain in the hands of the few, the proud and the strong.