Just last week, a reader wrote me personally after I made a very contentious statement on my blog “Identity: Misguiding Taglines” where I premised that “identities are just realities; they are not truth.” The reader argued why I dropped a statement like that without clarification. Apologies! My blog this week provides a more detailed answer to understanding truth and reality.
Reality and truth have become so loosely thrown around that their through meaning get lost in the shuffle. It is easy for one to fall into the trap of using them interchangeably. Although there is a piece of each that distinguishes it from one another, but in reality this exegesis could be a clear waste of time and energy. Nonetheless, I hope after reading this you will understand their relationships and hopefully use them more accurately than is ultimately demanded. By using them more accurately, situations may change and life may begin to evolve at a much more relatable and revitalized level, a level that brings everyone together.
Materialistic reductionism teaches us that there is an enduring ‘physical’ or ‘concrete’ reality that is outside ourselves. According to this philosophy, each of us is thus a transient bit of that physical reality, endowed with a ‘consciousness’ or ‘awareness’, and so, what we experience in our lives is simply the processes of the physical reality, which are based on what are quaintly called physical laws.
This takes us to the Buddhist teaching on the Nature of Reality where truth is mixed-up in reality. According to the Buddhist belief, reality has two molds of truth. It is either an absolute truth or a relative truth. Relative truth is subjective, and often interpreted as the everyday, conceptual experiences we have, which we inescapably translate into physical law and frame as borders of our processes. In other words, reality is based completely on our own perceptions and place in life. Our perception of reality may be roughly opposite of the truth and independent of ideas concerning it. This is the summary of reality.
Sorry if I delved into metaphysics. Now let’s talk as humans.
Truth or absolute truth, whatever is called, does not exist in relation to a particular viewpoint or aspect of consciousness. It is something fundamental. It is an unchanging sameness and similarities of experience of the world and physical reality between the perceptions of each human individual make-up. Truth is universal and seen as the same from anyone’s perspective regardless of the differences in the world between each individual’s perceptions. The connecting point set by our roughly common set of perceptions is called truth. Truth therefore is singular and its versions realities. Howbeit, James D’Arcy reasons, “your version of the truth is all that matters”. It doesn’t matter what others conceive as realities, the truth should be our own reality, lest, we faint and fall for their meanness.
Another way to look at this is the quality between ‘What Is’ and ‘What Is To Be’. ‘Reality’, far from being the true reality or absolute truth, is merely one particular aspect of relative truth or experience, albeit a particularly important one, that arises within our state of consciousness. As far as anyone can tell, fundamental consciousness, which is our very deepest aspect, forms the underlying ‘reality’ of ‘What Is To Be’, and so in that respect we can say we create our own ‘reality’ or ‘relative truth’. Sadly this also allows for the phenomenon of garbage interference which often prods most of us into the creation of illusory realities to develop a hierarchy of race, gender, age, social class and think tanks, often intrinsically subjective and vague. This distort our perception of the underlying ‘truth’ of ‘What Is’. However, this mental subjections are always far away from truth. For example, God does not see us as black, white, or coloured but as His own creation – made in His image. And neither did He give a distinction between male and female during creation (Genesis 1:26-27). He called us all (both male and female) “אדם – adam” – aHebrew word that suggests man in a general sense.
What do you do with this difference, these differences, the quality between ‘What Is’and ‘What Is To Be’? Those are in fact a difference, the very difference. ‘What is’ and ‘what is to be’. Mind you, ‘what is to be’ may however never be true, and neither could it be what God says.
Far from these functional definitions, the ultimate expression of truth is found in the bible. We believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life… (John 14:6). The bible actually is the ultimate yardstick for measuring what is truth. It is about what God says against what the world see. A practical example is whining over why you are poor or cannot make it because people or surrounding realities say so, whereas the truth is, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength (Phil 4:13). Perhaps worrying about your needs when Truth says that God will take care of all your needs according to His riches in Glory in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19). And when the physical reality condemns you as ‘weak’, always remember what Truth says: the Lord is the strength of your life and that you will display strength and take action because you know God. (Psa.27:1; Dan. 11:32).Reality is simply a rambling fact, while truth is an established fact of God. That’s how I see it.
So when next people isolate themselves from you or treat you in some certain, inferior or despicable way because of your age, gender, race, or social class, always remember to respond to these condemning realities with the Truth of what God says: There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Roman 8:1).
Again, truth is what God says about you, not what the world say. Therefore respond to difficult realities with the renewing Truth of God’s Word.
Truth heals and delivers!