Out of so many reasons behind world’s becoming such a mess, I would highlight man’s obsession towards claiming the Truth as its thickest bottom line. On one side, religions work their ass off in vain, selling God to people who have retired from buying unfalsifiable tenets. Next to this scheme, various ethnic groups seek for a sustainable recognition under the hope to win a race that never even existed. Huntington would wrap this notion as ‘Clash of Civilizations’ while Fukuyama in ‘The End of History’ insisted that liberalism have won and there’s no need to further argue on anything.
This piece of writing, ladies and gentlemen, aims to question–not necessarily to answer–life’s most profound mystery (and simultaneously the omphalos of my life): what, or I should say who, is Truth?
When I was a child, everything seemed to be a lot easier: my parents would provide me a set of premises to embrace and accept as Truth. Eyang, a fundamentalist moslem herself, would offer me stories about how the Christians slaughtered my ‘brothers and sisters’ during The Crusades–hence it’s okay to secretly hate them. My elementary school teacher (or should I put it in a plural form?) would make the Dutch sound like Earth’s worst villains. In short, they forced me to see the world as a dichotomy of Truth: some deeds are right, and some others are unforgivably wrong.
They labeled history with value-saturated meanings.
Today, however, being an abnormally inquisitive being, I can’t help but to question these notions all over again: Why is something moral? Who decide if an action is right or wrong? What is behind everyone’s action?
Religious Preachers: “Truth Is God, My Child”
God (the Creator, Allah, Jesus, Buddha, Yahweh, or other names people decide to call Him) is usually–unique to each case–man’s either first or last attempt to find Truth. It’s quite easy to understand why religions are so tempting: it offers you calming, dogmatic tenets that keep you off from the search for a bigger cause, of critical assessments towards the given principles.
I don’t have the capacity to claim anything big, but I believe that religions shall never be seen as black boxes of sacred, unquestionable teachings but rather a peaceful room for discussions where, under heaven’s blessings, people contend ideas and get ready for counter-arguments.
So, in defense of Truth, one being is too small to comprehend God’s big plans–hence the necessity for discourses inside any religion.
Romantic Poets: “Truth Is Love, My Darling”
I’m rather skeptical about mankind’s ability to feel deep affection for someone unconditionally–but I can give you a list of people who would say something like, “Every individual completes his/herself after they find their destined love.” (…and I would rebut with a straight face, “Dude, isn’t every baby born complete with their own thoughts?”)
So instead of waving a white flag behind the pillars of a certain religion, these people find Truth in the face and words of their lover. Nothing else matters, really, because their whole world comes down to a single person, and with him/her around, they know Truth exists.
But then again, in defense of Truth, love is too subtle to be proven real. Sometimes it materializes into nice gestures, sometimes they disappear. Is Truth something that disappears every now and then? I don think so.
Johan: “Truth Is Pain”
Everytime I raise this question, he would state, confidently, “The only reality in this world is pain, darling.” To some extent, I find the urge to agree with this notion. I mean, feelings that are translated into man-invented words can deceive you, face expressions can be easily trained, but pain hurts when they visit.
Rephrasing Tolstoy’s saying, “…All happiness is alike, but each pain is painful in its own way.”
In defense of Truth, however, I wholeheartedly believe that it should depict an unbiased, balanced proposition. It shall not stand at the edge of either side of the spectrum (like ‘pain’ or ‘happiness’) for it is too unfair to bestow the huge title only on one party.
Greek Philosophers: “Truth Is What You Make of It”
One of my Monday classes in Sekolah Tinggi Filsafat Driyarkara actually declared that Truth, in the end, might be as simple as a consensus. It is created by the society in order to halt potential conflicts and chaos that might emerge has there been no agreed Truth. This is what I’m currently holding on to.
Alexander Wendt, the father of constructivism, would add a long list of arguments about how states create their Truth. Down in my subconscious, I know that this explanation serves best to what I myself have been thinking. Until now, however, I can’t completely embrace this idea for it’s too heartbreaking that Truth does not actually exist. It is invented, by humans, to serve their selfish interests, and thenceforth is re-inventable.
It is twice saddening because to me, the search for Truth–the journey–bodes be better than the destination itself, and it shall end immediately have I been illuminated by this way of thinking. I reject to stop, though. I created new journeys in the quest for Truth. I refuse to, like other people, roll back into their worldly blankets and decide to ignore the neverending questions about life’s fundamental riddles. (Or puzzles, if you’re a visual person.)
In defense of Truth, I would end this post by saying that, if there’s one relieving truth you can rely on, it’s the fact that our planet has an infinite number of books.
That was a joke, by the way. HAHAHA.
Grab one before you sleep and good night!