Embrace the Truth

Are you educated? Or are you indoctrinated? The educated seek to understand. They seek the truth. On the other hand, the indoctrinated seek to go with the flow. They do not break from the mold, they don’t think on their own, and most assuredly, they do not question the information they are given.

Is there a difference between spoon-fed and force-fed?

The spoon-fed lack the maturity to use a fork. It simply is too dangerous as the pokey tines could puncture something other than the food on the plate. The child that lacks the coordination to use a fork must use a spoon. Once the motor skills are developed, the child can progress to the next level of advancement: the fork. Whether spoon, fork, or even the hands, the child can choose what goes in the mouth. The great question is how to get the food in there as efficiently and safely as possible.

When it comes to choice, the force-fed are not given one. They can use whichever utensil they prefer. Yet, it doesn’t matter. They must eat what they are given. And if they don’t eat or will not keep it down, then other measures will be used, even if the digestive system is bypassed and an IV is implemented.

Dispose yourself to embrace the truth, wherever it is found.

John Locke

When it comes to information, are you educated or indoctrinated? Are you spoon-fed or force-fed? One is determined based on ability and can be improved. It involves choice. The other cares neither about choice not ability.

The words John Locke spoke over 400 years ago are just as relevant today as they were back then. We must go to great lengths to search out and seek the truth. There are those who would cover it up, distort it, and even attempt to manipulate it. They want to force-feed what they think we should have. Information is power, and the distributors of it are reluctant to let it go.

The information is out there if we are willing to dig for it. We can either search it out, or we can passively let others give it to us. Which will you choose?


Feature photo by Daniel Joffe on Unsplash

Destroying Illusions

What were my illusions?

What are some common illusions?

  • The government has you in their best interest.
  • Corporations are more interested in taking care of their employees than making money.
  • Food labelled as healthy is actually good for you (sometimes this is not the case).
  • Pharmaceutical companies are interested in getting you healthy.

Truth vs. Tribe

Sometimes the truth hurts. It shakes us to the core and challenges our previously held beliefs. Sometimes the tribes we belong to become more important than the truth. We see this in politics, in nutrition and health, and even in religion where the sacred can become profane. A good example were the poor souls who drank the Kool-Aid. Another example would be the cures nature has provided for us being touted as evil and made illegal only to be replaced by synthetic drugs designed to mask our symptoms and keep us unhealthy.

Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed. Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche

Make no mistake, I am not saying everything we have been told is a lie. I am not saying every tribe is corrupt or every belief system we subscribe to is flawed. But we owe it to ourselves to look at everything with a critical eye and not accept it on blind faith. We must do the research. We must be willing to dig down and search for the truth. And if the truth shatters our illusions, then we will be one step closer to freedom.


Feature photo by Randy Jacob on Unsplash

Mistakes Along the Road to Truth

We can blindly accept things as true. Whether it be the news, gossip, or something heard in the grapevine, we can take a path of least resistance. That way, no effort is involved, and we gladly follow along with the crowd.

Or we can take a half-measure. We can hear the news, conduct an online search, and be done with it. Our suspicions were unwarranted as confirmed by the first article listed in the search results.

The Buddha said, “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth: not going all the way and not starting.”

Your body is a temple. Why would you put anything in your body without knowing the truth of what it is? Do you know what is in the food or medicine you consume? Did you do the research or just go along with what you were told? You only get one body.

Your mind is the Holy of Holies in your temple. This too should be protected. You do your best to prevent viruses onto your computer. Viruses carry information with the power to corrupt the operating system. Likewise, what you consume mentally can corrupt the most sacred parts of who you are. Beware and protect. Consume information but validate it. Understand what it is before you implement or spread it. Is it truth? For it is the truth we should seek. It is the truth that gives us the freedom to be our own masters.


Feature photo by Varun Nambiar on Unsplash

Something Did Happen

I was walking up the stairs to my office. About halfway up, my toe hit the edge of the step. My hands shot out to grab the rails. Just in time. If I would have missed, I would have gone tumbling down the metal stairs and onto the factory floor.

Once I gathered myself and regained my balance, I did the usual “every time I stumble” move. I took the dreaded look around to see if anybody was watching. After the all-clear, I resumed my ascent up the steps and acted as if nothing had happened.

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.

Winston Churchill

There are times I get stuck in my belief systems. The things I was told were true, I accepted. I didn’t do the research or ask the right questions. When I read or heard something contrary to my “supposed” truths, I would dismiss it as fake or too far-fetched. Occasionally, I would stumble on something that really challenged my beliefs, something not as easily dismissed. And when this happened, which lately has occurred more than a few times, I am faced with a choice. Do I, like stumbling on the stairs, move on as if nothing happened? Or do I pause and wonder? What was it that caused me to stumble? Is there a truth here that I need to discover? Do I need to do some research and evaluate those findings?

There is no doubt that I have many preconceived biases. When I see the error of one, I have a decision to make. What will I do? And the same goes for you when you cross the threshold that brings uncertainty to your belief systems, you must decide what you will do.


Feature photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Your Best True You

There is only one real failure in life possible, and that is not to be true to the best one knows.

Frederic Farrar

How can you be true to the best you know?

If you find yourself on this planet with a sacred duty, to not fulfill it would be your only, one true failure.

There is a reason why we are here. To say our existence is only chance and that we have no purpose, then you are not digging deep enough within yourself.

An apple tree that bears apples is achieving its purpose. It is in harmony with the universe. No matter how much the apple tree wishes to bear oranges, it will never be able to do it. It will either fulfill its purpose, or it will be barren.

To be true, to do that which you were designed for, is to be in harmony with yourself and the universe. The universe is a great symphony. All its parts working in unison, fulfilling the roles they were designed for. Good and evil, chaos and order, all in balance. We are a part of this symphony. We must play our parts.


Feature photo by Nathan Hulsey on Unsplash

The Permanence of Truth

It has been a long day. You come home, kick off your shoes, and take a seat on the couch. You reach for the remote control and on comes the news. The anchor has an important message. The same message is on the ticker at the bottom of the screen. It reads: From this day forward, all news will be reported with complete honesty. Personal biases and opinions will no longer be accepted as the news. You sit there in disbelief. Changing the channel to another station, you see the same message.

You turn off the television and look at your phone. You go on social media and see a wave of unbelievable content. Everybody is professing to go forward speaking nothing but the truth. Is this possible? Has justice and righteousness finally prevailed?

Life is short, and truth works and lives long: let us then speak the truth. -Arthur Schopenhauer

As nice as it would seem, this is not the case. The news will continue to present information in a way to persuade you to their side. Social media will continue to be less about truth, choosing instead to continue a culture built around likes and shares.

Scientific laws, like the ones we learned in school, do not change. Everything else is either a theory or a hypothesis. They are generally believed to be right, until they are disproven. Laws stay the same; the others might be forgotten in time. A law is true, and like Mr. Schopenhauer said, “Truth works and lives long.” In a constantly changing universe, it is the one constant. What is true is true.

Opinions and sensationalism come and go. Bold-faced lies and little fables will pass in time. We cannot control what the world does. We cannot control how what others will say. But we can be different. We can speak the truth, knowing that in the end our words will not be forgotten. They will stand the test of time. Therefore, let us speak the truth, which in this ever-changing world, would truly be sensational.


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Practice Truth

Justice 12/18/2019

When I first started reading philosophy in High School, I didn’t really know what it was. I thought it was the ramblings of a bunch of old men content to sit around in their robes and tell others how to think. And even though I didn’t understand any of it, I was intrigued. I didn’t know much back then, but at least I could try to think.

By reading philosophy I only gained a little knowledge. I could try to spout off some of the things I learned, but none of it was applied knowledge. I could only tell you what someone else thought. To some small degree I was embodying Thoreau’s words: “There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers.” I was only scratching the surface and putting none of it into practice.

A few years ago, I took a deeper look into stoicism. Reading the writings of Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus, I was challenged to do more than only read. I was challenged to live this philosophy. I had to learn to practice what I was reading. I had to test the principles and see if they really worked. I had to go back and analyze my own performance and see where it went wrong. Was it the philosophy that was bad or was it my application? Finally, I had to validate whether or not this was something I could adhere to as a lifelong practice. If it wasn’t feasible to do throughout a lifetime, I didn’t want any part of it.

Philosophy is the science of truth. –Aristotle

How does this relate to justice? A just person seeks righteousness. He longs to discover the truth and then to put that truth into practice. It is a high virtue to do the right thing. Not only for others and for society, but for the individual. We must all find our own truths. Others can guide us along the way, but we must be critical thinkers in our education and then put it into practice. Discard what doesn’t work and hold dear to the ones that do. Be righteous, my friends.

Quest for Truth

The truth matters. It will set you free.

What doesn’t matter? All that garbage that is not the truth. It will not set you free, but bind you in its deception. Its yoke of false hope will weigh you down until you can no longer stand up straight.

If a philosopher’s goal is to study the truth, then we should all aspire to be philosophers. We should strive to:

Seek the truth.

Protect the truth.

Defend the truth.

We must examine our preconceived notions and question the validity of the popular messages of our time. Our quest for the truth should be far reaching. It should not be limited to only our communities or culture. If you have to climb the mountains, cross the deserts, or read the ancient texts of different civilizations, then we should do this.

We should do this so that we may be free. It really does matter.

Dispose yourself to embrace the truth, wherever it is found. –John Locke

 

Parenting tip #1: Be the Parent

I have recently started asking some of the veteran associates I work with about their opinions on some of the new hires. The answers were rather similar and can be summed up in two statements, “they are no good” and “they have no work ethic.” Many of these new associates are fresh into adulthood. They are young and inexperienced, and they are viewed as “no good.” I see a few who stand out. They are quiet. They work hard. They show up to work every day. They are in the minority. What a shame. Is this an issue with today’s kids or has it always been this way? They have been thrust out into this world of adults, and they are not prepared.


I try to attend everyone of Alec’s wrestling practice. I am actively involved with the drills. I do it for two reasons. First, I want to make sure Alec understands what it is he is supposed to do and then that he does the work. The second is for his protection. I understand I may be overly protective of my five year old, but I have my reasons. He is one of the youngest in the group and has never wrestled before. With the exception of a few, the boys he wrestles against are bigger, stronger, and wilder. In addition, they lack discipline. Some of these boys have no qualms about applying a rear naked choke to get the advantage. Their actions are not malicious, but they don’t know any better and will do what is needed to win. If I see them or Alec break a rule that could cause an injury, I will not hesitate to stop and reset the action.

Of the boys on the team only about 25% have the ability sit and listen to their coaches’ instruction. One in particular seems to have made it a quest to disrupt the practice. The coaches are continuously telling him to sit down, to stop running, or to leave the other wrestlers alone. While this is taking place, his parents are sitting on the mat nearby not paying attention to their son’s antics. Whatever is on their phones happen to be more important. Do they think they can take a break from their duties as parents since the coach is now the babysitter? Are they not even remotely embarrassed? If this is the norm for practice, I can’t even imagine what the teachers in the classroom have to go through. If the behavior is not corrected now, what will happen in the future? As Frederick Douglass said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”


Thinking of the future, what will these undisciplined children be like when they are much older? They used to be little terrors, and now they are growing up. Will they self-correct into model citizens. Will they recognize their parents’ lack of attention and go on to be better parents with their own children? One could hope, but that may be a bit naïve. Those children, if they survive to adulthood, if they don’t kill themselves or the ones around them, will likely continue to the pattern their parents set before them and raise a new generation of little terrors even more fragmented and torn than their predecessors. A land of undisciplined, unruly children turned to adults will not improve society. If they continue down this course, they will not make this world a better place.

Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death. -Proverbs 19:18

This is a plea for parents to wake up. Put your cell phones down and pay attention to your children. How can you expect them to pay attention when your lack of attention is the example they follow. Teach them discipline. Mete out a just punishment when they stray off the path. The rod of discipline can take many forms. Taking your kid off to the side during practice and stopping him from causing mayhem now may prevent him from getting kicked off the team in High School. A well-deserved spanking now is more preferable than the punishment found in a prison later. Be their parent. Be their teacher, and maybe we can have a hope for a better future.

Folly is bound up in the heart of the child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away. –Proverbs 22:15