Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Truth with a capital T and why sometimes I wish I was Catholic.

crucifixEinstein believed that there was one single guiding principal that allows all of the fundamental forces between elementary particles to be written in terms of a single field. He called the rationalization of this belief Unified Field Theory. Its not much of step to link the theory to the idea that there is single theory which could explain how all of physics functions, from the tiniest sub-particle to mass of whole galaxy, from gravity and magnetism, to quantum glue and particle spin. In effect it would explain all matter and energy. The first mention of this theory was by a Polish science fiction writer who called it “Ogólna Teoria Wszystkiego” or the Theory of Everything (ToE).

Everything that exists in this universe has name, its called reality. Philosophers have been searching for one single guiding principal of reality as long as there have been philosophers. The search for the Theory of everything is the search for Truth. Truth with a capital t (capital t truth or CTT). Plain old run of the mill truth is defined as that which conforms to reality, but reality is specific to the context of the reality which is being examined. That which is true about pie is not necessarily true about pi which explains why there is some truth in relativism, but ultimately relativism isn’t true.

What the philosophers and quantum physicists seem to be searching for is some truth which transcends context, some truth that just keeps enlarging to encircle everything that exists. Ultimately, everyone who wants Truth is looking for that One Thing. The thing whose sum is greater than its parts. All of our highest ideals represent that which is greater than the sum of its parts. Is not a great man made of the same amino acids as a merely adequate man? Thousands of men have played billions of notes over the centuries, yet there is only one Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

Some philosophers believed that Art would die when cameras and mass production made realism cheap and reproducible, yet Art remained as any deep thinking artist could have said would happen. Why? Because greatness in an artist has little to do with reality. Photo-realism is a mere technical skill; the mark of great master is knowing how to make people feel what he intends, which involves weaving reality and un-reality together. Though man cannot agree on what parts of reality are great, we all seem to intuitively agree on what the idea of greatness is.

Greatness is the quality of being more than the sum of constituent parts. When we search for Truth, we are seeking greatness. The Unified Theory of Everything is the search for something so great, that it doesn’t change with shifting face of the reality it describes. That is Truth.

I believe in Truth. I know thats not fashionable anymore. Thankfully, Truth does not change with fashion or whim. It is not because we wish it so or not so. Truth is. By definition Truth is much bigger than I am. I want to hug Truth in one day, I want to wrap my arms around it right now, but I can’t because anything that I can wrap my arms around in a single moment is most likely not even close enough to be Truth. So I seek Truth the only way I can.

I think Truth is not a destination, but journey. I think it is a cobblestone road and I think that every cobble is little contextual truth. The truth that light is light and dark is not is not less or more true than the truth of God’s existence, nor more or less important. I think that real satisfaction with life comes from Truth. The closer one places his life inline with Truth the happier and simpler his life becomes, and one aligns with Truth by accepting truth.

I love truths. I’ve sought them my whole life. I want to live true to Truth. This has always made me different than most people I meet, but because I never accepted it at my very core it never had the chance to change me as fully as it might. I loved truth outside of my religion and politics, but within religion and politics, I had to accept various hypocrisies. Hypocrisy is the act of condemning another person for an act of which the critic is guilty. Hypocrisy is flagrant departure from truth.

Since, truth is that which conforms to reality and there is only one reality, holding people to one standard of how to act on reality while holding yourself to another is based on a lie. Namely, that you are special. The fact which conforms to reality is that you are not special. The universe will not give you different rules that it gives everyone. You will obey the laws of physics whether you are aware of them or not. You are not special.

But I had to believe that I was so special that I was infallible. To honestly assess the systems of faith I held would result in clearly seeing the failures inherent to those systems, so I had to carefully not asses them. Similtaneously, I believed that unexamined life was valueless. Resulting in the further lie of not only being infallible, but having special insight into truth and knowing without examination with truths were worthy of examination. Honestly, I think most hypocrisy is an attempt to “legislate” away another hypocrisy.

Eventually this can only lead you to believe in magic. The special exemptions pile on top of one another creating an identity founded on the idea that you are totally exempt even from anything that you haven’t personally defined. Logically, the only direction this can go is that your thoughts make reality, you can make what is real inside without physical work, merely by the power of belief.

But of course, I couldn’t really change reality by wanting too. Eventually, truth lead me to truth. I sat down with the systems of faith I had, and analyzed them. Of course, they fell apart. Gradually, I met God in all this, and I began to see scripture. It was funny. So much of what had seemed so contradictory in the way of God was not His hypocrisy, but mine. God was consistent within His own definition of Himself, he simply disagreed with the way I preferred to define Him.

Its been a great blessing addressing those last to prime holdouts of lies in my life: my faith in God (religion) and my faith in man (politics). When I let go of what I wanted to be true and accepted what is true, the great storm of my life quited. Like a graphic Renaissance fresco, hidden by blue-nosed Victorian under plaster, as the chunks of hypocrisy and self made lies fell of, my world view becomes more beautiful. The deeper I lived in truth, the less odious God became to me. I’ve even begun to want to love God, this Master Craftsmen who built the reality that dwell in, which is exciting.

The unexpected side effect of all this is growing sense of alienation from those around me. When the pursuit of life’s truths, even the simple ones, is more important to you than which group you belong to, no group fits anymore. There is no handle to grab a hold of my identity with anymore.

I’m started to want to know Christ, but I am not a Christian. I love the stars and the moon and the trees, I believe they are important and spiritual, but I am not a Pagan, or even a hippie. I’ve read the Koran, but I am not Muslim. The truths in the religions I study are far more important to me than the opinions their adherents. So I don’t fit in anywhere anymore.

That’s OK with me, its just a weird feeling. Tonight we celebrated New Year’s Eve with a lovely Catholic couple we know. I looked at the crucifixes on their throats, on their walls, and on their refrigerator door and I wished I could have one simple thing that could tell the world who I am, and attract people who share my path to me, a simple symbol that represented a whole code, a people, a way of life, and a single purpose. Sometimes I when I look at a menorah, or a crucifix, and even, once in a great while, an ichthus (the “Jesus Fish”) I feel this deep, aching longing to be part of.

But, I sigh, I will not belong to them for all the wishing, because wishing does not make reality, even when I wish it does. Truth remains, and hopefully always will remain, more important to me than belonging to a group who claims to have it.

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January 1, 2008 - Posted by | Religion | , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Well they certainly know how to make better art than protestants.

    I dont know if you have heard of Rob Bell, but some of the things you have been saying remind me of a dvd I have of his called “Everything Is Spiritual”. I think you would enjoy it, or at least find it interesting. http://www.everythingisspiritual.com

    Comment by theveritablefabulist | January 1, 2008 | Reply

  2. I was struck by your comments, because I think you have elevated freedom/license in seeking truth, rather then liberty/right reason to achieve it. Once a truth is known one no longer has freedom to chose to disregard it.

    To quote Pope John Paul II from Veritatis splendor

    para. 61″…Consequently in the practical judgment of conscience, which imposes on the person the obligation to perform a given act, the link between freedom and truth is made manifest. Precisely for this reason conscience expresses itself in acts of “judgment” which reflect the truth about the good, and not in arbitrary “decisions”. The maturity and responsibility of these judgments — and, when all is said and done, of the individual who is their subject — are not measured by the liberation of the conscience from objective truth, in favour of an alleged autonomy in personal decisions, but, on the contrary, by an insistent search for truth and by allowing oneself to be guided by that truth in one’s actions.”

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_06081993_veritatis-splendor_en.html

    I’d like to hear your comments on it, if you have the time or inclination.

    Comment by quickbeamoffangorn | January 1, 2008 | Reply


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