It used to really bug me when people would use the phrase, “your truth.” It always seemed to me a convenient evasion from the hard work of sober thinking, of confronting difficult truths about life and self, a denial of Truth itself.
What I discovered is that many people indeed use it for these purposes, but some people mean it in a completely different way, whether wittingly or unwittingly.
Everyone has their personal truth that is both true and at the same time usually quite wrong. How is that possible? One way it is possible is in terms of emotions.
Emotions reveal the truth about your relationship to the world, but not the truth about the world itself.
“Your truth” is a phenomenon cause by one’s unique experience with life according to one’s unique physical and emotional disposition toward life. This disposition creates a reality for the individual which is both true and false at the same time. True because the emotions evoked by one’s experience with life are indeed real; false because emotions are not revelatory of the nature of things exterior to oneself. However, emotions are not simple delusions of an alternate, internal reality. They are the most accurate measure of a person’s internal reality. The true state of one’s internal world is as true as any physical phenomenon, and should be known because it’s reality is of greater consequence then almost any other phenomenon for the individual.
Depression, for example, is a real emotion that reflects a real relationship to the world, a world experienced by the individual as depressing. However, the depression experienced by the individual should not be confused with the actual state of the world.
The actual state of the world – of existence – constitutes the Truth about the world, and good luck finding it. All the ‘isms’ and ‘ologies’ have as their prized goal this finding of the truth about existence.
Without getting into a major discussion on the triumphs and failures of the different approaches – whether scientific, philosophic, or religious – the point I wish to make is that there is a major difference between emotional truth and the Truth, and it is not necessary to chose between the two as if they are mutually exclusive.
Problems come in precisely when someone attempts to choose one and discard the other. I’ll take a typical example that I’ve witnessed several times in my therapeutic practice. Typically, if a person is going to deny reason in favor of emotions that person is usually a woman, and if a person is going to deny their emotions in attempt to objectify – i.e. falsify – existence that person is usually a man (sorry if you find this a case of gender stereotyping, it most definitely is, yet true to my experience). Both exclusions are disastrous, and this is never truer than in relationships. When a wife bemoans that her husband is out of touch with his emotions, and the husband bemoans that his wife is out of touch with reality, both may be right but both are attempting to see rightly in the mirk of their chosen blindness.
Unless the man learns to connect with the truth of his emotional life, the marriage is in serious trouble. Likewise, if the wife is unable to detect the distinction between her feelings about her world and the world itself the marriage is equally in trouble (of course, these roles can be flipped quite easily, and one’s biological sex does not guarantee a proficiency or deficiency on either side of the equation).
So, in this specific way of using the phrase I think it is wise to acknowledge that one does have at least two truths to consider: The Truth (capital T), and emotional truth. Both are difficult to grasp. In fact, it often borderlines on the miraculous when one is able to come to the truth of their own emotional state – to be able to be aware of it, face it, learn to live with it and challenge it effectively.
I’m thinking of those times in the Psalms when David literally speaks to his own emotions in very touching displays of vulnerability. “Why are you downcast, O my soul? And why are you so disturbed within me?” David had a knack for self-awareness on a level rarely displayed by kings or men of war. He was in touch with himself enough to know his true emotional reality without losing ground with the reality going on outside his emotions. Due to his ability to live in both truths simultaneously he was able to immediately turn and say, “Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God” (Ps 43.5).
20 thoughts on “Your Truth vs. The Truth: can two conflicting realities both be true?”
There is truth based on provable facts from reputable sources (preferable primary sources), and then there are alternative facts based on conspiracy theories that have no reputable sources, primary or secondary.
The term “alternative facts” was created by Trump’s totally immoral and horridly corrupt administration to make their lies sound better for idiots and/or fools that want to believe in alternative facts because the real truth doesn’t support what they want to think.
This is a fascinating subject, and being a counsellor too, it is a subject I deal with everyday.
I am ever impressed by people’s ability to confuse truth and falsity, objective and subjective, reality and fantasy, thought and emotion, themselves and others… and so on. It is not entirely their fault, of course. The world, as Eric points out, is comprised of truth and falsity cleverly mixed. So people have great difficulty seeing things as they are, and easily superimpose over reality the figments of their own mind and the clouds of their own emotions, like cataracts over their mind’s eye. But it is possible to see things as they are. The trick is to value truth above all else, no matter what the truth may be, and especially truth unknown, or as yet unknown. Valuing truth above all else, whatever truth may be, known and unknown, clears our vision of superimpositions, and enables us with pure observation to see things as they are. But few people value truth above all else. Most hold preferences, likes and dislikes, wants and not-wants, desires and emotions for and against, and truth is so fine and subtle that such preferences obscure one’s vision and truth is made invisible. And yet, when we learn to see truth, it is revealed as so beautiful and obvious that we marvel that we could not see it before. And then we have to accept that others cannot see it, for most are like we were before.
Eric, where have all your commenters gone? You used to have lots.
Yeah, donno. Taking massive breaks between posts doesn’t help I’m sure. Lol.
I recall reading somewhere that interest in blogs has generally declined. If it has, I expect it is due to many factors. I like reading old Victorian school/college books, early 1900s and late 1800s. Their comparison with contemporary education is amazing. And people seem more scatter brained than they use to be, and that seems to be increasing in last 20 years, generally, I mean. People’s attention flits about disconnectedly in conversation more than it did when I was younger. And people don’t listen to each other or ponder like they used to. People answer each other before the other has finished, clearly both misunderstand and neither seem to even be aware of it. I get around in my work and I observe this all the time. Conversational sentences are so short. Women are speaking faster each year — no it’s not just me listening slower — and the pace of change is increasing of their trends in inflections, accents, and mannerisms. We live in an interesting time.
Ha! Absolutely! Its a real problem. I blame alot of it on social media and the high paced information overload people get generally from the internet. Also in our SJW and cancel culture world few interesting conversations are even allowed to happen. Too much at stake, too easy to offend the other with disastrous consequences.
Yes, certainly all that is part of it and technology is facilitating it, but I think there is something more significant underneath and behind it, driving it. Something very deep psychologically and far back culturally, of which all these current communicative trends are emerging manifestations. A sort of culminating or eventual manifesting into behaviour of deep psychosocial energies set in motion long ago in western history, for these trends are more western than anywhere else.
Crossbow, have you ever read “The Decline of the West” by Oswald Spengler?
No, I haven’t. I have so many books and not enough time to read them. So much to read for work. Looking forward to retirement if it ever comes, so that I can casually read books, and wind down mentally myself.
Well I think you would love it, if even just the introduction. I’m on my second trip through it now and it has been a serious game changer for me and how I evaluate history and our current situation. Its worth the time.
Yes, I might enjoy it. I just took the time to read the wikipedia account and a few others, and some extracts. I expect our views are similar, in different terms and words though, of course, and described from different viewpoints. It is obviously true that cultures go through great cycles comprised of phases, and that is what I was referring to. Religions, cultures, psychology, individual and collective human potential, nature, are all among my favourite subjects, and of course politics, which is a manifestation of those. Life is so full of wonders.
Like you I am a counsellor, having worked general, general forensics/prisons, sex offenders, schools children and youth, relationships, drug and alcohol, end of life, men’s self governance, domestic violence (men and women),… and now with the elderly and their families, and it has been a fascinating and educational journey. Immersing myself into my clients, it is like having lived their individual and collective lives, seen the world through their eyes. We work in a fascinating field.
Man, that is so true.
On a lighter note and for a bit of fun, I put $500. on Trump to win the US election. And I hope he does win too. I am betting on your country’s good sense. But whichever way it goes will be good in the long run. Sure, I occasionally cringe at his remarks and wording, but I look through that, at the principles he represents and which his supporters hold dear.
I think there are going to be some very very upset leftists next week.
Lefties are always upset or close to it. There is no such thing as a contented one.
Well, that was $500 worth of fun and excitement !
As a retired soldier, I was able to – with God’s help – to exercise the ability to understand my emotions and the truth of my surroundings while in combat. This allowed me to cope with the events that unfolded on a daily basis during them, as well as once I returned home. I had confidence in my equipment and my team, but mostly my hope was in God. I knew He would give me the strength to either make it through those days, or He wouldn’t. That was both my truth and The Truth.
Love it. Thank you Knox!
When our truth is aligned with The Truth, we are blessed indeed.
I have a great respect for soldiers. Soldiers are the only men who commit to doing their duty, even to their own deaths.