Monday, May 30, 2011

The truth shall make you free but "THE TRUTH" can imprison you

The truth is a never-ending quest that leads to more knowledge and sometimes wisdom.  For example, many people discovered chemical elements that they thought were indivisible.  Then others discovered that the elements were composed of protons, electrons, and neutrons.  This led to greater understanding of compounds.  Then yet others discovered that there were many more sub-atomic particles than these three.

Governance is another truth that many are discovering.  Once it was thought that kings ruled by divine right; how else could they have become kings?  More and more people are discovering that democracy can be a much better form of government.  Now we need more and more people to discover how to make it work better.

On the other hand, "THE TRUTH" can lock people into a very limited view of the world.  For example, "THE TRUTH" that the Sun revolves around the Earth gave very limited ability to predict celestial events, knowledge that was needed to make accurate calendars.

"THE TRUTH" can divide people based on religious or other differences.  If we still held "THE TRUTH" that women are inferior to men, would we have some of the scientific, literary, musical, and political ideas we now have if only men were deemed capable of complicated thought?

I got another view of the distinction between the truth and "THE TRUTH" reading Sheri S. Tepper's "The Visitor".  Most of it takes place centuries after "The Happening" when some astronomical object struck the Earth and wiped out most of the population.  One group of survivors considers themselves "The Spared" and believes that the only other beings are demons.  This belief gives inordinate power to a few, and as Lord Acton said "Power corrupts".  If you decide to read "The Visitor", be forewarned that the powerful deal in gratuitous violence.