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Monday, October 6, 2014

The Meaning of Truth in Life

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” – Fyodor M. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

There is no human who hasn’t thought about the meaning of life. What is our purpose on Earth? Why was I born in this family, in this era and this place? Life, as man himself, is a mystery. Some people spend entire lives to solve the puzzle, while others waste their time with passivity and meaningless actions. To me, life is a journey towards the truth. Every man is born with a purpose, and the adventures during his lifetime are supposed to bring him to the final and only truth. Truth, as the only means of realization, is obstructed by lie. Lies have always been part of humanity; people have been using them in the most unscrupulous manners as a way of achieving their illusory goals.

Today, we are subconsciously accepting lying as a way of living. Lies have become part of our everyday life, but we cannot understand when deception became such a crucial factor of people’s existence. As soon as we turn the TV, access the Internet or engage in a conversation, we are becoming victims of notorious lies that affect our subconsciousness and influence our characters. The way we act and interact in society is largely predetermined by faulty values and unrealistic impression we want to make. As John Locke wrote, people are born as tabula rasa; every single impression affects their thoughts, beliefs and actions. We are processing a huge load of information from the outside world, so we cannot become aware of our true nature due to the illusions we are surrounded by.

When I want to understand what truth really is, I try to imagine the most innocent, uncorrupted child. Although young children are very susceptible to impressions from the outside world, they have natural potential to seek for the truth and tell things as they are. Depending on the system of values children develop as a result of the influences and experiences they go through, they become honest people or successful liars. Unfortunately, lying is a “skill” we obtain at very young age as a way of justifying our actions, covering up the mess we caused and acquiring the things we want.

People often say that everyone has their own truth. There are at least two sides of each story, depending on the awareness, perception and judgment of the person who is telling it. Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon is the perfect example of how different people understand truth in their own way. Men relativize, subjectivize and distort events in a way that makes us believe that there is no absolute truth, no matter how detached we are.

As a result of our dependence upon imperfect senses, we are unable to perceive and acknowledge the absolute truth. Truth can be suppressed, bypassed, hidden or ignored; but it always remains the real purpose and main discovery of our lives. There is only one eternal, unchangeable and simple truth. The purpose of our lives is to unveil it, no matter how much time we waste on the roundabout way of lies.