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Treatise on Truth: Volume 1

When we look at the Three Virtues of Truth, Love and Courage, they do seem to be self-explanatory. Or we do have some assumption of their definition already. Out of the three, Truth may be the 'easiest' to define. It is the ability to speak the Truth to one another. All one needs to do is be honest and upfront and one is upholding this Virtue.

Truth is not so easily defined as simple honesty. There is a lot more to it, otherwise people would not spend their entire lives dedicated to its study.

I will attempt to explore Truth, perhaps not entirely but enough to begin a journey down its path and, to what I believe may be its heart - or something near it.

The Oracle has called Truth that "without which communication is a wasted effort." That is but the surface. When we communicate with others, we do expect honesty from them - as much as they expect it from us. The Oracle is right about one thing, though: without some Truth, communication would be pointless.

To begin, we will look at the first, most obvious definition of Truth: Truth to Others. It is the most basic facet of Truth. It is as simple as receiving proper directions from a town crier, or having a friend describe their adventures and how they found that bag of coin. We expect there be Truth in the directions or we will be lost, or never find out our friend stole from someone. This is the Truth that we see and navigate through every day. We judge people and their words and weigh whether they are True or not. 

Truth to Others can go deeper than just our relationships with others, as evidenced by the fable "Truth is Rewarded." It speaks of Sam who attempts to make some free gold by saying his lost pouch contains 75 instead of 50 gold pieces. He attempts to fool justice into giving him more coin than he deserves, and ends up losing all his coin - even that which is rightly his. The moral is simply not to lie as we gain more through Truth than Deceit.

A more complex lesson can be learned from that fable: that of the father and daughter. They understood the Truth of the bag of gold, it was not theirs at all, and they had no claim to it. They did the right thing, find the True owner and return it. Truth to Others does not use only words, but also actions. Even though the father and daughter were poor and could have used the gold, they did the right thing and attempted to return it, which is the correct and Virtuous act. The fact that they won the gold is representative of the value of their Honesty and pursuit of Truth.

As we look deeper into Truth we come to Truth to Self, which is much harder to fathom than Truth to Others, but is more central to the Virtue. Truth to Self is being able to apply the Virtue of Truth to yourself. This may seem simple - for if one can be Truthful to Others, surely they can be Truthful to Themselves!

Take, for example, the fable "The Chains of False Belief." The moral of this fable speaks to the elephants, who are unable to break free of their chains because they have been trained not to test the frail ropes that hold them. The moral is two-fold - firstly that we need to constantly examine and reexamine our beliefs - ensuring they are Truths that we can follow, or be bound by false ones. Secondly that we must know Truth for ourselves - taking a truth that is given to us is unwise and may also lead to us being spiritually bound. The elephants in the story do not reexamine their Truth, and accept the Truth given to them by their captors and the other elephants. They are bound by their false belief and unable to become free.

It is difficult to maintain this self Truth, as we openly search for Truth in others. Indeed, if you are reading this treatise, you are looking to me for an understanding of Truth. But do not stop there, I will not. I went to many libraries and read many books to come to this realization of Truth. And this realization may change as I grow older and explore more of Novia. It is constant and never ending, but one must be vigilant and willing to examine everything, then Truth will be revealed.

This brings us to the third and final aspect of Truth, Truth to an Ideal. This is possibly the most difficult to achieve, but is the most important to fully understand Truth. Being Truthful to Others requires honesty when we communicate. Being Truthful to Ourselves requires us to examine our beliefs and question what is given to us. Truthfulness to an Ideal requires acting in a way that upholds a belief.

The fable "A Boiled Seed Cannot Sprout" shows one ideal that is upheld, the ideal of Truth. The girl in the competition choses to uphold her integrity and honesty by showing her failed plant. Because she maintained her integrity through honesty, unlike the other contenders who wanted to look better, she won the Throne.

This ideal is but one ideal of many. There are many ideals in existence. Following the Virtues is one such ideal. Another is the search for information. For myself, I wish to learn and share my knowledge, so I inquire, weigh and think on new ideas, then write those ideas down and share them. I believe that I would fail in upholding the Ideal of Knowledge if I assumed that I was correct in what I found and held my work up as the definitive work on any subject. The Truth is, I know only what I know. Others have taken other paths and have seen other things than I. If I were to deny their insight, I would be denying a part of the Truth I seek.

I believe, then, that we all must maintain that we are learning whatever field we are involved in. The Truth is that we can still learn something, even if we are considered masters.

Comments

  • edited February 17
    Sorry for the delay in looking at this. Truth be told I was lazy. :)

    An interesting examination of truth. A typo:

    The girl in the competition
    choses to uphold her integrity and honesty by showing her failed plant. <-- typo (should be chose or chooses).

    Inconsistency:
    This may seem simple - for if one can be Truthful to Others, surely they can be Truthful to Themselves!
    Either change "one" to "they", or change "they" to "one" and "Themselves" to "Oneself".

    Now for a style suggestions. Feel free to ignore this - style is extremely subjective, and I am simply presenting an alternative for you to consider.

    Firstly you write:
    Out of the three, Truth may be the 'easiest' to define. It is the ability to speak the Truth to one another. All one needs to do is be honest and upfront and one is upholding this Virtue.
    ...but immediately follow that with:
    Truth is not so easily defined as simple honesty. 

    This may be seen as contradictory (it isn't, but it can look that way). I suggest maybe changing the first highlighted sentence to:
    If one is honest and upfront then one is upholding this Virtue.
    Also, you might consider changing the second sentence to:
    Truth is not so easily defined as simple honesty, however.


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