Throughout our history, humans have yearned for, insisted on, begged for capital-T Truth. The way things are. The divine order. The right way to live. The correct telling of history. The true moral way. The word of God delivered from above. The objective, complete truth.
All (or nearly all) religions are based in the basic desire to know how we should act, who we should be, the right way to make sense of the world. They are not describing a helpful way of being, they are describing the right way to be.
Science too has framed itself as the way of knowing the “objective” truth about our reality. Anything that can be gleaned from the scientific method is “true.” We can understand everything there is to know, or everything that is worth knowing, through science. This is Truth.
Most of us fervently believe that our way of looking at the world – whether it be driven by pagan rituals, individualism, religion, science, social justice, or whatever it may be – is the “right” way. Most of us feel the exact same degree of confidence that our way is the right way and that others’ is the wrong way. Most of us don’t bat an eye starting a sentence with “The truth is…” and then promptly proceeding to offer our opinion.
We want the Truth, so that we can know how to live. We want to know the God-given meaning of life, because it gives us structure, it makes us feel safe and secure. It keeps the chaos, complexity, and apparent meaninglessness of living at bay.
Ultimately, I believe these ideas of “Truth” to be simply stories. They are one of many ways we can come to understand this mysterious experience we can life or being.
And to be fair, they are incredibly powerful stories. They do indeed have incredible nuggets of truth to them. They have undoubtedly aided humanity in our quest to understand and transcend ourselves. The Abrahamic myths of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism obviously resonate very deeply with us. They have guided billions of us for millennia. The story of Noah or David and Goliath describe some fundamental archetypal human experience in a way that is deeply meaningful to us. Science has allowed us to tap into incredible wells of knowledge unlike anything we’ve ever experienced: quantum physics, evolution, neurobiology, renewable energy, telecommunications, and on and on and on. These are incredible powerful truths that have undoubtedly aided us in our evolution and should be revered and protected.
But they are just stories, just lower-t truths, just ways of looking at the world. They are not the end; they are the beginning.
Please do not use this book to act as another capital-T truth. It is just another story. It is just a way of thinking about the world. It does not describe the objective truth about us or our world. It is as best a gross oversimplification of a universe that is helplessly complex, chaotic, and resilient to grand narratives that make sense of it. The best it can ever hope is to offer a helpful way to understand our world, an instructive way to give shape to chaos.
There is no capital-T truth to guide us. All we can ever do is actively and consciously choose the story that we live by, acknowledging its limitations and generalizations and how we ourselves invented it to give our lives meaning. The best we can do is choose the story or stories that best matches our experience, that best makes sense of and accounts for what we witness around us, the story that most resonates with the deepest parts of us and that invites us to live our genius.