I've been gone for a while searching for experiences to enlighten myself in search of answers. My wife and I went to Jerusalem, Eygpt, and Tunisia. Talking with the people was exciting and at the same time sad. We have it so good in the United States.

On Truth

The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones." Act 3, scene ii of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

In searching for the truth be careful which rocks are turned, what closets are opened and to be careful of awakening any dogs in a slumber; and, if possible remember that truth has no hidden agendas or magnetic preferences. That is to say, be careful, because often what one finds in their search is a truth better left unvisited or unsaid, as truth wears many cloaks and can be found almost anywhere. It is hidden in the cold depths of a killer’s heart, as well as, in the first breaths of a newborn child. It is found amongst the privileged class just as it is found among the poor whose only goal is survival.

Understand that truth is a duality; yet, with no difference. If there is any it is the difference between water and ice; molecularly they are the same but ice makes a much tougher reality. Clearly, the truth is sometimes both a thing of beauty; hiding the misshapen monstrosity of reality; for when the truth is close to home it is ugly and hideous, but nonetheless, it is the truth. It is the same truth that is beautiful to those viewing it from a more pleasant perspective. If there is anything sad about the truth, it is that within our hearts we know it to be so, but the vain artifice of society and egotism makes us blind to its light.

Most have no need to be persuaded of the truth. The truth provides its own persuasion in reality. It needs no one to carry its banner, to glorify its name or bow before it. The truth is the truth--nothing more and nothing less. It is unchanging. It is written about but nowhere is it written except in reality's slate. Though many seek it, it has no favorite, no chosen few and no preferred state. The truth is a quest or journey from fear and ignorance to understanding and reality.

Truth is an intangible reality that must be grasped with the mind as well as the hands; and, that is why the search for truth is an unending quest. Because of mental or physical exhaustion the temptation is to surrender to comforting dogma and rhetoric which in some form asks for the willing suspension of disbelief as fiction does. To lie to oneself is the greatest lie because it is just as difficult to see through stone as it is to see the truth.

Without truth, there is nothing but superstition, fantasy, and irrational thinking. To discard the truth is to accept immaturity and irresponsibility as a way of life. The hallmark of adult behavior is accepting responsibility and understanding the necessity of making decisions based on reality. In deciding we must override emotionalism to make an informed choice, fully appreciating there is a chance for failure, but also realizing that is part of being an adult—understanding and accepting there are no guarantees.

In overriding irrationality and superstition, we open the door to honest inquiry and understanding. The truth demands an objective view that encourages thinking, rational thought and even debate and disagreement. The search for truth is open to a diversity of views and opinions, which only serve to enrich the possibility of enlightenment.

Along the path to truth, it is easy to become sure that one has found it or that we somehow are more enlightened than those who choose not to search. This is a constant danger in the search for the truth, the constant possibility that we may have come to believe we have found the truth and that those who have not followed our path are less worthy by virtue of their failure to do so. It is this residence on the road to truth that brings slaughter and war. This truth is closed and that makes it no truth, for the truth is always open and the pathway never ends—it just enlightens.

Unfortunately, the yearning for guarantees guides people to irrational thinking and the false reassurances of supernatural phenomena and an over-reliance on emotionalism. When the search for truth ends with the acceptance of superstition and fantasy; the doors of tolerance close and the tyranny of absolutism begins. The doors to inquiry, debate, and experimentation close. The window slams on the fingers of forbearance and compassion and opens to hatred, extremism, and narrow-mindedness. There are no boundaries in the search for truth for it requires none. It has no need of protection for it is the same today as yesterday and invites inquiry, debate and research because it will not change.

Those who have discovered the truth live in prisons of their own making. They have no need to go outside into the freshness of the morning air and the warmth of the rising sun because they have closed off the remainder of the world as nonexistent. This self-limitation is a selfish nihilism that ignores the realities of the world for the soothing balm of self-imposed ignorance. They protest too much the search for the truth and it is that protest that reveals that their answer is incorrect--they have merely decided to look no further, which is arrogant, ignorant and self-fulfilling.

Beware the person who has found the truth. It is that same person who will kill you in the name of that truth. For those who have found the truth, life functions in black and white with no room for subtle nuances or exceptions. Anyone claiming that they have the truth is a lair. They seek only to end your quest because their control and authority depend upon others accepting things as they are and leaving questions unanswered. Inspirational differentiators are determined by where they occur and the source of that inspiration. The only difference between a man who joins a lynch mob and one who joins the ministry is their location.

Despite political and moralistic propaganda, despite outright lies and mistruths; one cannot find truth without first looking for it and there is the rub. Only through disciplined effort can the truth ever be discovered. There is no substitute for the truth. Nevertheless, the search for the truth must go on; and, though the path is perilous and that there is no gratitude for those who strip away comfortable myths and causes other to think.

Since the beginning of time, men and women have searched for the truth and come up with interpretations that have suited their needs at the time. This is not to say that their quests were not noble or their results worthwhile. On the contrary, the idea of searching for the truth indicates a pursuit of a higher and fuller understanding of life and a healthy skepticism regarding what stands for truth.

Truth has a reputation as a healer of wounds, a soother of troubled minds and a provider of purpose for the individual, as well as all of mankind, collectively. In essence, the ultimate goal of the search for truth is to understand the meaning of life. Thinkers of all sorts have put varieties of interpretations forth; and, still, the search for truth continues.

The search for the truth is not for all because it is tiring and often confusing, uncertain and indefinite and unrelenting in its depth, but it is also exhilarating and wonderful for those who are unafraid to let reason and logic find their way. The search for the truth is for those unafraid of what they might find. It is not for those who seek comfort in life. It is for those who seek to know life and all of its intricacies, mysteries and commonness. Truth's prize is in the search. Its benefit lies in removing blindness from searching minds and allowing the clear sight of things. Sadly, the need for an examined life has been replaced with convenient catechisms that encourage shallow thought, narrow ideologies and small focus.

Nevertheless, truth and death are absolutes. Never is truth anything but the truth. It is immutable. It is on-going. It is permanent. What was true yesterday is true today and will be true tomorrow into infinity. Mountains will become beaches beneath our feet and the oceans will evaporate before the truth changes. That has been its attraction over the ages. Its immutability and steadfastness captures that part of the psyche that longs to know things. Truth is salve to the inquisitive mind. Often, truth appears a chameleon, changing steadily in the eyes, yet, remaining unchanged because for today's truth is the same as yesterday's, only the perspective and viewer ever change.

Truth, like a bullet fired blindly, is no respecter of rank, privilege, religion, philosophy or emotion. Although it is a neutral force, it can destroy used improperly or without forethought. It can be a cold-blooded killer wrapped in the artifice of royalty waiting to burst unsuspecting bubbles of belief with cold precision. There is no doubt of its duality as it is at once beautiful and hideous. This doubleness lies within the viewer, for by itself, truth is pure, untainted and universally clarifying. Only to those whom it does not serve is truth an enemy.

Nevertheless, truth is a judge without mercy. It cares little for our sorrow and pain. It is as unfeeling and cold as the dead and yet; it is alive and offers solace to those whom falsehood has driven to the ground. At its most noble truth cuts a mighty swath laying insincerity and pretension bare to the bone. As an avenger of righteousness, it is a weapon for the weak and the scourge of the abusers of men.

It is no discerner of person. It does not care about tender feelings and misplaced belief. Truth is not patient. For the unprepared or the unsuspecting it is a fist to the face or a slug in the gut. It gives no warning. There is no count to three. Even for those seeking the truth it is sometimes an unwelcome and unwanted guest especially when it does not reinforce or buttress preconceived ideas and thoughts. There is no reward for truth unless those giving rewards recognize its value. However, the messenger of the truth is just as likely to be chastised as a liar. In such cases, one makes a conscious decision not to see, therefore, they are blind.

By itself, truth is pure, untainted, and universally clarifying, but not to those who refuse to see. Still, the search for truth continues. Truth is its own reward.

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Comment by Michael Penn on December 8, 2017 at 6:45am

Truth is said to be the first casualty of war. It goes without saying that it is the first casualty of politics.

If we add truth to religions we find it has flown straight out the window. Many have found the truth but it is a matter of making it all up and which group can tell the best story. The amazing thing is that so many cling to this nonsense regarding truth regardless of where it comes from.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on December 7, 2017 at 8:02pm

I saw a lot of poverty but unbroken spirits. None of the places cared about the US. In fact.  I was questioned about it. In Jerulasen, it’s quite Americanized despite being quite kosher. I think Egypt was the most interesting from a cultural and culinary standpoint. And, despite what people think about the Islamic culture people were just people. They dressed different but that was it. My Arabic sucked but they were a didn’t mention it. Overall, a trip worth taking. 

Comment by Frankie Dapper on December 7, 2017 at 5:35pm

Donald, what was your impression of the people in Jerusalem, Egypt and Tunisia? And what of the issues for those same people?

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