“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
In last week’s article, I discussed pursuing the Transcendentals in our work – Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. This week, I would like to expand upon Truth. In its essential form, Truth has two components: information gathering and information relaying. In other words, this Transcendental can be broken down into finding and telling the truth.
First, I think it is important to recognize how limited our knowledge is. Humans have observed about 5% of the Universe. Shockingly, we have only explored and charted about 5% of the world’s oceans. Then comes the problem of the individual. As a collective, humans have done a wonderful job gathering information, exploring, and creating (as compared to other species). The most important thing to come out of the 20th century was the Internet – which is fundamentally a vast database of human knowledge that can be accessed instantly. Unfortunately, the individual will inevitably struggle with sifting through information to find the truth, processing that information, and retaining the knowledge. There is only so much data we can manage at one time.
However, it is a basic human condition to desire more knowledge. Of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, three relate to Truth – wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. If one places the want for knowledge at the top of one's priorities, they will go far. Remember, the only way to live one hundred lives is to learn from one hundred minds that came before you.
Truth is not only practical; it is powerful. Elon Musk, the world’s richest person (net worth of $233.6 billion), is a proponent of first-principles thinking, whereby complicated problems are boiled down to the most fundamental truths (this applies especially well in engineering problems). He also supports the restoration of the education system to make learning more interactive and engaging. In the Bible, King Solomon, who is the richest Biblical figure with an estimated net worth of $2.1 trillion, did not ask God for wealth – he asked God for wisdom.
The second component of Truth is also crucial to moving forward in life. All of us certainly have biases and perspectives that skew our understanding of the world. Nevertheless, it is our responsibility to not knowingly lie or deceive. Life is complicated; do not make it more complicated. It is much too difficult to remember the web of lies you spin throughout each day. You will end up caught and terribly tangled if you do not speak truths.
Value Truth. Find more of it. Do not lie.
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