A discussion of Truth

Sensei Post in OffTopic
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I am a person of very strong opinions; very strong might be an understatement. In almost every aspect of my life I believe there is only one truth, one right answer. There may be many paths to this truth but there can only be one truth. It is a lot like math, 2 + 2 = 4, there are no grey areas here, 2 + 2 cannot equal 3.9! Now like any math problem the more variables you introduce, the more derivations you take the less clear the ultimate answer may be, but there is still only one correct answer. Like the many questions that come up in life there is only one answer that is the ultimate truth. Now I know many of my Zen and Buddhist friends are going to scream and argue with me on this but they’ll be wasting their breath. You see I am not stating this to convince or convert anyone, I’m going somewhere with this… Most people answer questions to fit their existence, they choose the comfortable answer, the one that supports the path they have chosen. It is usually the answer that offers the least internal conflict or barring that is the most socially acceptable. In other words, truth be damned, put the blinders on and full steam ahead! I’ve seen seemingly intelligent people make incredibly irrational statements or state irrational beliefs based on this behavior. The interesting thing about the world is it is made up of math, math is everywhere.
How many of you have taken a math class and answered an exam question with 100 percent certainty that you had answered the question correctly?…only to find out you were wrong! How can this be? There was a flaw in your reasoning that allowed you to ignore the truth in support of a very convincing falsehood. So it is with life. Most people can’t be bothered with critical thinking; most people just want to wander day by day through their lives without worries. Most people feel powerless or overwhelmed when they face the truth so they turn into the comfort of the darkness ignorance provides. In my opinion this was the cause of the Dark Ages…people just existed. From my observations we are entering a new Dark Age in humanity, one where critical thinking is replaced with irrational comfort.
I am purposely leaving any specifics out of this discussion, for to introduce any would cloud the truth in some political, religious, moral, or personal freedom or environmental argument of half truths and fanatical beliefs. That is not my aim. Like in Math there should very little passion in seeking the truth, for passion clouds our judgment with emotions and feelings. Emotions and feelings have to do with choice, not truth. How can you seek truth without passions! You can’t. Yes a seeming contradiction:) But it is not, you see passion for the truth should make us patient and critical thinkers, for we are not passionate for a given answer. Think of the sparring ring. When you are facing an opponent of similar ability and you become frustrated or enraged you will typically loose. But if you keep your clarity of mind and stay clam you will find an opening and win (possibly by enraging your opponent!). In life when we face difficult questions we must stay calm and centered, we must test our opponent (the question and supporting facts) without being drawn in or set off balance (enraged).
I have found that to find the ultimate truth you must go to extremes, this is a lesson from higher level math. Any mathematician worth his salt will tell you that all the interesting stuff happens at the boundaries! Face with a question, take it to the extreme and see if it makes sense. I could give an example but that would open a can of worms :). So the next time you are faced with a question or better yet reexamine your current beliefs and see if you are truthful with yourself go to the extremes. (It is killing me not to give an example because I love a good debate, but I really don’t have the energy this week)
So, Truth, Math, Boundaries, Extremes…what does this have to do with the Martial Arts? …Everything! As a Martial Artists we stand for justice (or you should). Justice cannot exist without truth. Truth cannot exist without purity of heart (no rationalizations). Purity of heart cannot exist without critical thinking and the understanding that there is only one truth regardless of how it makes us feel. Our choice or free will allows us to assign shades of the truth (grey areas) but we must be honest that they are shades of the truth, not The Truth. Shades of the truth allow us to coexist with many different people but we must be honest enough to admit (if only to ourselves) that these shades are wrong answers with flawed reasoning. Once you adopt these things as truth you have weakened the foundation on which you stand. If you are at least honest about your acceptance of this flawed reasoning you may prevent them from snowballing out of control. To thy own self be true, for without this all is lost.
Aside from seeking and supporting justice, the martial arts are also about personal growth. I don’t think I need to say more about truth and personal growth…do I?! Well I hope this rant was useful to someone, trust me it is a diamond in the rough and I will try to clarify it and edit it but hope you find it at least intriguing in its draft form.

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