To every era its own beliefs, general way of thinking, set of facts that the majority seem to take as unquestionable truths. We can witness in our own lives this gradual evolution of ideologies from on generation to another.
If Alice were to travel through time and visit Sami in Syria 2000 years ago, and explain to him that Earth is at the edge of a galaxy, and that, along with seven other planets, it orbits the sun, Sami would find such a truth to be as ludicrous as Alice would if he were to explain to her that Earth is static at the center of the universe, orbited by all the other celestial bodies in the sky.
Come to think of it, unlike Alice, Sam's truth is based on observation. He can see with his own eyes what he believes. Alice's truth, on the other hand, is based on empirical evidence gained through advanced technology, which she has no access to! Alice's truth is based on her faith in her science teachers!
Of course, there is a way to verify the truth that scientists have discovered. Alice can become a scientist herself and see the truth, her teachers used to talk about. Unless, of course, she discovers a more compelling truth. Imagine 2000 years from now, our descendents would laugh at our childish understanding of the universe in the 21st century: "they used to believe in some invisible force called gravity!"
Speaking of gravity, most educated people don't know that, since Einstein's general relativity, an increasing number of scientists have already abandoned Newton's idea that gravity is one of the four basic forces1. We have been imprinted since childhood with the fact that there must be gravity, ignoring the fact that we cannot see, hear, taste, smell, or touch it. And unlike electromagnetic waves, scientists have not yet been able to detect gravity waves (gravitons). We just assume it's there because how else can we explain how things fall down, and more importantly, the law of gravity solves mathematical equations with unquestionable precision. Nevertheless, when astronomers looked farther out into space, and when quantum physicists looked closer into the sub-atomic world, those supreme mathematical formulas collapsed, and the theory of gravity failed to explain the baffling phenomena they observed. (Read more about this here)
The main purpose here, however, is to challenge not only scientific facts, but also a much more deeply ingrained truth; the very symbol of our "post-modern" age, namely, the belief that there is no such thing as an objective truth that we humans can ever access consciously. It is this belief that all versions of truth and of reality we can ever access are primarily subjective - subject to the individual's limited tools of perception, which are governed internally by our genetic design and molded externally by our environment.
While history shows that human beings have always held onto differing and even opposing versions of truth within the same era, ours today is stamped with an increasing number of people who hold onto no truth at all. Agnosticism is becoming more popular, more so among intellectuals, and to be unsure about anything, to lack solid beliefs in anything, is seen as humble and wise.
We live in an era where Alice can watch a debate on television and find both opponents equally convincing, in spite of their clearly opposing views. For that, Alice earns the prestigious label only given to the most intelligent among us today: open-mindedness. This label is so well-respected that even the most closed-minded would proudly proclaim - and welcome the accusation of - being open-minded.
|Outside the Box|
We refer to people who are truly open-minded as people who can "think outside the box." What's inside the box, then, is understood to be blind, dogmatic, narrow-minded, and unimaginative ideas or information we haven't really questioned. In other words, what's inside the box, when seen from the outside, seems to be anything but truth.
The curious individual who spends many hours outside the box expands the horizons of his mind, as though it was foggy all along and he didn't notice until the fog decimated. But then what truth is there outside the box? None. What's outside the box is nothing but the inside of another box, a bigger box. The greater his visibility, the greater the boxes he continues to step out of. And since there is no objective truth inside any box, and since there is an endless number of boxes, then we can safely postulate that we have no access to any objective truth, if such a thing exists in the first place.
This is what is meant when the wise say that the more you know, the more you know how much you don't know; or the more you attempt to increase your knowledge, the more you realize how truly ignorant you actually are. Logically, then, as we approach absolute knowledge, we would be simultaneously approaching absolute ignorance! As Socrates said: "One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing." 2.
Thus, by opening our minds and expanding our horizons indefinitely, we become less certain about any and every aspect of life. And with so much doubt and uncertainty due to lack of knowledge, we become more indecisive; less assertive. We become unable to take any meaningful action in our lives with any grain of certainty.
Very intelligent people, increasingly finding what used to be simple decisions very difficult choices, like whether or not to: get married (and to whom), to have children (and how many), to continue a career path (and which one), to travel (and to where), to go shopping (and buy what), to go to college (and what major, and which college), to watch a movie (which one, and when, and with who). There was a time when those matters were "no-brainers," like whether or not to brush your teeth!
These decisions are becoming more complicated because the world has become more complicated, and we have become more individualized; more isolated. (And all this time you thought your episodes of loneliness were unique). Statistics show that now more than ever people are uncertain - the average person is changing jobs up to eleven times in their lifetime3. Divorce rates have already risen to over 50% in the more advanced and developed societies4. The number of people seeing a therapist and/or taking drugs (anti-depressants) has more than doubled in less than five years5 and continues to rise6.
It's not that we are becoming more intelligent than our grandparents were. The problem is that their boxes are no longer compatible with our lives, and so we seek what's outside the box out of necessity, so we can cope with this new, isolating socio-economic order. And what is stepping outside the box? It is to step outside one's own cultural norms, beliefs, and lifestyle, which has the unintended benefit of making our minds healthier, richer, and sharper.
Only it seems no one steps back in the box, and there lies the unintended cost: we end up floating outside the box; in this liquid realm of nihilism, where everything is possibly right and wrong at the same time, and all versions of truth are subjective. The mind becomes constantly open that no idea ever resides long enough to become a belief. It becomes virtually empty, void of any certainty.
|The Astro Train Station|
Think of the human mind as a train station floating in outer space. The station is open from both ends, and trains of thoughts come through on a regular basis. The train stops, briefly, and the passengers (thoughts) get down onto the platform (cortex) for a breeze. A few minutes later, they get back on and the train leaves. That's what an open mind is like. A closed mind is one where trains go through, but are never allowed to stop. In essence, the station is closed to those passengers. The openminded, however, never consider asking the good passengers to stick around, maybe even move in!
With no beliefs in how things should or ought to be, we can't agree on anything to be objectively true. For instance, we can't agree on whether global warming and nuclear proliferation are truly life-threatening crises. We can't trust the mainstream news. And if the mainstream cannot be trusted, why should we bother trust the news from the alternative fringe?
Conspiracy theories that, by design require no proof, are spreading so fast that we have conspiracy theories about why conspiracy theories exist. A few decades ago, we celebrated, as scientists purged the superstitions of things like ogres and ghosts from our reality, and today these scientists are talking about string theory and parallel universes coexisting in eleven dimensions; different worlds with different physical laws overlapping one another, where the past, present, and future intertwine; never mind ghosts!
If we can't ever know anything true and real, then why bother think? For the first time in human history, we have managed to raise a generation that rhetorically asks: "read a book?! What the hell for? And who has time to read?"; a generation where the well-read among us are called nerds. In Hollywood movies, the invincible and hot superhero is almost never super smart. The producers leave that role to the geek in thick glasses with the fancy gadgets and computer chips. And whenever the geek talks, the not-so-bright superhero shuts him up with a rude tone by asking him to "speak English," upon which the geek rephrases in words understood by the seemingly-illiterate audience.
But the worst of all consequences caused by the absence of the belief in any objective truth is that people are overwhelmingly convinced that life is, by design, filled with pain and war and suffering and misery regardless of our behavior. They are convinced that life has always been unfair and unjust and will always be. This worldview is reinforced by mainstream global media, the news headlines in particular, so that even if Alice woke up one morning and the sky was blue, birds were chirping, butterflies were flying, and colorful flowers were blooming under the tree leaves that were swaying with the cool soothing breeze, she can always check news tickers to find out that somewhere else on the planet the weather is horrible, following a devastating earthquake or a virus outbreak; war, famine, corruption, and volcanic erruptions. Then the feeling of incessant powerlessness rises, refueling her necessary apathy, wishing she had not known; reiterating unfortunate gems like "ignorance is bliss."
Without true beliefs, we inevitably become generally apathetic, chronically indifferent, and the most optimistic among us would be the cynical. And through organized education and organized religion, we are told time and again to stay away from politics and religion; and avoid philosophy (they mean critical thinking), for such matters are divisive.
Meanwhile, the wealthiest people on the top of the social pyramid, who are responsible for fanning the flames of apathy and indifference, and who love to give advice on how we should lead our lives (on the one hand telling us that becoming rich requires hard work, and on the other hand telling us that becoming rich does not lead to happiness), continue to drown politicians with under-the-table gifts to get them to pass laws that legalize their crimes and repeal laws that hinder them. Aided with the media they own, they make sure that the masses have little or no access to the truth behind inflation, high unemployment, decreasing real wages, smaller apartments, worse food, less benefits, exponentially rising debts, higher taxes on the poor, lower taxes on (and greater subsidies for) the rich, and no valid explanation as to why the economic system requires men and women to labor thirty to forty years to afford to own a house on this vast planet, while lesser creatures like birds build nests in two days and rats dig holes overnight.
Part of the distraction is a multi-billion dollar industry of graphically explosive advertisements almost everywhere we look, taking full advantage of basic instincts to get us to buy things we don't need with money we usually don't have7.
With an open mind, a mind with no beliefs, only passing trains of thoughts, we become ever more dull and bored out of our minds. Alice could spend an entire day on all the activities she loves the most - a swim at the beach, followed by a BBQ picnic and volleyball with her best friends, followed by a shower and preparation for going out to the movies, followed by dinner at her favorite restaurant. But come the end of the day, back in her bedroom, she can't understand why all of a sudden she is overwhelmed by a vast emptiness; which can only be filled by endless, meaningless activities, like checking her Twitter account and Facebook updates and messages, and Youtubing her eyes till she faints in her chair and drags herself to bed.
This site offers Alice an alternative path, a way out of the paradox of endless boxes.
ALICE: I've been outside the box over and over again. I can't find any objective truth in any of them. I want to know, is there an objective truth?
TRUTHPORT: Yes there is.
ALICE: Can it be accessed?
ALICE: Why should I believe you?
TRUTHPORT: I already know you don't believe.
ALICE: I'll believe it when I see it. Show me.
TRUTHPORT: As seeing objects requires light, seeing the objective truth requires light panes.
ALICE: Light panes?
TRUTHPORT: Think of them as portals. There are eight portals. They might appear to have no relevance to one another, but in fact they are like the seven colors of the visible light. Only when combined do we see the visible light in its true form.
ALICE: Eight portals, eight light panes?
TRUTHPORT: Yes. It doesn't matter with which one you start. And you don't have to wait till you go through all of them. You will begin to see glimpses of the objective truth throughout your journey.
ALICE: Where are these portals?
TRUTHPORT: Tap the dragon seal below.
23 July 2012
- See http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/13/science/13gravity.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all [Accessed 21 July 2012]
- See Plato's Apology, 21d; Plato's Meno, 80d1-3
- Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 2010, at: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/nlsoy.pdf [Accessed 21 July 2012]; also see http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/22/38336.html [Accessed 21 July 2012]
- See http://www.divorcerate.org/ [Accessed 21 July 2012]
- See http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-08-03-antidepressants_N.htm [Accessed 21 July 2012]
- These problems are not only caused by uncertainty, but also by many other factors. Yet the problem of uncertainty is increasingly ubiquitous.
- For credit card debt statistics, go to: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/credit-card-industry-facts-personal-debt-statistics-1276.php [Accessed 22 July 2012]
|Copyright © 2012 TruthPort.|
All Rights Reserved.