Truth and Life – Striving for a 360° View
Every memory of my father involves some bit of wisdom he was always eager to share with me. One such jewel was “You better figure the other guy is at least as smart as you are – maybe smarter – which is why it’s important to pay attention to other people.” Every time he’d say this, I’d shake my head “yes” and pretend it all made sense. But it wasn’t until I grew older that I began to understand what he meant: Life requires us to be perpetual students and great listeners. To be otherwise arrests our potential. To that end, a student’s cup is always overflowing while an ignorant person’s cup is never full.
Given an individual’s inability to know everything, it seems logical to learn as much as possible – as objectively as possible – to live life as purposefully as possible. However, most people do just the opposite. They’re desperate to maintain their current convictions so they accept whatever is closest to the way they already think. This close-mindedness supports their comfort zone, soothes their insecurities and allows them to savor the status quo. Unfortunately, this process also deflects change, which deflects truth. Truth, though, is driven by our ability to comprehend. And, our ability to comprehend is driven by change. Whether we seek change or run from it, it is the essence of life. Without change no life form can survive.
If we are to know truth, we must not only be willing to accept change; we must embrace it. We must be courageous enough to be wrong and wise enough to know it’s only common sense that we, as a species, can err in judgment more often than not. Until we recognize our personal limitations, we will not be able to acknowledge our species’ limitations. And until we recognize the latter, we’ll continue to believe not only that one race or type of person is better than another but also that our species is better than all others. That thought has led us and could continue to lead us down a road to self-destruction.
We need to leave politics, discrimination, recrimination, bad-mouthing and blame behind so we can listen to one another and work together respectfully. Although passion can sometimes overtake reason, truth is never really lost if we commit to finding it. However, seeing it requires a commitment to travel to a place with a 360° view, and living it demands that we leave familiar surroundings.