Ooh, I love good questions. Here's four. Nice! Marina offered them up in a comment to a recent blog post.
Is there anyone here on this blog who is looking to realise the truth or are we more interested in realising how right we are, how wrong others are?
Are we into defending our beliefs and condemning others for theirs?
Are we more interested in getting 'facts' about others then finding out 'facts' about ourselves?
Are we so much enjoying the 'dramas' that we don't care about the truth, the real truth about ourselves and realising that?
I found these thoughts fascinating, mostly because at first read they surprised me. My reaction was, "Well, of course I and regular visitors to this blog are seeking what's true about ourselves."
Speaking for myself, and I'm pretty sure this holds generally for churchless folk, I gave up blind faith because I wanted a clearer view of reality. My motivation for ditching dogma was to find a better path to truth, not to give up the search for it.
Re-reading Marina's questions, that initial intuitive reaction didn't change.
But I better understood how she could interpret this blog's skepticism, challenging, and cynicism toward organized religiosity as discounting the possibility that there's more to the cosmos than what science and everyday experience point toward.
Rather than answer each of Marina's queries individually, I'll offer up a general response that encompasses her overall theme -- starting with a challenge to her ending words: "the truth, the real truth about ourselves."
Marina seems to assume that this exists, the truth, the real truth. If so, that's a big assumption, an unwarranted assumption. If not, then there are many truths, so no one can be criticized for not seeking THE truth, because such doesn't exist.
Understand: I'm not a solipsist.
I don't believe that we create reality in the sense "The Secret" does. But when it comes to ourselves, our subjective experiencing (which probably doesn't involve a "self"), there's little reason to expect that a real truth is to be found -- at least not in the way science seeks the real truth about observable/objective existence.
We're each a sample of one.
There's absolutely no way for me, or you, or anybody, to compare our subjective experiencing with someone else's subjective experiencing. Yes, we can tell stories about what it was like to eat that juicy strawberry. But the taste, the feel, the smell -- all that (what philosophers call qualia), it's ours alone.
So when it comes to the speed of light, there's a real truth. For us humans, that is. The brain of Homo sapiens has evolved to perceive the cosmos in a certain way. Other sentient beings in the universe might see things differently.
I'm deeply interested in this sort of scientific objective truth. However, I see the thrust of Marina's questions as pointing in a different direction. She wasn't asking whether visitors to this blog are committed to knowing external truth, but rather some supposed internal truth, "the real truth about ourselves."
I have no idea what this could be. Or how it could be.
If this "real truth" is objectively real, then there should be demonstrable evidence of it. Yet thousands of years of spiritual/ religious/ mystical searching has left humanity with just as many godly question marks as at the beginning of recorded history.
Thus I've concluded that it's fruitless to seek The Truth as if it were a rare butterfly capable of being captured in a net and put on display. And I sense that most people who visit this blog have come to a similar conclusion.
If knowing ourselves is a science, it sure isn't the sort of scientific pursuit that results in a consensus agreement about what the real truth is. So I've come to look upon it as art.
Our subjective experiencing is akin to an artist hearing music or seeing an image in his mind. Those inner sounds and sights are only real to the artist. If he wants others to get a taste of them, subjectivity has to be transformed into objectivity.
But there's always a gap between our experience and our telling about it. At this moment I'm struggling to fill it, searching for words I can type that approximate my wordless understandings and intuitions.
Marina asked if us churchless folks are looking to realize the real truth and facts about ourselves. There's no way not to. For anyone. Whatever is being experienced by us, that's our real truth, that's our facts.
I can't show mine to you. You can't show yours to me.
So when someone claims that a person's subjective experience, unsupported by demonstrable evidence, should be accepted as The Truth that applies to everybody -- my skepticism causes me to cry "Bullshit!"
Doesn't matter if that claim is backed up by a holy book. I still say it's bullshit. This attitude isn't a denial of truth. It's an acceptance of the difference between experiential subjective truth and demonstrable objective truth.
Say "I experienced X, but I can't prove it to you," and I'll reply "Great." I've got no problem with that statement. What irks me is "I experienced X; I can't prove it to you; yet you should accept that what I say is true -- both for me and for you."