Ontological Irrelevance

         A man once came to me seeking the truth, convinced not only that I had found it, but also that I had it to give. I pondered this for some time, wondering how best I could explain to him what it was that I actually had, and wondering if it was even possible to persuade him to abandon his hot pursuit of what it was that I believed he was currently after. I had a feeling that this man was searching for something which was a bit different than what I had to offer. After some deliberation, this is what I told him.

         There are two ways to approach the truth. To most people, the truth is a simple matter of statements which correspond to the facts in any given time or place. In my opinion, seeking the truth in this manner requires one to place a tremendous amount of undeserved faith not only in mere verbal statements, but also in the idea that the facts which these statements suggest are trustworthy as well. My problem with this impersonal approach to the truth is that I know very well the limits of human language, the limits of human perception, and the limitless possibilities of our so-called reality; well enough, in fact, to know that this sort of truth would be a fool’s errand, one that I don’t loose a lot of sleep over. Most philosophers would call this position skepticism, yet I have taken one important step past this that moves beyond mere skepticism and onto a philosophical position that I call “Ontological Irrelevance.”

         For every possible fact that lies outside of us, there is a corresponding relationship that we can have to it based upon the truth of who and what we are. Unlike the so called “truth” of our shared reality, this other self determined truth, which is derived from our choices and our personal meanings, doesn’t require us to have any faith at all in the accuracy of our language or even that of our senses, but simply that we know ourselves well enough to say what we hold to be true today, as well as tomorrow, and the day after that. Of course, for most this seems like something that’s as impossible as knowing the truth of external facts, if not more so, but that, in my opinion, is simply a failure of the human will and of having the courage necessary to have any “true” convictions. However, such failures as these, sadly, are common enough these days.

         We can know what we’ve been, we can know what we are now, and we can even know what it is that we’re choosing to become each and every day, if, and only if, we simply open our eyes; but no matter how wide our eyes are opened, the external facts of this world, which exist largely outside of our awareness, outside of our comprehension, and, what’s probably most important, outside of our control, will always demand our faith, or at the very least, the acceptance of some inescapable degree of uncertainty. I have accepted this uncertainty, but I can take refuge in the fact that the mere words that I’ve used to express the truth of my heart cannot be twisted, or used against me, or that they might lead me astray from the absolute certainty which I have found within. This is because my heart will always know its own truth and absolute certainty, even in a world where nothing else can be absolutely known for certain. I’ve moved beyond the skeptical foundations of Descartes’ famous axiom of “I think, therefore I am,” onto the last words of the Sufi mystic Hallaj, who basically said “I am,” therefore, “the truth.”

         I told this truth seeker, just as I tell you now, that this is the only “truth” that I possess, but, as you see, it is not something that I can impart directly to anyone else. One can only come to understand why this is the case and, perhaps then, learn how to start seeing the world through his or her own undeceivable eyes. Namaste.

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1 Response
  1. Ontological irrelevance, I can dig it!

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