Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Community as Truth Seekers

By John Westcott
Creativity + Social Change
University of Connecticut

A child is born, and begins his/her journey to death and return to dust. Learning would seem to be initially almost 100% experience based. But is it? Guardians of the young are quite limiting. Keep the precious one safe! Do not let him be around machinery.

There is the training following the values of the Guardians. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” and “the truth will set you free."

And then begins expansion into the official learning processes of the education system. Guardian influence begins to be in competition with books, instructors and pressures exerted by peers and personages chosen to be mentors and to emulate.

Finally, the acceleration of time leads to the career, the marriage, the children, the passing of the Guardians, and the ultimate end of life.

At all times, the person is with a community and often is in several communities at one particular period in time. However, I maintain that the one community which is most important to inhabit is always be a seeker of truth because decisions are based on one’s perception of truth surrounding each decision.

So What:
Limiting access to machinery means poor knowledge of things mechanical and poor skills in fixing things. American history instructors said America is the land of opportunity. O gee, it was forgotten to mention that one fall day in 1918, the German citizens of the hometown were deprived of their German newspaper with the destruction of the presses by 500 fellow citizens from a neighboring town, and the invaded citizenry was forced to sign loyalty pledges, and further demonstrate their patriotism/loyalty by the purchase of war bonds based on their perceived wealth. O yes, a Guardian did say that, “One day, father came home and said German will no longer be spoken in this house.” No German language skills!

So truth is hidden many times with obvious impacts latter in life as to knowledge and skills. However, there is another element of truth which is even more important. Truth is often obliterated by belief.

Belief is often associated with the egotism of the self. Seeking truth has to develop the awareness of all the capacities of the self. Seek out the opinions of others and explore the possibilities of the roots of others’ positions. Such exchanges will eventually develop the whole human being.

And another outcome is that awareness of issues will perhaps focus everyone to conclude that there really is a problem which does need to be addressed. And more importantly, if the full capacities of the self have been developed, a review of the various solutions will increase knowledge of all, and result in better decision making because the possible positive and negative outcomes of each solution can be reviewed in a more impartial setting.

Now What:
Currently, research indicates that facts which do not fit the beliefs of another will be ignored and the belief will continue to be advocated by the other.

The community of truth seekers will allow for rational decision making based on facts and careful review of possible outcomes of selected solutions to a particular issue or problem. Beliefs will give way to truth. Bad decisions based on possible faulty beliefs will be reduced, which affects all of us -- especially when beliefs impact the economics of all within the truth-seeking community.

Also, there will be an increase in respect, willingness to listen, and creativity in generating solutions. However, this will never happen successfully unless the egotism of the self is completely eliminated or minimized. I believe there is real truth in: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” and then “the truth will set you free."


  1. i really like this "timeline" of the life. the now what really struck me the most though. it seems that would be almost a perfect world with perfect doings yet of course, our egotism is in the way. i feel all things had road blocks that we usually face and climb, yet for some reason this one is much more difficult to conquer. i really enjoy that last quote as well and makes me feel that being you, being good, being honest will only lead to good karma which we can all benefit from.

  2. Being part of the truth-seeker community is a difficult community to be a part of. Not only must one struggle with the already instilled beliefs of truth that people already have but one must also be willing to scrutinize their own conceived notion of truth in order to find the absolute truth. Relative truth, or "decisions based on one’s perception of truth" as John has mentioned, are truths that are extremely difficult for someone to give up. Someone who grew up as a Buddhist in China has every right to believe in their way of spiritual thinking as opposed to someone who believe that natural disasters happen because the "gods have been angered." Regardless of where or how you are raised, in order to find absolute truth a human being must be willing to have an open-mind and take in many different opinions in order to find the real truth. As John mentions, "Seek out the opinions of others and explore the possibilities of the roots of others’ positions." What this really boils down to is that we should be willing to have an open mind to other's beliefs, without immediately labeling them as wrong, and by doing so we may, in turn, learn about a truth that may never would have appeared otherwise. If we can bring all of our relative truths together we may in turn find absolute truth and this will eventually lead us down a road of insight and creativity.