“If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?” [Dogen]

Truth: the actual state of a matter.  There has been a lot of talk about truth, how to find it and where it is.  Shoseki states that it “only reveals itself when one gives up all preconceived notions,” which makes sense.  Mark Twain famously agreed: It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.   That is why “it will never be possible by pure reason to arrive at some absolute truth,” like Werner Heisenberg says.

Moreover, even truth obtained can be a slippery slope for some.  After all, the truth leaves us feeling exposed and raw.  Alexander Solzhenitsyn reminds us, “We do not err because truth is difficult to see.  It is visible at a glance.  We err because this is more comfortable.”

To combat this discomfort, we must always be working towards authenticity — that is, truthfulness of origins, attributions, commitments, sincerity, devotion and intention.  Because “truth is such a rare thing, it is delightful to tell it,” says Emily Dickinson.  By being an authentic person, you “let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?” (Fanny Brice)

Seth Godin makes the excellent point that authenticity is probably closer to doing what you promsie than being who you are (he says: You could spend your time wondering if what you say you are is really you. Or you could just act like that all the time).  That makes so much sense that everybody seems to say it, from Fanny Brice to Mark Twain, who is the original version of the pearl of wisdom “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything” — oft-borrowed by Judge Judy.

Telling the truth is a step towards honesty, which is a facet of moral character — being upright, fair, sincere, frank, and free from deceit and fraud.  This is so important, because, as a Russian proverb seeks to remind us, “with lies you may get ahead in the world — but you can never go back.”

Seek to live in an authentic, honest place.  Choose truth (unless you get asked if your girlfriend looks fat, guys).

 

Be what you are.  This is the first step toward becoming better than you are.
Julius Charles Hare

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