There are three truths: one is based on authentic Being and is authentic truth, and the other two depend on necessity and practicality. The problems with the first, and authentic, truth are many. Firstly, it hides itself magnificently and questions the capabilities of our perception and reason. Yet its greatest draw back is that even if we could discover it, it may be of no practical use or of any good for us whatsoever (other than that we have discovered the “truth”).
Let us posit, as an example, that Parmenides truth is determined one day to be the authentic one. Parmenides deduced through reason and intuition that the universe is One. If we could re-debunk all refutations of Zeno’s paradoxes we will be on the right track to agreeing with Parmenides. Parmenides implied, and Zeno tried to prove, that motion is impossible in a universe which is One, because there is nowhere to move to. Space is full. There are no little voids for us to occupy. If we move then the whole universe must move with us. Of course this is absurd in terms of human experience, but that is because this authentic Being has nothing to do with human experience. If Parmenides were right, we would be living a Matrix kind of existence in which we confuse reality with something that is actually a complex fantasy generated by the enormous computer which is the universe itself. Seen in this way, our lives become a mere projection of possibility by the One which has infinite potential, but which is really nothing more than an enormous singularity.
This may be the authentic truth – it certainly is one of the many possible projections that stand as candidates for the post of authenticity. But the knowledge of it, whilst it might be spiritually uplifting, has very little, if any, practical use for most individuals – not least because all authentic truth lacks certainty of its very authenticity.
And so we need something else. A more personal truth that we can create our own personal paradigm around, that will help us make sense of the world perceived around us and guide our way through it. It is a truth that is in the most part created for us. We are taught it, and we absorb it through observation of the reality unfolding around us. It can be tainted with ideas of authentic truths as well. But it is never just a religion, it is one’s individual religion, and is expressed in the predicates of I am… statements as identity. It can be regarded as a life philosophy, and may be a balsam for the trauma of death. It may be based on an identity toward a much larger group and guided by a religiosity, a patriotism, or a deep class-consciousness. Or even by a complete rejection of one or more of those moulds. But in its essence it is individualistic pragmatism and is easily toughened into bigotry and egotistical chauvinism.
Which brings us to the third kind of truth. This is a kind of transcending of individual truth in search of greater, more universal pragmatism. The search arises whenever one finds a need to question the paradigms that have shaped one’s personal identity, but it’s more intensely felt when this need arises out of deep practical reasons as well. As is the search for authentic truth, this quest, which we will call the search for necessary truth, has to be an excavation, a tunnelling job, digging into the hidden spaces of the system in order to find the elementary dangers that our manipulators have hidden there.
In another sense it is the awakening of the marionette, who sees, for the first time, the strings that are pulled, and the first struggle must be the decision to cut those strings that hold one up. With the fear of falling, but also with the hope of relearning how to walk on one’s own, motivated by this new, necessary truth. A truth that is fuelled, not by bigotry, but by universal needs. The third truth is not concerned with the practicality of making my life better, but with making the world a better place to live in.