I have had some interesting conversations recently that gave me pause. You see, I have friends on both sides of the proverbial “aisle” with others who choose not to engage in a system of duality. In other words, I know a lot of people with differing perspectives… and they all believe they’re right. But they can’t all be right, can they? No. And yes.
It’s an age-old conundrum proven time and time again in various experiments: show two people the same thing and you’ll get two different explanations of what they saw.
(This is my favorite illustration of this concept. I don’t know who created it, but it’s genius!)
I remember seeing a video on this concept when I was in school. They had 9 “witnesses” to a crime on a street corner. They told all 9 people that they would be witnessing something before it ever happened. Then they asked all 9 people to share what they saw. Big surprise: there were 9 different versions, with a hint of overlap. But who was wrong and who was right? Was anyone a liar? The short answer is: they were all “right” and nobody was lying.
We all – all – have our own versions of the truth. Truth and fact are not the same. Fact is objective and verifiable or quantifiable. Truth can be subjective. Ask two people why they broke up or ended their relationship, and you’ll get two different answers – both correct. The “fact” would be that the relationship ended. The “truth” is dependent on who you’re asking.
So, what does this mean? Should we trust liars? Or… is nobody actually a liar? No, that’s not how it works. There are facts, and facts are verifiable. If someone lies about a fact, it’s not their “version of the truth,” but a lie. This is clear, and everyone can make up their own minds on who they want to trust and why.
What the personalization of truth means is that we are each responsible for understanding what’s true for ourselves, and listening to what’s true for others, and then seeking out the facts. The problem arises when we put forth our own “truth” as “the” Truth. Yikes!
If we have an agenda, or a “side,” then we are in our own personal truth, not a higher truth. And that’s okay; in fact, I see it daily. Everybody’s truth matters… as long as it’s not espoused as “the” truth or being imposed on others.
If, however, we want to go beyond facts to wisdom or a higher truth, then we need to be incredibly clear. Because Truth and Wisdom are found only when we are free from judgment, free from invested belief. The Truth carries no subjectivity, only neutrality, and always exists… usually just beyond our belief systems and comfort zone. And yet, it’s one of the most comfortable places you can ever find yourself, because it wants nothing from you – it’s neutral. And, subsequently, empowering.