What If We Think Our Truths Are Right, But They Aren’t?
A discussion of disillusionment, betrayal, and doubt.
What happens when we base our life on rock-solid values, but see them weather under the winds of time? What happens when a believer refuses to question the existence of God when faced with injustice and meaningless suffering? What happens when an atheist sees evidence that life itself manifests something akin to divinity? What do we do when family we absolutely trust show hateful selfishness instead of loving kindness? When cherished leaders prove corrupt, or the news sources on which we rely are caught in lies, do we really want to hear about it?
We seem to live in a never-ending age of scandal. We see priests and Boy Scout leaders accused of pedophilia and their superiors hastily covering up rather than protecting the innocent. We see Presidents lying about abuse of office, wars, and genocide. Must we choose between what we see with our own eyes and what those we should trust tell us? What if those we count on to expose corruption have ulterior motives that darken, not illumine? Are we left with a poisonous snakepit of conspiracy theories and the gnawing feeling that no one remains who is worthy of our confidence?
Cinematic thrillers show a world where no one can be believed. We’re told, “The Truth Is Out There” — but where, exactly? If we believed in government would we watch the X-Files or Jason Bourne movies? Is such profound skepticism healthy for self-governance (not only politically but individually)? How do we find a basis for trust? Do we rely on reason but assume we can’t be fooled? Do we rely on assumptions but reason that we’re not a fool? Do we rely on tradition, which depends on frail mortals to uphold it? Tossed within the maelstrom, where, and what, is our rock?
How are we betrayed, by whom are we betrayed, and why? When we are betrayed, what do we do? Lash out in anger? Find a lawyer? Abandon the choice to trust? Resolve to “do better” next time? (But how?) Forgive? Forget? Keep swimming or sink into despair? Deny we were betrayed and cling to our betrayers? How do we find our way again? What even is the way? Conclude our life was a lie and much of what we did meaningless? Does recovery from betrayal make us strong or damage us forever?
Is looking inward and reconsidering part of growing up? Are we still children thinking of childish things if we don’t move beyond illusion? Is looking upon the soil onto which we were seeded a chance for epiphany, when all becomes clear? Does a drop of wisdom arise only from an ocean of mistakes — once we’ve exhausted the possibility of further error? When all else is proved false, is what remains finally, inevitably, truth? Or is even that small hope hoping for too much? What can be salvaged from the wreckage of past truths other than opportunities for more wreckage? Is there a way forward to construct a more genuine life, or are we left with only self-destruction? Should we take life less seriously? Maybe just do the best we can and do as little harm as possible?
COVID continues and we have out of town participants so we continue to meet by Zoom. The Zoom link is http://www.zoom.us/j/99973128471.