Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Pursuit of Truth

In studies of the phenomenon popularly referred to as “The Force”, serious adepts consider the attendant aspects of the practice, including the Ledi claims to be the guardians of truth, peace, and justice. It naturally follows, that Jedi studies consider the nature not only those ideals, but also our understanding of them. At the Jedi Academy, a series of lectures has been presented to students, including the search for truth. Richard Irvine, from the group called “Jedi Unity”, wrote from the perspective arguing that “we are all liars”, essentially putting up a front, a facade, to hide who and what we truly are. There is something to that, but his article presented only what I would call the negative aspects of truth, without considering the positive aspects of truth and the nobility of searching for it. I would like to address the good in searching for truth.

Some of my friends and readers may wonder why I am taking Jedi studies seriously. Perhaps I am a closet fanatic of the films? Perhaps the Texas sun has unhinged me slightly (in which case, some aspect of the Arizona sun may explain John McClain’s gradual change from noble veteran to egotistical demagogue)? Actually, I find that the Jedi studies, the ones which concern themselves with the basic ideals common to all humanity, which happened to be used to tell the Jedi story, are based on sound principles and genuine scholarship. More, Jedi students come from all walks and ages of life, including many people who have no intention of changing their faith or creed, but who are curious about why the Jedi code resonates for them. I invite you to consider the Jedi articles I write as philosophical inquiries, because that’s exactly their purpose.

Back to the pursuit of truth. When Jesus stood before Pilate, the Roman procurator for Judea, Pilate is said to have asked, “What is Truth?” While in Pilate’s case, he was probably not seeking a serious answer, the fact remains that people have been asking that question and others related to it for as long as humans have been able to speak. Socrates and Plato addressed it, as did Lao-Tse, Confucius, and Sun Tzu, and after them many other thinkers right up to the present day. The three largest religions practiced on the planet are based on the claim that they have received or discerned some or all of universal truth. Clearly, the pursuit of truth is a popular and significant activity for people, a compelling question which drives men to seek some sort of answer.

In his article accusing humans of a chronic condition of deceit, Richard Irvine noted that language is symbolism used for communication; to some degree we all miss the truth, in that our best efforts to describe a thought or concept, we must use the estimate created by language. That is not to say, however, that language cannot convey a concept accurately. If I draw a circle freehand, it will not be difficult for someone with a simple compass to show where I miss the curve, but that does not mean that someone looking at my drawing won’t recognize that I have tried to draw a circle. The intent can be conveyed, and if the intent is true, the truth can be so conveyed.

This brings up the craft of discernment. Men lie, and do so not only well and frequently, but also there are men who love and serve truth, come what may. The Jedi code is not only discovering the truth, but nurturing it and defending it, and convincing as many people as possible, that the truth is worthy of their support, not only as a practice to demand of leaders and speakers, but to develop and practice in their own lives.

This is a good thing, and worthy of honor.

No comments: