I used to be such a big believer in absolute truth. I would fight to find the actual story and wouldn’t rest until I uncovered the real truth. However, lately, my feelings have changed, and I no longer believe there is such a thing as truth.
What Waco Taught Me
I recently watched the Waco story on Showtime and the Waco: The Aftermath mini-series. Both are dramatizations of the Waco siege, and aftermath pulled from two books. One was written by David Thibodeau (a member of the Branch Davidians and one of the only survivors) and the other by an FBI negotiator Gary Noesner who was on the scene until just before the FBI breached the compound.
As I watched part I, I took the story at face value. The guy who wrote the book was there, so I figured it was accurate. Then I started to see minor inconsistencies between what I saw and what people said was happening. Was I misinterpreting the facts?
Then I moved on to the Aftermath piece, which became complete chaos. The stories were all over the map. Even people in the same group saw things so differently. It was tough to get a grasp on what was going on and what the reality was. But it prompted me to think about things differently.
Truth is Entirely Relative
As I watched two different people tell very different stories about the same events, it occurred to me., that these people really believed their version. One guy swears David Koresh smirked at him, and what I saw in the dramatization (based on the member’s book) was a man concerned for women’s and children’s wellbeing. So, who is right?
They both are. Every person experiences things differently. We create our own reality through our thoughts and beliefs, so there is no actual truth. One size does not fit all. Each person believes 100% that how they saw it was how it happened. How they lived it becomes their actual reality. Therefore, unless you could go back in time and experience exactly what that person did, you can never know their truth, only your own.
Truth in Society
Our world today is filled with hate and opposing sides. But if you think about it, there can never be a solution to the problem if everyone is holding fast to their “truth,” and there is none.
The only way to find peace is to loosen your grip on the belief that there is one truth, and you must find and prove it. If you accept that the other person experienced it very differently and they believe it wholeheartedly, it’s easier to let it go and stop fighting over things that won’t matter in the end.
The Elusive Truth
Last week I wrote a blog entitled “It Just Doesn’t Matter.” My boyfriend read it and loved it. Later as we were driving around the beach, he mentioned that it was funny that I used this specific word which was inaccurate. I sat there for a minute thinking about it. I didn’t remember using that word at all. But it made me feel uncomfortable. I took it for granted that he was right, and I must have made a mistake.
Later I went back and read the blog to find that word to correct it. It wasn’t there. He was 100% sure he saw it in two different sentences, and it wasn’t even there. That is an excellent example of there being no absolute truth. While reading it, he must have seen and experienced that word, but later it did not exist. Perhaps it only existed for him, and he could see it, but I couldn’t because I didn’t believe it was there.
It’s interesting to think about a reality that is so malleable that two people or even 100 could experience the same thing so differently. It happens all the time. A good reminder is not to trust what you see and hear too much. It may just be your customized version of the truth.
I think it’s good to remember that so we can find more compassion and understanding instead of fighting so hard for this elusive truth that doesn’t even exist.