There’s true and there’s truth.
True is a bunch of facts – a news story rather than a new story. In the old days, life was very black and white so facts were an adequate component of a story. Our moral compass was clear. Things were right or wrong. The strong protect the weak. We had heroes and villains and both were easy to identify. Good guys were charming, educated and well dressed. Bad guys were aggressive, illiterate and looked like criminals.
We created rules – laws by which we could judge the bad guys and get justice for the good ones. So we could all sleep easy in our beds at night. So that things would be “fair.”
Things are no longer black and white.
In fact, fifty shades of grey is an apt metaphor for the times we live in.
As life becomes more complex, black and white laws are inadequate. Clever people break them with impunity. We can no longer tell who the bad guys are by the facts. Bankers broke no laws but we universally believe their behavior was “wrong”. Weakness can become a learned behavior, so we can no longer determine what is “fair” – who should be protected and who should be on the receiving end of some “tough love”.
Truth is something different from true.
It isn’t determined by facts, it’s determined by a sense of what is real. It resonates. It has a frequency. We say something has a “ring” of truth, rather than a checklist of ticked boxes.
Truth is something we need to work towards if we want to create a better world. And it’s not going to be easy, because it involves letting go of our carefully constructed lives to date.
The beauty and the purpose of stories.
Stories allow us to experiment in our mind with different ways of being.
Take the story of “The Hero’s Journey”. The protagonist might be old (Ulysses) or new (Steve Jobs) but the theme of the story is the same. An individual goes on a journey, is beset by challenges, problems and difficult circumstances, and triumphs in the end. Through reading these stories we can gain courage and motivation. We can imagine a different ending to our own particular problem. We can see it through a different lens – through the eyes of our chosen hero, whether that’s Steve Jobs, Luke Skywalker or Jesus.
In the same way, computer games can allow the experience of a different world. The avatar starts out not knowing anything, then through trial and error figures out better decisions, and so advances to higher levels. Of course, if we build a community of friends, they can tell us how to get past the pitfalls so we don’t have to fail at the same place and consign ourselves to endless reincarnations at the same level! (Ever had the “I’m sure I’ve been to this rodeo before” feeling?)
That’s why the new story has to be co-created rather than told.
The new story may not have all the facts in place. It may not even be true (at the beginning we will be making it up) but it will contain truth. It will be an exploration of how life could be.
As children, we wanted the world to be a safe place and we expected others to make it safe for us. As adults we need to realize that the world cannot be made safe, but the only thing we can do is build our ability to interact with it – the way that it is.
As children, we played with imaginary friends, not having sufficient verbal skills to communicate with real ones. As adults we like to interact with the world through the safety of a screen – perhaps we lack the emotional skills necessary to deal with the pain of the real world.
As children, we wanted the unknown filled with characters and events. We sparked our imagination by reading about an external world that was filled with pirates, mermaids, princesses, cowboys, soldiers, talking animals, and flying carpets. As adults, we need to realize that the reverse is true. All these characters are inside ourselves. There is nothing out there but pure possibility.
We will never have the unknown filled with anything but ourselves.
That’s quite a scary thought for an individual – one man against the elements; one warrior against the marauding hordes. But it’s quite an adventure for a group of like-minded friends.
From September I’ll be off in search of truth serum. In search of stories that can stimulate our imagination; that can foster belief in ourselves as humans; that can inspire us to let go of what we have, knowing that we can create something better.
A journey to discover…
What’s true? (we may have been rubbish with the economy, but we’re great at being economical with the truth!) and
What’s love… got to do, got to do with it.
Because we certainly want to avoid this scenario!!
I’ll be posting my findings here!