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Phillip Beaver

Citizen, Humankind

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Individually possessing the truth seems unworthy: understanding seems a nobler personal objective.

I once thought that by mastering the Word of God—studying the truth according to the Bible—my life would become its best. As time passed, the truth seemed unreachable: understanding became attractive.

For a trite example of understanding, everybody knows the sun doesn’t rise: Earth’s axial rotation reveals the sun in the morning and hides it in the evening. Yet, who’d debate Annie’s, “the sun’ll come up . . . tomorrow.”

It seems there are two quests for understanding: humankind’s ultimate quest and the individual’s lifetime quest. Humankind’s evolution involves over 100 billion humans and spans millions of years. Communications evolved—from motions; to grunts; to symbols; to language; to writing; to the world-wide web—perhaps during a million years. Considerations from before seem manifest in us. Yet humankind seems far from psychological maturity.

Society celebrates chronological age, but not psychological maturity. A person can enlist in armed services and vote at age 18; at age 21 legally consume alcohol in some societies; at age 25 enjoy cheaper auto insurance; and at age 63-68, retire. Age is rewarded, but almost no one promotes psychological maturity.

Quoting Professor Orlando Patterson, “Psychologically the ultimate human condition is to be liberated from all internal and external constraints in one's desire to realize one's self." We owe it to ourselves to want psychological maturity—to discover our preferences—to discover ourselves, understanding that the truth seems approachable yet perhaps unattainable.

Since we share uncertainty, we could understand each other, accepting that the truth knows no favorites.

General revision for clarification: 1/24/2012. See original statements, below.

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  • Jan 13 2012: Seeking truth and expressing truth is always worthwhile. TRUTH is powerful. You know it, when you utter it. Sometimes you know it, when you hear it. I believe there is a high correlation between truth and sanity/lies and insanity. Consider the people you know. I don't think there is anything more important in human relationships or in societies than truth. Truth works to achieve our positive goals. Truth is necessary for love.
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      Jan 13 2012: I appreciate your thoughts and instantly wanted to mimic them:

      Seeking understanding and expressing understanding is always worthwhile. Understanding is powerful. You know it, when you utter it. Sometimes you know it, when you hear it. I believe there is a high correlation between understanding and sanity/lies and insanity. Consider the people you know. I don't think there is anything more important in human relationships or in societies than understanding. Understanding works to achieve our positive goals. Understanding is necessary for love.
      • Jan 14 2012: So, Phillip, is this a form of plagiarism? Is this a form of flattery? Of course understanding is good. I would think that you would "understand" and acknowledge the importance of truth. I am puzzled that you do not. What good are communications that lack truth? Seems to me they are wasting people's time, energy and causing chaos. As I said elsewhere, I realize that living in freedom and truth requires courage, but the payoff is so huge that I am surprised you and others who may have experimented using truth in place of lies have not appreciated the value of truth in human life.
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          Jan 14 2012: The mimic is a literary art form and people are unlikely to mimic writing they do not appreciate. Also, I thought the result was meaningful or would not have shared it. By all means I did not lie when I wrote, "I appreciate your thoughts and instantly wanted to mimic them.”

          It seems to me we are using the phrase "the truth" with different meanings. It seems you are using it as integrity, whereas I am using it as reality. Understanding is necessary for integrity but reality merely is, regardless of the observer.

          I can't imagine how lies entered the conversation but am not among those who do not appreciate integrity in human life. I have written elsewhere in TED about the insufficiency of honesty (humankind needs integrity) and plan to create a TED conversation on that subject, but first wanted to have the present conversation: it seems the truth is unattainable but understanding is possible.

          I hope this helps.
      • Jan 16 2012: Thanks for your last few paragraphs.
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          Jan 16 2012: You are welcome, and thank you for meaningful dialogue.
      • Jan 17 2012: You are welcome. HAPPY TODAY.
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      Jan 14 2012: I would ask you to prove one truth in this world.
      • Jan 14 2012: One truth, Zacharia, is that you replied to a post I made in ted.com saying, "I would ask you to prove one truth in this world." That's the truth. Truth is everywhere for those who choose to behold it, express it, live it. Spend one day seekfinding truth, expressing truth only and just observe the results. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Truth can become a habit that yields spectacular results. You have infinite choice at every moment of time. May as well choose truth. Sometimes it takes courage, but it always leads to success in accomplishing any or all of your positive goals. Best wishes.
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          Jan 14 2012: We can't know that for sure, though. There are thousands of cases of people that our societies put in mental hospitals because they believe that this is some alternate reality, but what if they are right? And even if you don't believe they are, you can't deny that the human brain is more than capable of warping whatever reality is. You and I think that I actually said that, but what if we're sitting next to each other in some padded room in straight jackets mumbling about philosophy? Our minds have shown to be able to do exactly that.
      • Jan 16 2012: "We can't know that for sure, though." You know. I know. I am assuming we are both truthseekers. Seek truth/Find truth

        Suppose reality is neutral.................

        May as well choose to focus on the positive. It's a free country.

        Zacharia, I feel okay about you and I reaching different conclusions on this topic. Happy Today.
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          Jan 16 2012: Fair enough, I guess until you've experienced insanity it's hard to doubt what we view as reality, thus I shall too leave this happily at an impasse. (By the way Gaithersburg is a lovely town, and it's convenient that you can just hop the red line all the way into DC isn't it?)
      • Jan 17 2012: Gaithersburg is pretty cool. There is a MARC train that is handy for going to the train station in DC during the weekdays or to the red line. I acknowledge that I am automobile-oriented when it comes to local transportation.

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