Monday, March 19, 2012

Depth Perception

One of my great teachers used to say that we are two eyed for a reason; depth perception is one aspect of discretion, which is, or maybe I should say can be, one of our most noble talents. The elements and natural forces are "one-eyed" or so she said. The element of air can be the softest breeze or a hurricane and indeed it doesn't seem that the elements or natural forces ever practice discretion, nor does Brother Wind ever wonder about truth.

What is truth? I ask that question often. Do you know? Neurological researchers tell us that our little buddy the hypocampus decides for each individual what is real, what is true, subsequently creating what they call the "best possible story" for the conscious function. This best possible story is based on sensory data, but also on memory, and according to each individual's values. There is no one objective truth.

But wait, there is! The sun will rise every day, that's true and also real. Except it isn't actually rising, the earth is turning towards our brother Sol. I could keep tripping down this path, but I'm sure you see where I'm going. Truth, reality, is pretty darn slippery, and there are many different kinds of truths.

I'm thinking about dishonesty today, because of provocative comments on yesterday's post. I appreciate the thoughtfulness and different points of view! That's THE TRUTH.

Everybody lies, though often it's not on purpose. Denial - for instance - is dishonesty that protects the denier. At some point, in some situations, we "break" denial. Some call those moments revelation, epiphany. Sometimes the shock of a brand new truth is very unpleasant. The way individuals deal with denial and its breakage says so much about their characters.

In relationships of all kinds, we practice diplomatic dishonesty in many different forms. Out of balance, diplomatic dishonesty becomes codependence, one of the most unhealthy types of controlling behavior, I think. It can also go out of balance in the other direction. I am no fan of radical honesty. I've seen people use that excuse to say the most hurtful things you can imagine. Part of being two-eyed means we can think before we speak. Well, we can, even though sometimes it's difficult. We can ask ourselves what we hope to accomplish by saying whatever it is that's tickling our throats, rattling the voicebox in its eagerness to get out. What I really dislike about radical honesty is the idea that we should never filter what we say. Should we say everything? To what end?

Is dishonesty by omission a lie?

As you can see, I've got a lot of questions circling around my head and heart this morning. What is your truth?


Rebecca Clayton said...

The neurologists' hippocampus description sounds like a tiny scientist, using Occam's razor to evaluate information and choose the best hypothesis for for further testing. Projection, anyone?

What is real, and what is true, and what is right? And why am I running into these impossible questions everywhere I turn right now? Do you suppose it's something in the air?

I need orange said...

I totally love your pics of reflections on cars.

And that's the truth.


Reya Mellicker said...

Ha! It sure does, Rebecca.

According to the astrologers, this is what Mars retrograde does to us. I'm all for blaming it on the planets.

Thanks Orange!

Cyndy said...

When a person is in a state of denial, it seems like it would be nearly impossible to communicate honestly with others. I guess that being honest with yourself is the starting point. But there are so many different ways of looking at things! That's what keeps life interesting. I love this topic!

And the actual truth, which varies considerably from one person to the next, is highly influenced by what the person BELIEVES to be true.

Where am I? Am I really here? HaHaHa!!!

Deliberate dishonesty ranges from trying to not hurt someone's feeling, to control-freak narcissism, and beyond. It's not all bad, but some of it is very very bad. That's my truth and I'm sticking to it.