According to Wikipedia, Truth is defined as "being in accord with fact or reality," or in modern terms it can also be "truth of self, or "authenticity." Nietzsche suggested that Western intellectual tradition has at it's heart "an ancient metaphysical belief in the divinity of truth," though the term metaphysical implies an inquiry into what that might mean. I am reminded of the Zen monk who dreamed that he was a butterfly, and upon awakening didn't know if he was a monk who had dreamed that he was a butterfly, or whether he was a butterfly who was dreaming that he was a monk.
But, perhaps, it is time to set metaphysics aside. If truth has been the basis of society for at least a couple of thousand years, don't we, each of us, in our hearts, know what it is?
As a metaphor, let me remind you of something that happened to me about this time last year. I purchased a plant called Helleborus from a local shop. It had buds on it, and I suggested to the clerk that it was ready to bloom. He said: "Oh, no, it won't bloom yet." Now the fact was that I had others at home that were in fact blooming. I didn't say that, but I also know that I hate being told that what I perceive is not true. So today, all I have to do is step outside of my home, and see a half dozen Helleborus blooming as the above photo will attest.
This is a rather small thing. Let's look at something that is not so small, such as mandatory vaccination. I am not saying that you are mistaken in your belief that vaccinations prevent disease. I am okay with you believing whatever you believe. I am saying that vaccinations have made many gravely ill, and there remains a question as to their effectiveness. To force vaccination is Draconian. A better approach might be let's have a closer look at what is in a vaccine, and not force anyone to take it.
Another example is trying to rid society of violence by taking guns from responsible citizens, when it is not they who are committing the crimes, and during a time when it becomes increasingly necessary to protect yourself and family. And yet, is it not a higher truth that we, as a society, would be better off without guns.
Here is more of the problem. As long as there has been society, that society has felt the need to govern itself. There have been many kinds of government from totalitarian to democracy, obviously the most desired where decision making remains in the hands of the people. Yet, this is never quite the case. It seems that governing always provides the opportunity for a strong man or group to gain control. The dominant tool for maintaining control has then become propaganda, a biased or misleading form of communication. In our century, this could just as easily be called mendacity, or deception or deceit. Lying becomes truth and truth becomes lying. This is reverse Kundalini where the world, or creation is turned upside down. Lying is seen as admirable and telling the truth is seen as weakness. Think Klingons. Here though, is another truth, none of this makes it so. You can hide the truth, or hide from it, but you cannot destroy it. You can tell lies, but you cannot make a lie true, just like the Helleborus, which blooms when it blooms, truth simply is so.
Deception, however, is currently the nature of our politics, or as Goebbels said: "If you tell a lie big enough, and keep repeating it, people will eventually believe it. We can think of so many examples-Bush's military service, the weapons of mass destruction, etc.
Perhaps a bigger problem, not only do we lie to each other, we lie to ourselves. We lie about the day and means of our death, which is understandable. It would be very difficult getting through a day thinking continuosly that we could die at any moment. But how about the many lies woven together that have created this thing I call "me," or "I?" That I am loving and kind, when I often am not, that I am one of the good guys, an American, when often we are not. This is called my persona, my belief system based upon how I identify myself, with my thinking-faulty, with my feelings-unreliable, with my body-impermanent.
And regardless of how we identify ourselves, I believe each of us in our own way, knows the truth, and though it is under valued and often hidden, it remains our guiding light.
There are many who believe that mankind is at a crossroads. Imagine that we now have a choice between reaching the next stage of evolution, a massive expansion of consciousness, or anarchy, and that evolution/devolution is directly proportional to our ability to tell the truth.
Suppose that there was one truth that each of us needed to tell, each needed to acknowledge, a truth that might make all of the difference in the world.