Truth vs. Society; Human Conceptions of Reality

The featured photo is not a flower. Allow me to explain what I mean by that.

In Western society, and especially in Western philosophy, we have a tendency to cling to labels, concepts, systemic structures, and social conventions as if they are the truth of our lives, in a kind of “this is what’s important” way of thinking. Necessarily, this distances us from the natural, the experiential, the real, and the expressive, preferring the secular over the sacred. Our constant attempts to categorize the universe and the various things that owe see happening within it leave us feeling as if there’s something missing. Many people find how to fill this perceived void through some sort of spiritual practice, but for others, this conventional interpretation of spirituality does not hold intrinsic meaning for them to cling to. In my understanding, it is because spirituality is much like Zen, not in the practices or traditional philosophies of it, but in the sense that it is a word for which we don’t know the reference. Things like spirituality, Zen, truth, and love have definitions and relations that are difficult to conceptualize because they reflect the least conceptual aspects of our lives. On the other hand, these concepts are the closest to objective reality. When you feel deep love, pure joy, and when you see expressions of beauty and truth, the emotional depth of these feelings seem to be the most real, most sacred, and most essential aspects of existence.

What is life worth if we forsake love, truth, and beauty. I don’t mean that we should center our lives and societies on these ideas alone, because the abstract concepts are illusions from the objective experiences, but we should never forget to note the remarkable influence and power of experience that these concepts refer to. In the West, we focus on the constructed and conventional. It’s neither difficult to see representations of that nor the harmful effects, but it has also allowed us to make great advances in the effectiveness of technology and to understand the dynamics of human experience through the manipulation of it in a systematize and standardized perspective. In truth, we know that people are too varied and subjective experience is too misunderstood to effectively standardize behavior and ideology in a way that removes the possibility of conflict, but, to put it more symbolically, Western society has been very preoccupied with putting things in the right boxes. The phenomenon referred to as some sort of mass awakening that we are experiencing in these years is likely a simultaneous realization that conceptual boxes we’ve been living in do not exist in reality, and the meaning, depth, and truth of experience is as essential to its core features as the mechanics of reality.


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