Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Is that really true?

I believe that truth is not singular. While I came to the conclusion of things being in different shades of grey, and not black and white, much earlier, now I feel that even the interpretation of grey may vary. Simply put, what you believe is true (which is really a liberating thought and a great revelation for me). It is not about ignorance, it is about how we process information in our minds. All we have in this world are different perspectives and different interpretations, but not a single truth.

Our mind cannot process or grasp the flurry of information and knowledge that we come across daily in our lives. Out of so many elements surrounding us, only a few ‘stick’ in our minds. Everything else fails to register. In other words, we are almost like zombies walking in our own bubbles. We start noticing things that don’t concern us only when they actually start concerning us. Have you realized how you start seeing something everywhere once it has become a part of your life? For example, when I came back from Pondicherry, all I could see everywhere was references of the city – people visiting Pondicherry or someone mentioning the cafes there or just reading about it in some old magazine. Suddenly I started noticing Pondicherry everywhere. And then it all stopped, as suddenly as it had started. Another example would be how you start noticing your lover’s name or something to do with them everywhere once you have broken up. Haha. Now you know what I mean I guess.

It is not like these things didn’t exist before, or that only now they have become popular or visible. It is just your mind that has become more sensitive to that ‘element’. Coming back to what I was saying about truth – all that we have in our mind is an interpretation of something that we think is the truth. We make patterns of the different ‘elements’ we see around us and weave a story with that. I visualize all these elements as scattered particles. We pick and choose the particles that make sense to us and create a version of truth that we believe in. The particles that we decide to choose come from our history – the elements we have chosen in the past, how sticky they have been and how they have attracted other elements to it. And this is how we create what we call an experience and thus, a belief i.e. believing something to be true. Our experiences reinforce these beliefs and thus our version of truth is formed. In other words, sticky elements, scattered particles, keep coming together to make a solid rock. And that becomes our truth, our version of the story based on our experiences.

We can always only know some parts of the truth, or our interpretation of the truth. No story is complete unless you know all its dimensions. That is why we have so many retellings of the same story from the perspectives of the different characters (e.g. Ramayana from Sita’s point of view) and the essence and meaning of the story drastically changes. But in real life, we never really know all the sides of the truth, so all we are left with is what we think is the truth. A bit scary, isn’t it?

It is scary as well as liberating because on one hand it tells you that you really don't know anything but on the other hand it tells you that you just have to rewire your thinking to change your truth. Our mind works in random ways.


  1. That's called confirmation bias, isn't it? Do check out some work on these types of biases. Quite a few revelations on how our brain works!

    1. Yes, I was talking about confirmation bias. But what moved me more was the realisation that nothing is true.


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