Consider for a moment that truth is at the source of all things; that nothing can exist without some degree of truth. Even the truth that a thing can exist, must precede its existence, kind of like a seed. Only that which is primarily true can “live” (continue to increase in function) while that which is and remains primarily “false” must eventually die (continue to decrease in function). Such only live now because of the truth once had and can only live on if more truth is obtained.
Function is the collection of synergised truths. Like a branch is made of wood, or molecules made of atoms, function is made of truth. When the right truths are collated that work together in a particular way, they become capable of producing a particular function. To the extent any part isn’t true, you’ll experience some degree of dysfunction.
A great example I often think of is martial arts. Martial arts techniques are all somebody’s attempt to focus on what specific movements and positions are most likely to give somebody the advantage in very specific situations while engaged in physical combat. Generally speaking with all other factors being equal, whoever trained with the “more true/correct” assumption, wins. There’s going to be reasons why one technique is ‘more true’ than another, even if no individual one is completely perfect, there will be sound logic behind each selection. Those positions and movements are often known mentally, before they’re known physically, but such isn’t always the case. We can physically rehearse things we don’t mentally understand just like we can understand things we don’t physically rehearse (more of that to come in book #4: Edifying Commitment). Understanding is the function produced from adding those truths to our mind through study. Instinctive repetition is the function produced from adding those truths to our physical body through rehearsal. In martial arts adding truth to our body is debatably more important than adding them to our mind, as the body is the one that will need to do the work when the time comes, but adding the truth to both is obviously ideal.
Another example is compiling the truths relative to internal combustion in order to create an engine. It’s true that compressing air creates energy, electricity can start fires, petrol burns, certain metals can withstand that heat, exploding energy can be housed and focused with momentum redirected, and certain dimensions make this more/less ideal etc. The complete function of an engine made available by compiling a specific combination of truths. If any one of the parts were false, ‘petrol doesn’t burn’ for example, the whole either wouldn’t work as well, or wouldn’t work at all. Each part needs to be individually true, having it’s own or proof of validity (ie function) in and of itself, in order for it to then be synergised with other truths to provide some even greater function. Like internal combustion is a primary part of engines and engines are a primary part of cars.
It’s like all the parts that make “internal combustion” are what make “the spirit of an engine”. The blueprints of how all the separate truths can come together to produce the end result. The spirit of anything, therefore, being the compilation of the relevant truths acquired to build/reproduce that thing. Spirit of country music, spirit of rodeos, spirit of racing, UFC, cooking, gardening, rock-climbing, football, marketing, everything houses some kind of recipe or formula. Ask 100 people to explain any of these things and you’re going to find most of the repeating patterns and themes. The general make-up, the required elements and the byproducts/results of that specific combination are its ‘spirit’.
A great thing about blueprints and formulas though, is that they can be improved. When something isn’t working quite right, or even if we just want some particular part to work better, we can experiment with the formula to try and find better ways of doing things. We can change formulas to improve function. That might involve adding more truth, removing something not quite true, or maybe just replacing something that is true, with something that is more true, perhaps. Maybe both 98 and 91 octane fuels work for your car, but maybe 98 works better. Maybe 95 more than 98. Maybe none and you learned the hard way you’ve got a diesel. Point being we can and should study truth (especially if we’re unsure what fuel goes in our go-go-mobile), we can also experiment with it, and through doing so we can increase in function.
I propose that truth is at the source, or is the core, of all things, including us. It is our centre, our main engine room. Truth being the makeup of function, we can increase the function of our being by adding truth to each of part of our being. Doing so is like when we find a new tool, toy or gadget that is instantly followed by an racing mind to the various possibilities of application. Our mind begins conjuring up all the different functions it could perform, or the many ways we could use it to our advantage. The newly acquired truth illuminates the paths of possibility. For this reason truth itself is a light. That light is often illuminating ‘newly perceived potential’. Since the more truth had, the more clearly one can see, we should, at all times, be aiming to embody life’s greatest truths, to maximise the extent of our vision.
For just a moment, imagine yourself to be a tool-box of truth. Your being is a truth-box. Each truth you house is a separate tool. Some cost you more to acquire, some you got for free, some you borrowed and never returned, some perform many functions and some might only perform one very unique function etc. You have a lot of tools, but it’s unlikely that you have all the tools.
Now just as there’s tools and master tools, there’s truths and master truths. Virtues are a good example as we already consider them within the context of character-related tools. Kindness will win you more hearts than cruelty, diligence accomplish more goals than slothfulness, patience help you survive long journeys, temperance to not buckle under pressure, humility to keep you learning etc. ‘Virtues’ are some of the master-truths we can house in ourselves. These are tools that provide an extremely wide variety of function and are usable in many common situations. Whichever tools allows you to perform the greatest number of functions effectively, the more valuable the tool, the more valuable the truth.
The wider range of circumstances an individual can be in or length of time one can be exposed to difficult circumstances and the individual remain functional, the more truth evidently housed in their being.
How functional we are in life can indicate what truth/tools we have and more importantly, how effectively we can use them. Sometimes we just don’t have the right tools and that can become self-evident as we ‘lash out’ in dysfunction when put in difficult situations. Sometimes we have all the right tools, but lack the experience or know-how and remain just as dysfunctional. However, when we have the tools and know how to use them, very difficult circumstances can become simple and sometimes even fun and exciting problem-solving exercises. Especially for those with a great truth-box and plenty of experience, big challenges and great opportunities can become mostly synonymous.
Now all circumstances aren’t equal. Some circumstances are more valuable to be functional in than others, due to their applicability or frequency of use. Surviving Everest in a healthy end-state, for example, is obviously great! That person clearly houses a long list of wonderful truths like perseverance, determination, patience, commitment and so on. A wonderful feat. Surviving an argument with your spouse in a healthy end-state however, might be even better, depending on which of the two you’re likely to face again in the future and how often. ‘Getting through Tough Mudder’ -Fantastic! Enduring kids tantrums without joining them at all, possibly more important.
Remember it’s not about one INSTEAD of the others. It’s all of the above, just prioritised to what we personally believe to be more important and useful. What’s going to be the most helpful now and in the long run? Whichever truth will help the most to minimise dysfunctional damage, for you in your circumstances, is likely a winner and worthy of prioritisation. Niche tools that only perform one function but one that no other tool can do, can be extremely valuable. But only when you reach a point where you have niche needs. And when you reach that point, are you trading in or selling all your general purpose tools? Or does that seem silly? In most cases we shouldn’t need to throw out any truth, to make room for more, but we may need to reassess or retest the function of the truths we have, to ensure they remain functional. This is often the case when we find a new tool, because such can sometimes be improved versions of old ones that have become dated or obsolete and then have to be reassessed for accuracy, helpfulness and function.
At the end of the day we should aim for a truth-box tool-box that’s most likely going to be most valuable in the greatest number of circumstances, based on our unique current situation. Once we’re comfortable we’ve got that covered, and have proven masters of those tools, perhaps then it becomes wiser to start going niche?
Edification is about increasing our capacity to be good by increasing our capacity to consistently do good. As discussed in continuums of being, there is a mode of experimentation of truth, that theoretically allows any of us to become nearly anything we genuinely want to be. How genuine we are being measured by how thoroughly we are willing to experiment with any particular truth, from within to without ourselves. Now is the time for you to decide which truth, which virtue, which attribute should you be experimenting with next? Love? Patience? Focus? Which tool is the most likely to help manage whatever dysfunction you may be currently experiencing? Do you struggle with listening? understanding? prioritising? What truth will maximise your capacity to function going forward?
I can’t answer that question for you but I can certainly help you answer it for yourself. It can take less than 20 minutes, if we’re trying to be precise. The currently free “3D LifeSpan” experience aims at helping people do exactly that, amongst other things. Book a time to chat now if you think it might be helpful for you.