Over the past few weeks, watching Donald Trump start a dangerous and painful period in human history, one of the most difficult things for many to grapple with has been the search for the truth. In classic narcissist behaviour, Trump and his team have used a number of techniques to manipulate, hide, and alter information to leave a largely confused population scrabbling to establish just what the truth is. It’s a cruel and masterful control tactic. It creates confusion, fear and division as the various factions fight to defend the position that, in their belief, is the truth. Perhaps what we need to learn to understand, is that the most powerful word in the previous sentence is not truth, but belief.
The Truth in relation to fact, is a rare thing and sometimes not as valuable as we think it should be. The Truth in relation to honesty, has a huge value, but more in terms of the honesty itself, than in what it may reveal. Because the truth is, we each have our own truth. And it becomes our truth, because we have been conditioned for it to be so. I have been blessed (and cursed) with a brain that always wanted to know the real truth, to find the answer. And then a few years ago my wife died – and I was faced with the truths and the questions that I would raise, but for which I could find no answer. About the meaning of life, about God, about death. And I kept on trying to find some answers, until I finally realised that there were none and that were no truths – and if there had been, they would have been irrelevant. What mattered, were my beliefs.
Trump’s fake news, alternative facts and misinformation have brought that period of search back to me. And it made me think about the nature of truth in our lives. Trump is certainly not the first US President or World leader to use the tactics of fear and confusion – far from it, though he is probably one of the least subtle! So I thought about history in general; that we learn about history from the records and from our teachers, we accept what we are told as fact. But actually, all that we have most of the time, is a perception of what happened from one or more persons point of view. A record gleaned from someone having being there and witnessed some part of it, or having seen a photograph or unearthed a relic from the past. But because we receive this information from people or records that we respect, we accept it as truth. But really, it was only their truth. Just like Chinese whispers, that truth has been handed down and reconceived, polished, altered based on the viewpoint of others.
But we do not have to accept the truth of others.
We can hold on to our own truth, or we can choose to change it if we encounter a viewpoint that affects our understanding. But it is often futile to spend time trying to find “the real truth”. More often than not it either does not exist or is irrelevant.
So what really matters is what you believe. And whatever you believe, remain true to it. And know that you cannot change the beliefs of others. What you can do, is talk about, practice and reinforce your own beliefs. In doing so, you may influence others, but change will be of their own will, not because you tried to control or have power over them. Trump does not care that we might be saying negative things about him, he does not care that he gets caught out in a lie, all that matters is that we keep talking about it – because that distracts us from the reality and keeps us from focusing on our beliefs and making progress with our own agendas. Which is exactly what it wants, to take away our freedom of thought. The way to take that power and control away from him is to stop seeking the truth about what he and his team say and concentrate on your own truth and your own beliefs and upholding them. You are one of many. The force of good in this World far outweighs the force of evil. There obviously have to be controls to deal with extreme and harmful situations, but in my view, the general balance is better cultivated by simply concentrating on upholding the beliefs that you believe to be good.
I can tell you this for sure; that when I looked into the eyes of my wife and saw the light leave her as she passed from this life , the only things she took with her were love and the knowledge that she lived her life fully and being true to herself. And in the end, that was all that mattered.
I have no idea how Trump’s Presidency will ultimately be recorded in history, but what I do believe is that he will teach the world some very important lessons, about the real nature of truth and freedom. And one of those lessons will be to stop trying to find the truth, it is a diversionary tactic that confuses and controls. Instead, think about your own beliefs. Live them, share them and be honest and true to them. The Universe will do the rest.