Monday, June 24, 2013

Limitations on Truth: Delirium

We humans face limitations as we seek to understand the truth. We bother with the truth because knowing and affirming the truth frees us to love and leads us into fullness of life.

The first limitation confronts us through no fault of our own. It is the limitation to understanding imposed by the inescapable simplicity of our thinking. Our thinking can never be complex enough to comprehend society, creation, or even ourselves, let alone God.

This is not to say that there is no point in improving the complexity of our thought. Truth, better understood, frees us for greater love and fuller life. The point is to avoid confusing the limited truth we do know with the whole truth which lies far beyond our limitations.

In addition to this limitation on truth which we face by nature, we also face limitations because of our sinfulness. One such limitation is a chronic bias toward ourselves and against others. Let us broaden that category to include all forms of self-deception. We also limit our understanding of truth because of our desperate need to conform. Delirium is a third way in which our sinfulness limits our understanding of truth.

We may define delirium as emotional intensity combined with stubborn irrationality. We may think of our emotions as ranging from intensely positive, through a mid-point of neutral indifference, to intensely negative. Emotional intensity, whether positive or negative, blinds us to alternative understandings of truth. When we combine that blindness with stubborn refusal to consider any understanding of the truth but our own, we again run into serious trouble.

This delirium, by the way, is one mark of our thralldom, our being enthralled, our being under the spell of the gods. Let’s take politics for example. In political discussions we often quickly become delirious: emotionally intense and stubbornly irrational. That delirium both limits our understanding of the truth and also marks the discussion as one controlled by Jupiter god of politics.

Delirium also perpetually marks our discussions about war, technology, sex, money, and consumption. In other words, it habitually marks all our discussions on topics associated with the Olympian gods.

While truth is a wonder to behold, we face serious challenges in doing so. One is no fault of our own: the inescapable simplicity of our thought. Other limitations we absurdly add to make our lives more challenging than they need to be: self-deception, desperate conformity, and delirium.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.