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All rituals are paradoxical and dangerous enterprises, the traditional and improvised, the sacred and the secular. Paradoxical because rituals are conspicuously artificial and theatrical, yet designed to suggest the inevitability and absolute truth of their messages. Dangerous because when we are not convinced by a ritual we may become aware of ourselves as having made them up, thence on the paralyzing realization that we have made up all our truths; our ceremonies, our most precious conceptions and convictions – all are mere inventions.
Pure photography allows us to create portraits which render their subjects with absolute truth, truth both physical and psychological. That is the principal which provided my starting point, once I had said to myself that if we can create portraits of subjects that are true, we thereby in effect create a mirror of the times in which those subjects live.
Prayer is that which enables the soul to realize its divinity. Through prayer human beings worship absolute truth, and seek an eternal reward. Prayer is the foundation-stone of religion; and religion is the means by which the soul is purified of all that pollutes it. Prayer is the worship of the first cause of all things, the supreme ruler of all the world, the source of all strength. Prayer is the adoration of the one whose being is necessary.
It takes a fearless, unflinching love and deep humility to accept the universe as it is. The most effective way he knew to accomplish that, the most powerful tool at his disposal, was the scientific method, which over time winnows out deception. It can’t give you absolute truth because science is a permanent revolution, always subject to revision, but it can give you successive approximations of reality.
Meanwhile, their [evolutionists] unproven theories will continue to be accepted by the learned and the illiterate alike as absolute truth, and will be defended with a frantic intolerance that has a parallel only in the bigotry of the darkest Middle Ages. If one does not accept evolution as an infallible dogma, implicitly and without question, one is regarded as an unenlightened ignoramus or is merely ignored as an obscurantist or a naive, uncritical fundamentalist.
When you put relative and absolute truth together and they become one unit, it becomes possible to make things workable. You are not too much on the side of absolute truth, or you would become too theoretical. You are not too much on the side of relative truth, or you would become too precise. When you put them together, you realize that there is no problem.
Do you call it doubting to write down on a piece of paper that you doubt? If so, doubt has nothing to do with any serious business. But do not make believe; if pedantry has not eaten all the reality out of you, recognize, as you must, that there is much that you do not doubt, in the least. Now that which you do not at all doubt, you must and do regard as infallible, absolute truth.
Deceit for personal gain is one of history’s most recurring crimes. Man’s first step towards change would be thinking, counter-arguing, re-thinking, twisting, straightening, perfecting, then believing every original idea he intends to make public before making it public. There is always an angle from which an absolute truth may appear askew just as there is always a personal emotion, or a personal agenda, which alienates the ultimate good of mankind.
From the viewpoint of absolute truth, what we feel and experience in our ordinary daily life is all delusion. Of all the various delusions, the sense of discrimination between oneself and others is the worst form, as it creates nothing but unpleasantness for both sides. If we can realize and meditate on ultimate truth, it will cleanse our impurities of mind and thus eradicate the sense of discrimination. This will help to create true love for one another. The search for ultimate truth is, therefore, vitally important.
He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.
Let every one of us cultivate, in every word that issues from our mouth, absolute truth. I say cultivate, because to very few people – as may be noticed of most young children – does truth, this rigid, literal veracity, come by nature. To many, even who love it and prize it dearly in others, it comes only after the self-control, watchfulness, and bitter experience of years.
(Because) the notion of absolute truth is difficult to sustain outside the context of religion, ethical conduct is not something we engage in because it is somehow right in itself but because, like ourselves, all others desire to be happy and to avoid suffering. Given that this is a natural disposition, shared by all, it follows that each individual has a right to pursue this goal. Accordingly, I suggest that one of the things which determines whether an act is ethical or not is its effect on others’ experience or expectation of happiness.
All mass movements strive, therefore, to interpose a fact-proof screen between the faithful and the realities of the world. They do this by claiming that the ultimate and absolute truth is already embodied in their doctrine and that there is no truth nor certitude outside it. The facts on which the true believer bases his conclusions must not be derived from his experience or observation but from holy writ.
The capacity to tolerate complexity and welcome contradiction, not the need for simplicity and certainty, is the attribute of an explorer. Centuries ago, when some people suspended their search for absolute truth and began instead to ask how things worked, modern science was born. Curiously, it was by abandoning the search for absolute truth that science began to make progress, opening the material universe to human exploration.
The possible truths, hazily perceived in the world of abstraction, like those inferred from observation and experiment in the world of matter, are forced upon the profane multitudes, too busy to think for themselves, under the form of Divine revelation and scientific authority. But the same question stands open from the days of Socrates and Pilate down to our own age of wholesale negation: is there such a thing as absolute truth in the hands of any one party or man?
There is nothing more necessary than truth, and in comparison with it everything else has only secondary value. This absolute will to truth: what is it? Is it the will to not allow ourselves to be deceived? Is it the will not to deceive? One does not want to be deceived, under the supposition that it is injurious, dangerous, or fatal to be deceived.
A rising mass movement attracts and holds a following not by its doctrine and promises but by the refuge it offers from the anxieties, barrenness and meaningless of an individual existence. It cures the poignantly frustrated not by conferring upon them an absolute truth or by remedying the difficulties and abuses which made their lives miserable, but by freeing them from their ineffectual selves and it does this by enfolding and absorbing them into a closely knit and exultant corporate whole.
Proselytizing is more a passionate search for something not yet found than a desire to bestow upon the world something we already have. It is a search for a final and irrefutable demonstration that our absolute truth is indeed the one and only truth. The proselytizing fanatic strengthens his own faith by converting others.
There is no such thing as absolute truth and absolute falsehood. The scientific mind should never recognise the perfect truth or the perfect falsehood of any supposed theory or observation. It should carefully weigh the chances of truth and error and grade each in its proper position along the line joining absolute truth and absolute error.
Woe to the suicides! I believe that there can be none more miserable than they. Oh, there are some who remain proud and fierce even in hell, in spite of their certain knowledge and contemplation of the absolute truth; there are some fearful ones who have given themselves over to Satan and his proud spirit entirely. For such, hell is voluntary and ever consuming; they are tortured by their own choice. For they have cursed themselves, cursing God and life. And they will burn in the fire of their own wrath forever and yearn for death and annihilation. But they will not attain to death.
Errors and exaggerations do not matter. What matters is boldness in thinking with a strong-pitched voice, in speaking out about things as one feels them in the moment of speaking; in having the temerity to proclaim what one believes to be true without fear of the consequences. If one were to await the possession of the absolute truth, one must be either a fool or a mute. If the creative impulse were muted, the world would then be stayed on its march.
I saw one of the absolute truths of this world: each person is worrying about himself; no one is worrying about you. He or she is worrying about whether you like him, not whether he likes you. He is worrying about whether he looks prepossessing, not whether you are dressed correctly. He is worrying about whether he appears poised, not whether you are. He is worrying about whether you think well of him, not whether he thinks well of you. The way to be yourself … is to forget yourself.
A modern theory of knowledge which takes account of the relational as distinct from the merely relative character of all historical knowledge must start with the assumption that there are spheres of thought in which it is impossible to conceive of absolute truth existing independently of the values and position of the subject and unrelated to the social context.