Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Truth vs Falsehood

I've been reading (laboriously) a book by M.D. & Ph.D. David R. Hawkins titled "Truth vs Falsehood -- How to Tell the Difference." It is quite a compelling 500 page thesis on Truth and Reality, the science of the evolution of consciousness (a.k.a enlightened awareness) and how to distinguish between fact and fiction in a world in which the paradigm is proving unreliable. The desire of the author is to discover the core and essence of Truth itself and how it can be "recognized, expressed, and defined".

Dr. Hawkins is of the opinion that until now, humanity has been "like a sailor at sea without a compass by which to discern truth from falsehood". The good doctor claims that the foundation in beginning to recognize truth and reality is by first accepting that truth "is actually a variable relative to an ABSOLUTE (caps mine) constant".

Hawkins asks if truth can be discovered solely through the scientific method, agreeing that the essential requirements of science consists of "an organized body of confirmable information that is comprehensible, logical, and replicable". Or, what we call theory and testable reproduceable hypotheses capable of both experimental and experiential confirmation.

However, the question remains, can truth, if it is related to an absolute constant, be fully known, or understood using the scientific method? I would postulate, like Hawkins, that it can if it weren't for one nagging problem -- human consciousness.

What exactly is consciousness? Even science can agree on some aspects of that question. Science agrees that it is a formless, invisible field of measurable energy that is infinite in potential. Where science and others depart is on whether this consciousness is limited by the confines of the physical, time and space. Others say no because being energy itself, consciousness has not only infinite potential, but also infinite existence. However, since that aspect of consciousness cannot be accurately or reliably measured, science has opted out of the discussion once it delves into that realm..as they rightly should. This is a field of endeavor best left to the philosopher. Hawkins being both scientist and philosopher isn't bound by that constraint nor is he afraid to tread its untested ground.

Hawkins argues that it should now become the domain of science to fully investigate the consciousness because only through doing so can humankind finally come to grips with what is real truth and reality. He argues that while the Newtonian paradigm has been informative and pragmatically productive, with the addition of quantum physics and the Heisenberg uncertainty principal, Newtonian science for understanding reality has lost most of its luster and certainly its dominance, being replaced by the more sophisticated and "advanced evolution of science that leads from the predictable linear to the unpredictable nonlinear". As a result we now must be faced with truth as an enigma, no longer set in the stone of physical reality per say, but has risen to the state of a true challenge and struggle.

Case in point:
It was soundly accepted in the past (and even by many today) that the mind and its ability, or capacity, for reason and symbolism, is the undeniable and irreducible foundational hallmark of what it means to be human. To put it in simple terms: Humankind's capacity for logical thought differentiates humans from animals.

What the last 100 years has shown us though is that the human mind is not the foundational or fundamental but an "epiphenomenon of consciousness" with an indeterminate range of usefulness and reliability. That is absolutely mind-blowing when grasped for its fullest impact and meaning. What has made this fact so amazing is the other fact that human consciousness has been very slow to evolve, having only made small progress by jumps and starts over the last 2500 or so years. It has only been since the mid-part of the 20th Century that some of the biggest jumps have been taking place. One of the major factors in the inhibition for the evolution of consciousness in humans has been the races unbridled ego. It is only as the ego weakens that the consciousness of humanity is free to evolve with its resultant displays of love and giving. Ego drives for one thing - power over the lives of others, its environment and its drive for absolute independence, self-sufficiency and sovereignty. When ego rules the day, consciousness takes a back seat and humanity grows stale and regresses to a place in which truth and reality play little to no part. Hawkins rightly makes the assertion that the "capacity to recognize and comprehend truth is concordant with the levels of consciousness.."

Hawkins makes some compelling arguments in his book and has challenged some of my preconceived ideas of what exactly is truth and how to know what is real versus false. I still have a ways to go in the book, it isn't a real page turner, but I do find it fascinating once I mull through some of his long-winded gobbly-gook.