KosherTorah School for Biblical, Judaic & Spiritual Studies
True, Truth and the Mind of the Prophet
by Ariel B Tzadok
Copyright © 2015 by Ariel Bar Tzadok. All rights reserved.
Be warned! Not everything that we believe about religion is the truth. Then again, just because what we believe isn't the truth does not mean that it is not true! What is true, and what is the truth are often very different things. Read on.
Is there a difference between what is true, and what is the truth? Yes, indeed there is a difference! True is something that is valid, and legitimate. The truth is something that is literal, and actual. There are many valid, and legitimate things that are not literal, or actual. Many of our cherished, and sacred beliefs are true, and at the same time, not the truth. This is especially true when we address matters of religious truth. Religious teachings share messages of true values, whereas, from an historical point of view, upon critical investigation, their claims might not be found to be truthful.
For some, the discovery of a discrepancy between what is religiously true, and what is actually truthful, may destroy their religious faith. For others, their religious faith is only reinforced, and strengthened. The difference here depends on the individual, and that person's ability, and willingness, to either embrace true light, or to only embrace, and cling to, that which the individual selfishly chooses to believe, regardless of revelation, and discovery.
We live in a world inundated with fantasy, and fiction. Today, be it in movies, or books, we have created numerous characters, and whole worlds. They can often draw more attention, and interest in the hearts of the public, more so that any real, and actual cause, or concern. How can it be that we become so absorbed with characters of fiction, and fantasy, and emotionally consider these characters to be just as real as ourselves? The answer is that many times, we become as emotionally involved with fictional characters, as we do with actual people. Our emotional concern is indeed true, but is it not based on the truth. It is not based on an actual physical reality of the existence of these characters. Rather, it is based on an internal reality, within the individual's mind, and heart. Just as this is true with regards to modern day fiction, so is this true with much of modern day religion.
We live in a world of multiple religions. One religion contradicts the worldview of another. Of all the world's great religions, followed faithfully by billions of souls, not everybody's religion can historically be the truth. While its religious teachings may indeed express universal spiritual lessons that are true, these lessons are often packaged in stories, legends, and myth that are not historically truthful. But in a world of fantasy and fiction, who can tell the difference between what is real in a book (or film) of fiction, and a book of religious stories? To the human mind, a story is believable when we become involved with the characters therein, regardless of whether or not the characters are, or were actual people. For the religious faithful, the cherished characters of their religion are true, all the while that they might not be the truth.
One of the greatest psychological tools of the human mind is the power of imagination. In one's mind, one can merge the outer world of absolute truths, with the inner world of one's subjective beliefs. Every individual belief is deemed “true” within one's own mind. Within the mind we discover the domain where what is true, and what is the truth can, and do, exist side by side, the objective alongside the subjective, all together in total equality.
Within the individual mind, perception is everything. If one perceives one's inner reality (what is personally true), as being equal to, and as valid as the external reality experienced by others, then for the individual, what's the difference? The answer is that for the individual, usually there is no difference at all. Such a person sees a different world than do others. This is how fiction, and fact exist side by side, without any emotional, or intelligent conflict from the individual.
The human imagination is a
wonderful thing in that it enables us to see things internally that are not
there externally. This is not a bad thing. On the contrary, this power of
imagination is the source of our creativity, be it on an individual or
collective level. Human imagination should be cultivated, and nourished. Each
individual should train to be as creative, and freethinking as possible. This
richness of thought can only contribute to the wealth of collective human
knowledge that drives humanity forward into a future of brilliant possibilities.
There is however one drawback to human imagination, and this, of course, is when one loses the ability to recognize the difference between what is internally subjectively true, and what is externally objectively the truth. As long as one does not confuse these two, then the healthy balance of the two bring forth rich rewards to the individual, and to the society enriched by the individual's imaginative contributions.
In the Torah tradition, so
eloquently elaborated by the Sage Maimonides, one of these great imaginative
contributions to society has been the gift of prophecy. Prophecy is when the
human mind receives telepathic communication from other disincarnate minds (sekhelim
nivdalim). “Disincarnate minds” is the term used by Maimonides to describe the
Angels. In his book, the “Guide to the Perplexed,” Maimonides elaborates how the
human imagination, when properly trained to heights of sensitivity, can receive,
and understand the telepathic nature of messages coming to it, from the numerous
forms in the surrounding natural world. These others forms, whatever they be,
serve as the messengers for whatever message one receives. Let us not forget
that the Hebrew term for messenger, malakh, is the same word we translate as
The human imagination ventures out beyond the limits of space, time, and form, to experience other worlds, and other realities. This is how the mind of the prophet was able to connect to the angels. The angels, in turn, would place into the mind of the prophet a combination of images. These images were the prophetic visions. However, just seeing the inner vision is never enough. One needs to also understand what it is that one sees. Without this clear, and rational interpretation of prophetic visions, the prophet faces the significant danger of misunderstanding.
If a symbolic prophetic image is misunderstood, or interpreted to be something literal, this is a dangerous thing. The internal realities of the mind are subjective. They take on symbolic forms with metaphorical meanings. They are what the mind sees as true. Yet, these same internal symbolic images need to be translated into the language of the external, objective world in order for their overt truths to escape from the veils, and cloaks used by the imagination to give them their initial forms in human consciousness.
No one can ever come to a revelation of the objective truth, before one realizes what is only subjectively true. While what we experience, and believe inside our minds is definitely true, these experiences and beliefs do not necessarily reflect, in accuracy, the actual truth of anything. Every dream image, and vision metaphor must never be interpreted literally. Literal interpretations are offenses against the human mind. While it is very much more difficult to seek accurate, and proper interpretations of dream images, and vision metaphors, it is imperative that such correct interpretations be sought. Humanity will never free itself from its self-imposed prison of deluded ideas until a good portion of us begins to understand the symbolic nature of all that which we have held to be so sacred, and so dear, for centuries.
Our cherished beliefs, all of them, may indeed be true. However, in order for them to be the truth, we need to unleash the true essence of these views from the husks, and shells that keep them imprisoned. Only when we unleash the true essence of what is true in our differing world belief systems can we then unite essence, free of separating forms, and finally gain a good gaze at what really is the truth.
I cannot think of anything that God would want more from humanity than for us to put aside our arguments about “Him,” and to get down to uniting around what we really know, instead of just what we believe we know. If there is only one religious reality, then this must be it. When we pursue the truth, instead of what we believe to be true, we will we discover both, and finally realize that what is true, and what is the truth have always been the same. It is only our own misunderstandings that disabled us from seeing this.
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