is a G-d given gift that enables us to think and use discretion
concerning what we choose to believe and what we choose to discount.
Truth is not a subjective factor depending upon your personal point of
view. Some things are real and some things are false regardless of
whatever one wishes to believe about them.
Many things are said in the names of
many famous people that indeed they never said. Yet, who would listen
to accept these words unless they came from the mouth of someone
famous. The words themselves can be foolish or false, but once they are
attributed to someone famous then they become real, true, and take on a
life of their own, even though that life is a false one.
Many lies have been perpetuated
throughout history, arousing peoples to believe many things by putting
never spoken words into the mouths of admired individuals. This is how
falsehood begins and is perpetuated. This is nothing new. This is
exactly what the Serpent did in the Garden of Eden, when he spoke to
Eve, and quoted by G-d and said something that G-d allegedly said, that
He never did. Falsehood always attaches itself to authority or to truth
in order to disguise itself. This is why G-d gave us intelligence, so
that we can unmask falsehood and learn to discriminate between the truth
and the lie.
There is a difference between the
subjective and the objective. These are just two words used to describe
the difference between what may be true for the individual and what is
true for everyone. An opinion is the subjective truth for the
individual (or a group). Fact and reality are the objective truths for
everyone, regardless of one’s opinion or personal point of view.
One may hold an opinion about political
persuasion, fashion, décor or the like. One may not hold a mere opinion
about something as vital and factual as the laws of nature or for that
matters the reality of human behavior. You may choose whatever color
you like to paint your house and consider your choice to be a good one.
You may not however decide to jump off the second (or third) story roof
of your house and believe that you will not fall. This is a bad choice
regardless of your opinion of it.
You say, this is clear logic, who would
deny it? Yet, unfortunately, all too many people deny this exact
conclusion when applied to other circumstances simply because deception
and delusion have become attached to logic and, as a result,
intelligence becomes blurred. In the end all too many people jump off
high roofs convinced that they will not fall or that there is no such
thing as gravity (as long as they do not believe there is such). Yet,
in the end, they always fall and get severely hurt.
Moreover, to make matters even worse, as
they lay there writhing in pain, they still deny that they fell and many
deny that they are in pain. They arrogantly proclaim their success and
the proof of their false believes in spite of the fact that it is clear
and evident to anyone with eyes and common sense that their choice led
them to miserable, and yet foreseeable consequences.
In my opinion, they say, I did not fall;
in my opinion, they say, I did not break any bones. Yet, when they try
to walk, they cannot; and still they will dismiss this and redefine
their pain as something else and attribute their loss (if they even
admit it as such) to any other cause, rather than admit that they are
wrong. Regarding these types of people, we say they have eyes but do
not see and ears that do not hear.
Intelligence is a G-d given gift. Yet,
in order to receive a gift one must open one’s hands and receive it.
Once in hand, it must be used. Any gift unused is like not being
received in the first place. We have eyes, we must use them to see, we
have ears we must use them to listen. We have intelligence, we must use
it to cultivate discretion. We must learn the difference between
opinion and fact, subjective and objective reality. We must not allow
ourselves the luxury of the listening to the modern day serpents whose
only purpose is to confuse us, with the age-old intent of getting us
kicked out of the Garden of Eden, which is our communion with Heaven.
Long ago, our Sages taught us that study
is the most important of G-d’s commandments. Their intent was not to
get us to memorize things, but rather to train us how to think, how to
approach our world with proper inquiries and necessary precautions.
Study is meant to train the mind. Repeating by rote is not study.
Contemplating, questioning, analyzing, challenging; these are the
criteria of study.
We have received Torah into our hearts;
it is the source of our lives, our objective reality. Yet, we are
supposed to contemplate it day and night, thinking about it, using our
minds to challenge, analyze and question. This is how Torah settles
into our minds and transforms us into what we are supposed to become,
this being rational and intelligent human beings.
Stop being fooled. When you hear
something unverified said in the name of someone famous, even if the
claim of verification is made; stop and question it. Ask, who said
this, where did this information come from, has it been verified, if so
how was it verified, by whom, when and where? Every detective knows to
ask these questions to get to the bottom of truth. Detectives who allow
their prejudices to cloud their judgment enable criminals to escape and
innocent individuals to be charged with crimes they did not commit.
This laziness leads to injustice; injustice leads to imbalance,
imbalance leads to a fall, the fall leads to breakage; breakage leads to
pain, suffering and all type of harm.
Study Torah, ask questions, be
discerning, become detectives, do not accept something just because it
has been said in the name of someone we admire. If it is too good to be
true, or too weird to believe; most likely it is a falsehood and not
true. Then again, you never know unless you make a thorough
investigation and I emphasis the word ‘thorough.” This is intelligence
and the Way of Heaven on Earth.