“We know the world only through our relationship to it. Therefore, to know the world, we must not only examine it but we must simultaneously examine the examiner.”
–M. Scott Peck (Wisdom from The Road Less Traveled).
This should strike a chord with everyone, for none of us can help being slightly detached from ourselves—it’s an unfortunate by-product of being human. We do have senses, a mind, and the emotions after all. It appears we ourselves get in our own way—we’re barriers to the best views of the world available.
Dr. Peck’s main thesis in this regard is around the “dedication to truth.” This is one of the golden secrets of the age—the age of humanity. A dedication to truth is the silver bullet to which life metaphors of injustice, terror, mirth and sin are unmistakably crushed—and brought back to a relative reality. Like key points on a compass, each is a skewed form of reality; so is our perception, and hence, our response. Adherence to the dedication to truth is like moving a compass out of a magnetic field; it starts to read truly.
When we perceive our effect upon the world (or our tiny space within it) we receive good information or not-so-good—I mean, quality-wise. If we are ‘examining the examiner’ we’ll be seeing events, conditions and situations through the unique doubly-visioned view that can help us see the truth. If not, and we’ve all experienced this firsthand, we’ll see a form of “life” that might have truth in it, but the shards of untruth taint the vision of it.
At the extremes of incorrect (non-truthful) perception, there are neuroses and mental illness. We know these people—some temporary in that dungeon of despair, some more permanently. This is one powerful reason to shoot for truth i.e. by routinely examining ourselves... our motives, drives, ambitions, plans, desires etc.
The truth is we’re prone to kidding ourselves, and we can’t help it. It’s the flow of things. It’s the way things are. And dealing with that truth is something that is clearly part of the design of life for you and for me.
Given this knowledge, and knowing the very barriers we ourselves present for ourselves in non-truth, what will we now do to become dedicated to truth? It’s a windfall of wisdom, waiting for us to claim it, right there!
© S. J. Wickham, 2009.
Post Script: I mentioned earlier the word, “detached,” which is normally considered a good thing, spiritually-speaking. I don’t disagree. Detachment is necessary, but not at the expense of avoiding the truth i.e. denial, in life. Spiritual detachment comes not at the expense of truth, but because of it i.e. in the presence of truth.
Detachment helps us deal with the truth. It helps us ‘give away’ part of ourselves necessary in the “transaction of truth”; for life is all about giving ourselves away. It’s only when we rebel against this fact of life that we inevitably end up in trouble.
Truth or dare? Wisdom or foolishness? One choice—two consequences.
 By “doubly-visioned view” I mean, we’re seeing through our eyes and senses, perceiving and experiencing, yet we’re also simultaneously seeing how we’re seeing, checking and aligning our perceptions, in the moment. This is an attendance to truth requiring a ruthless sort of courage. We are, in effect, judging ourselves—keeping ourselves honest.