On Self-Knowledge and Honesty

Hurtled into a reality that does not support me – that’s how it feels to be human.

I open my mouth to speak, but no one is able to receive my words. So I fall silent.

Even that is unacceptable. One needs to be louder to be heard, don’t I want to be heard?

The only being I’ve come to trust is myself; the only force, fate.

I still try (old habits...) to understand humanity. The potential for not just greatness, but goodness, is everywhere in humans, in everything they have done and will do.

So the things that hold us back collectively are especially mystifying. I recognise one tendency that gets me every time, I can’t make head or tail of it: denial.

When faced with irrefutable truth, people are capable of denying it outright, with full conviction. It can cause you to doubt your own sanity for a second. (Maybe climate change isn’t really happening…?) It throws you off, as a rational person, it’s the last thing you expect. It’s one thing to lie, but to believe one’s own lies! There’s a tinge of psychopathy in that, something that feels almost inhuman.

I see this inclination in certain types of people most often: abusers, narcissists, addicts. Certain demographics seem to be more affected by the impulse than others. Can I say it? Baby boomers, white people….

One thing they have all told us that I doubt very much, is that truth is subjective. Is it really, or is it just inconvenient? Is it the kind of truth that makes you look bad, that hurts your ego-self? I encourage you to explore which truths are deemed the most subjective. Female, dark skinned, all the expected types of oppressed people are told to keep quiet about their ‘subjective’ truths. It’s worked for so long… we only have the smallest inkling of change now. The barest whispers being picked up by the algorithm. Mistrust and cynicism form armour around me.

Somehow, somewhere, we have all been victims to people who manipulate through denial. Maybe we have been them, at some point, and maybe we still are. Know that the perpetrators are able to demand limitless compassion from their victims, and this is a pattern worth observing. We’re asked to make allowances for denial, to allow our truths to be dissolved in it. Be the bigger person while making ourselves smaller. This is love, they will say. What kind of love doesn’t hold space for truth?

And truth doesn’t just hurt, it heals like nothing else. It’s like the world’s oldest rating system – tell someone the truth and they can change their personality prototype before it goes on Amazon.

The point of denial is to not have to change. If truth is subjective, then everything is fine as it is. The earth isn’t dying, the economy is fine. Racism? That was fixed in the ‘60s.

Meanwhile, those of us who are still capable of feeling, are heartbroken and dumbfounded.

Falling silent again.