Trump is again demonstrating his alienation from what most of us know as “truth.” He foolishly claimed a few days ago that he and Vladimir Putin discussed a joint cyber security unit but was immediately confronted with how the rest of us saw this as complete nonsense. So he changed his tune yesterday, suggesting…and I paraphrase…”You must not take me literally.” His handlers found the temerity to challenge him privately and let him know just how completely inane and foolish a “cyber security unit” with the Russians sounds.
Trump definitely believes in “truth” but he reserves the prerogative of getting to define the notion without reference to what others think. He sees “truth” as a static quality and to him it amounts to whatever whim and fancy courses through his brain. He reserves the prerogative of defining the term…and all other terms…without regard to how the notion is seen in the context that he lives in, that context which most of us call “reality.” This arrogance resonates with many of his followers who also see truth as a static quality, some “thing” which they have certainty about without any consideration to the rest of us.
I increasingly believe in “truth” and I even have the temerity to spell it out as “Truth.” But this Truth is an elusive quality which can best be described as a process, a “process” which the Christian tradition sees as a person, illustrated with the words of Jesus, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” But this “Truth” lies deep in our hearts and, while always seeking expression, it denies the objectification that would permit any mortal to say that he owns it, objectively. Those who claim to know “the Truth” objectively always do so with a certainty, a certainty which always betrays itself in real time as specious.
Here I wish to let poet Carl Sandburg present this notion beautifully in a poem entitled, “Who am I?”
My head knocks against the stars.
My feet are on the hilltops.
My finger-tips are in the valleys and shores of
Down in the sounding foam of primal things I
reach my hands and play with pebbles of
I have been to hell and back many times.
I know all about heaven, for I have talked with God.
I dabble in the blood and guts of the terrible.
I know the passionate seizure of beauty
And the marvelous rebellion of man at all signs
reading “Keep Off.”
My name is Truth and I am the most elusive captive
in the universe.