Believe those who seek truth, doubt those who find it.
I first came across a similar version of the above quote in first few pages of the book ‘Makhmalbaf at Large’ written by Hamid Dabashi.
I find that it neatly summarises the philosophical position at which I have found myself arrive at, since 2013.
The seekers of truth(s)
I have discovered them through the ages, and undoubtedly they are few in numbers, yet they are the ones who I feel a deep reverance for.
Sometimes the world has called them saints, philosophers, poets, artists, or revolutionaries. Other times, they have been called heretics, or madmen.
No matter what their labels, I believe they have shared a precious and rare commonality. This is their inheritance of an abnormally sensitive and fragile soul.
A soul that is highly attuned not only to the subliminal rhythms of nature, but also engrossed in deep contemplative thought that is urged by the combination of a child-like curiosity, the restlessness and melancholia of their life experiences. With this, they are inspired to make sense of the complexities of their Self and other human experiences.
It is no surprise that they are bored, at times repulsed and simply incapable of living the ‘normal’ life that entails the preoccupation with the mundane, mediocre and materialistic pursuits of the everyday.
In fact, most of them are easily recognisable by their abnormally profound, unconventional and creative thought processes which fearlessly critique and challenge age-old dogmas buried so deeply in the pillars of society, that they are invisible to the masses.
It is apparent that this ongoing process of liberating oneself from the shackles of convention is not a voluntary pursuit, but an uncontrollable compulsion, ignited by the uniqueness of their souls, and in harmony with their nature.
Their resulting labours of love – whether they be couplets, or paintings, are an expression of their life-long journey of wisdom. Seeking the truth(s) till their dying breaths, they give birth to greatness through their art, their revolutionary ideas and actions.
These men are the source of all that is truly transformative, enlightening and constructive in human understanding and progress.
Those who have found the truth
Unsurprisingly, there are far many who have found the truth – or should I say, claim to have found this one truth that reduces the complex experiences of life into a simplistic, dichotomy of black-and-white.
They are driven by their social conditioning – and in the absence of creative thought – to passively consume, accept, imitate and protect the ideas and traditions they have inherited from their forefathers.
Subsequently, a few of them are overcome by a pedantic need to devote their lives towards forms of the ‘scholarly’ – meticulously memorising and ingesting the interpretations of their truth from, their favoured authorities and in line with their own presuppositions and biased reverence.
Regurgitating these encyclopaedic amounts of knowledge, warrants them to occupy higher positions of status and they become the leaders, defenders and purveyors of age-old dogmatic systems of beliefs and behaviours that dared not be questioned, much to the joy of the deaf, dumb and blind below them.
In the absence of creative thought and the innate capacity for wisdom – something which cannot be inherited, communicated or understood in dusty old books – they compensate with seemingly vast, yet narrow acquisition of knowledge that are mistaken for wisdom by those who are incapable of understanding the difference.
Red-faced, and hoarse-throated they sit on their thrones. Every day is marked by their desperate appeals to their followers – by way of their beloved authorities – which are used to justify and spread their one, universal truth.
For, it is not enough that they themselves have ‘acquired’ it – now they have imposed a duty upon themselves to spread this and deliver the rest of mankind to salvation.
Most of them however are to be found as herds of passive consumers of this one truth, sitting with their mouths gaping, nodding in an ignorant awe and delight at their masters’ bewitchingly packaged speeches. They are crippled by their own fears, burdened too by the traditions of their forefathers, and most importantly devoid of the celestial spark of creative and critical thought, they can do nothing but accept this truth and continue to float through their confused existences in a permanent state of emotional, spiritual and intellectual impotency.
One shade of colour to paint the kaleidoscope of humanity with?
One answer to end the endless questions of mankind?
One rationalistic formula to quell the immeasurable and exceptional suffering of each individual?
Doubt and refrain from those who claim to have found this truth, it is beyond the reach of the ordinary theoretician, the pedant, the literalist, the ritualist who has so much to say, so harshly and so emphatically.
On the contrary, truth is a journey, and the seekers are the wanderers, the dilettantes of life, liberated from their bondage to false gods, their souls and thoughts are unbridled. Their lives have been moulded and inspired by the suffering, the silence, and the ecstatic which they can see, hear, touch, taste and then finally whisper of into your ears…but only, when you ask them.