“No society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living.” – Thomas Jefferson
The only perpetual law is divine law, that is, truth. Truth exists beyond the reach of man’s manipulation, but not his perception. Man may perceive and thus coordinate his thoughts, words and deeds with the truth, but absent this collaboration, he must impose his own designs on the creative process independent of the overall symmetry of truth.
Science and spirituality are two means employed by men to comprehend truth. Truth is invisible, but is the pattern upon which the hierarchy of life is formed. Just as there is truth in subatomic particles, there is also truth in the biosphere we call earth.
Every one of man’s religions, political and social structures was likewise built upon the recognition and desirability of certain truths. Those truths were either prominent naturally or brought into focus by man in relation to a perceived need. It should be noted in relation to this point that one of man’s most frequent errors is that of bringing the wrong truth or combination of truths to bear at the wrong time.
Reductionism, the driving philosophy behind many branches of the sciences, is man’s attempt to rationalize his divergence from truth. He catalogs the world around him, breaking it up into little pieces not only to understand its mysteries but to control its manifestation. Man now prides himself on his accelerating ability to record, access and analyze this growing body of knowledge, convinced that he has finally crested the lip of the hole into which he had been cast during the Dark Ages.
But have we not heard this story before? Man believes that he has finally discovered how to unify the world – under the common, modern and rational language of science – and he feverishly applies himself to the reconstruction of a bigger, better, more modern and hopefully unassailable Tower of Babel, all the while criticizing those who continue to adhere to a more holistic, albeit archaic religious worldview. Sadly, though, no matter how much knowledge he accumulates and catalogs, the thinking man is still forced to admit that all the knowledge in the world is meaningless without the wisdom to apply it correctly, in accordance with the principles, purpose, design and control of truth.
Religion and science are only valuable to the degree that they align mankind more closely with truth. Absent this connection, the learned men and women of our world become little more than clerks of a vainglorious library of dead and decaying volumes of knowledge, rather than champions of the living truth. Divorced from truth they are doomed to pick through the heap of knowledge like the nameless waste pickers in the world’s poorest nations, hoping to find anything that will bring comfort – a semblance of living – to a wretched state of existence.
When it comes to truth, we cannot look back to determine what is appropriate to us, here and now. The truth flows freely through time, patiently and selflessly waiting to be discovered and brought to focus in relation to the needs at hand. What some great person who understood the truth long ago did in relation to his or her time may give an indication as to a general direction, but speculating what he or she would do now only gives further proof that man must accommodate to truth. The truth is there to be known; idle guesswork is no substitute for truly knowing.
Likewise, only admitting what can be seen and measured is a sure way to risk missing the invisible, yet very real wisdom of the forest for the obvious, yet terribly limiting knowledge of the trees. Man cannot obtain his freedom by slavishly stockpiling knowledge and its attendant facts and figures. He cannot think his way over the lip of the bottomless pit with his mind alone. He must humble himself sufficiently and quiet himself adequately to perceive the living truth, which, despite eons of having been ignored, trampled on and overlooked, has never left him.
“God guard me from those thoughts men think
In the mind alone;
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone..”
– excerpted from “A Prayer for Old Age” by William Butler Yeats