The Compulsion to Truth

All of us are working on the same project. Some consciously, with understanding; some without knowing it. (I think this is what Heraclitus meant when he said that “those who sleep are also hard at work” – that they too collaborate in what happens.) Some of us work in one way, some in others. And those who complain and try to obstruct and thwart things – they help as much as anyone. The world needs them as well.

So make up your mind who you’ll choose to work with. The force that directs all things will make good use of you regardless – will put you on its payroll and set you to work. But make sure it’s not the job Chrysippus speaks of: the bad line in the play, put there for laughs.” – Marcus Aurelius

There exists a universal compulsion to truth. A man can either embrace this impulse or he can recoil from it; he cannot do both at the same time.

Those who complain and try to thwart do so in an attempt to cover up the sense of shame and discomfort which come from spurning truth. They busily point fingers to avoid having to look at themselves. Blame and accusation are the calling cards of desperate men who have not yet yielded to the compulsion to truth.

Men who vacillate between acceptance and rejection of the compulsion to truth are like drunkards sitting on a fence. They lurch to and fro in an awkward attempt to maintain balance. Such men invariably fall and get hurt, but have a hard time remembering what caused their injury.

Fences make terrible chairs; be a man: declare yourself.

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

-Revelation 3:15-16

5 thoughts on “The Compulsion to Truth

  1. Zach

    Sitting on the fence is really an uncomfortable place, and when the decision is made to continue on one side or the other, the unnatural tension subsides.
    As much as I would love to see everyone come off the fence on the side of truth, it just isn’t going to happen with the current world dynamics. However, Marcus Aurelius speaks with wisdom when he says that no matter what side you are for, the truth can use you.
    Energy is energy, and the energy you put into the world will eventually be used for the truth no matter your intention. Just don’t jam that energy up and not use it.


  2. David R

    No doubt many of our unconscious efforts have been used to some advantage, perhaps backhandedly and in spite of us! That is small comfort, however, because there is always a cost to misaligned function, and it is so much better to be a conscious ally of the creative forces that work to heal and to create.


  3. Joy

    How doth one declare, but with an attitude of deep thankfulness for the opportunity to do so. Thankfulness for the mercy and forgiveness that has been extended, thankfulness for the opportunity that yet remains to repent and be among those who remember their first Love, who hear what the Spirit so clearly saith, in this day, and for the ongoing opportunity to overcome. Thank you Gregg.


  4. Coco

    What a marvelous quote, I’ve never come across it! We do choose and live our lives deliberately staying the course we set for ourselves. We set it through our inclination for truth but then we recommit each time we reject or accept the compulsion towards truth. I think the passion for truth is an acquired taste. Once you begin to realize that life has a purpose deeper and more expansive than anything that mankind has been able to construct, you willingly accept the fact you’ll never be one of the crowd and thankfully not the comic relief for them.


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