Divine Dialectic – Absolute and Relative Truth
DIVINE DIALECTIC ABSOLUTE AND RELATIVE TRUTH
Absolute truth is not reached by reasoning alone, but by an immediate apprehension that goes beyond any calculus of coherence or correspondence between relative truths. Although Absolute Truth is constant and complete in itself, there are, however, degrees of apprehension, and therefore human awareness of it is a continuous and dynamic process. To find truth completely is fully to realize oneself and one’s destiny. It is to become perfect in a Mahatmic sense. Yet, every truth is self-acting and has inherent strength, though this strength lies latent until it is embodied in the actions and thoughts of a perfectible, if still very imperfect, human being. Since truth in the fullest sense is known only by direct perception and immediate apprehension, the intuitionist theory of truth must ultimately subsume the coherence theory of truth, because what is directly and immediately apprehended is also seen as a whole. It can also radically reinterpret the correspondence theory of truth of logical atomism, because one’s intuitive perception includes the correspondence of an idea, a statement or a proposition to a fact or a thing or an event. If every truth is self-acting, then the degrees of apprehension of truth must have a direct effect both upon our state of being and upon the world, invisible and visible. If the attainment of the whole truth is equivalent to becoming perfect, then the degrees of apprehension of truth are equivalent to degrees of human imperfection. And, if truth, though self-acting, is latent until and unless it is embodied in thoughts and acts, to affirm the truth in the fullest, deepest, and most authentic sense is to actualize it in thought and deed . . .
All of this may be understood in terms of the divine dialectic, which serves as a bridge between the Absolute and the relative, and which awakens the self-acting strength of truth at every level, not merely in the lives of isolated souls striving towards perfection, but spanning the entire range of the universal pilgrimage of humanity. Anyone who contemplates the Platonic Divided Line sees at its transcendental apex the union of the knower, the known and the mode of knowing. At the same time, one also sees the thick, seemingly impassable line between the region of becoming and the realm of being. Hence the crucial need, as rapidly as possible, to withdraw and withhold images and lower fancies, beliefs and lower assertions, and to prepare oneself for true, persistent questioning and self-questioning, for the dialogue of the soul within itself, and for the dialogue of the deepest in human beings with what is potentially there lying deep in other human souls. Through the study of mathematics and music, through the awakening of the higher capacities of thought, which rise to the realm of the universal, the general and the abstract, one can find place and lend beauty to everything that reflects the most real, the most general and the most sacred in the vast world of whirling particulars. This is truly to prepare for the highest vision possible for the human soul.
The dialectic, long before it can serve as an available golden bridge between the Absolute and the relative, must first begin in the power to choose decisively within human life. One must draw out from within the self-acting power of truth in the region of that which is inescapable, necessary, and unavoidable, the region of that which is capable of being affected and altered for the sake of the universal good by conscious and deliberate choices and acts of freedom. Beginning in the relative freedom that every human being can make real by pitting it against the seemingly vast and inexorable necessities of the world and of living, one then can move through contemplation to a cognition of greater levels of freedom and higher degrees of apprehension of truth. There, the very distinctions between freedom and necessity, between external and internal, become less and less meaningful because everything external is progressively intuited as a partial reflection of what is internal and complete. Everything that is true and free in the highest and fullest sense has the underpinning of the cosmos and of time, of karma and growth, both in history and in individual life. It is also the realm of the highest necessity, the divinest destiny, and the uttermost perfection of each human soul.
From Raghavan N. Iyer,
The Gupta Vidya I
Published by permission of theosophytrust.org.