What’s true?

I just received this horoscope from Rob Breszny:

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Inventor Buckminster Fuller (1895–1983) was a visionary genius in numerous fields, including architecture, design, engineering, and futurism. In the course of earning 40 honorary doctorates, he traveled widely. It was his custom to wear three watches, each set to a different time: one to the zone where he currently was, another to where he had recently departed, and a third to where he would journey next. I know that I am not a category,” he wrote. I am not a thing—a noun. I seem to be a verb.” I recommend his approach to you in the coming weeks, Scorpio. Be a verb! Allow your identity to be fluid, your plans adjustable, your ideas subject to constant revision.

I know that many would roll their eyes at the notion of horoscopes. And for good reason! They are silly. At least, they are silly on one level. Yet, when considered like just about everything else, they can be seen as a reflection — a mirror that reflects to us something true. That’s how I like to hold them. But I don’t share it because I want to convince anyone of the merits of the horoscope. No, I share it because it is relevant to the thing that was on my mind to write about today. How do you like that1?

The last bit that Brezsny shares is a quote from Buckminster Fuller (see the link I inserted above). To reprise:

I know that I am not a category,” he wrote. I am not a thing—a noun. I seem to be a verb.”

Here is the thing that has been on my mind this morning: fixed truths don’t exist. There are no defined answers that can satisfy every situation. The world is in flux. It is in motion. And the more we can learn to live from that place, the more our lives will something that is true.

Yeah, yeah. I feel the arrogance in the statement as I type it. I’m aware. And at the same time, I can’t help but feel the resonance of it. There is a lot being written today about what is being found in science (notably in physics) about how at the base level of the structure of the universe, this is true. And this is in many ways the core teaching of about a million different mystical traditions. It’s not new. Yet, we don’t seem to get it.

Goodness, I wish I could remember where it was that I heard someone say, We’ve had these mystical traditions for thousands of years. They’ve been telling us: life is not fixed, we are not separate, life is a beautiful mystery. And we’re not getting it. It’s simply not sticking.” Or something like that.

Another message that landed in my inbox this morning came from Nick Cave in his latest edition of The Red Hand Files. It included this bit (emphasis mine):

Antifa and the Far Right, for example, with their routine street fights, role-playing and dress-ups are participants in a weirdly erotic, violent and mutually self-sustaining marriage, propped up entirely by the blind, inflexible convictions of each other’s belief systems. It is good for nothing, except inflaming their own self-righteousness. The New Atheists and their devout opponents are engaged in the same dynamic. Wokeness, for all its virtues, is an ideology immune to the slightest suggestion that in a generation’s time their implacable beliefs will appear as outmoded and fallacious as those of their own former generation. This may well be the engine of progress, but history has a habit of embarrassing our treasured beliefs. Some of us, for example, are of the generation that believed that free speech was a clear-cut and uncontested virtue, yet within a generation this concept is seen by many as a dog-whistle to the Far Right, and is rapidly being consigned to the Left’s ever-expanding ideological junk pile.

For today, let’s set the content of Cave’s criticism aside and look at his overall point: our perspectives will evolve as our experience evolves. We will see things differently in a matter of years. By we I both mean the we that is us — those reading and writing these words, as well as the larger we” of humanity. How we are measured in 5, 10, 50, 100 years (and on and on ad infinitum) is going to depend on a lot of things, many of which we can’t predict.

This isn’t because of a shortcoming. It’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

We will learn over time what is truer than what we know today. But we will miss a lot of it — if not all of it — if we aren’t open to the reality that things will flex and flow.

In other words, you don’t have to be a Scorpio to follow Brezsny’s advice:

Be a verb! Allow your identity to be fluid, your plans adjustable, your ideas subject to constant revision.

  1. Confirmation bias? Maybe.

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