The Truth is Not in You

Some people like to see themselves as the pursuers of truth.

But have you ever wondered what is the opposite of pursuing the truth? If you don’t care about the truth what do you care about? Lies?

No. I say you care about you.

Let me explain.

There is a real world around us, as we all know. But nobody really knows what this world really is like. We can learn quite a lot as we explore, learn, experience, analyze. But pretty soon we come to the limit of our possibilities and then we start guessing. Approximating. Building abstract constructs in our minds. And from this point it up to our judgment what is true and what is not true.

Is the earth round or flat? Is there God? Does the New Zealand really exist? You have to judge for yourself. Cannot be sure.

Unless you actually live in New Zealand.

So we keep guessing, basing our opinions on facts, experience, feelings, statistics, newspaper titles, habits, fears and what not. And so we gradually build a new model of reality, everyone in his own mind.

That process is what people usually call “pursuit of truth”.

But that’s where they are usually mistaken. Because it is not the truth that they pursue.

Because look, if it is up to you to build a reality, why not try to build it a little bit more… nice?

So how about a reality where you can go into a debt forever with absolutely no consequences? How about a world there there is a certain guy (let’s call him Pope) who never makes mistakes in those most important matters of life and death? Or, how about a reality where getting a college diploma guarantees your future as an employed, well-payed professional?

Why not?

After all, it’s all in your head. So why not making the world a better place?

And that’s exactly what people do. But would you call that pursuit of truth?

I would call that pursuit of yourself.

Because the pursuit of truth is the process of building a model of the reality that exists in your own mind to be as faithful to the true reality as possible. You want a world in your head to be a clone of the real one. You don’t care if you like that model or not, if it suits your needs or not. It does not matter if you like the idea of God, a round earth or New Zealand. Your first priority is to get things as they really are, not to form an opinion. You want to know if things exist or not, not to wish them exist or not.

But if you’d rather bend your personal reality to fit your needs better, you no longer pursue the truth. You pursue yourself. Your own wishes, dreams and needs.

So there are two ways to shape your world:

  1. Listen to the reality, or
  2. Listen to yourself

And it’s not that difficult to tell one type from the other.

Those who look for the truth, they listen. They read. They watch. They explore. They are interested in everything and anything beside themselves.

The other ones don’t.

You cannot know the truth if your focus is yourself.

And the farther the world in your head is from the reality, the worse the consequences will be for you.

So do yourself a favor and stop being a moron. Before a reality check does it for you.


The Truth is Not in You was originally published in Completely Unprofessional on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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