Tradition is a horizontal effect of a vertical cause; it is the immanent embodiment of a transcendent truth; it is the reflection of the principle in the manifestation. Tradition is that which protects the truth and the recipient. Naked truth has to be shielded, for its sight blinds the unprepared recipient. At the same time, the recipient must stay in proximity to truth for the sake of his own salvation. Tradition does precisely that: It keeps man close to truth while protecting him from its fatal radiation.
Rootlessness of modern man lies in an adolescent arrogance that has separated him from truth and tradition. Modern man is characterized by his utter forgetfulness of truth; he lives in the age of untruth. It is the age in which factual information pretends to be essential knowledge, rational inference has replaced intellectual intuition.
But truth is always present and immanent in everything due to the nature of things. The whole of existence is filled with the echo of the perennial truth. Man’s detachment from tradition and attachment to the world may throw him into a withdrawing oblivion, but it can’t disturb the continuity of language.
Language is the primordial tradition as sound is the primordial revelation. Truth, in its most subtle forms, is reflected and preserved in language.
The vertical descent of truth in the form of revelation and inspiration reverberates in the horizontal plane of language, thus leaving its tracks in almost all instances of language use. Language insofar as it is a reflection of original experience is a vehicle of truth. Truth does not lie in the world; truth dwells in the experience of the world. Thus, any authentic expression of uninterrupted experience bears the truth within it. But language as the inward tradition, much like outward traditions, also shields the naked truth. Thus, it tends to reflect the truth in more passive ways than active, that is, it bears the truth within it by concealing it from view. In many instances the individual is not even aware of the manifestation of the sacred in his/her linguistic expression. Truth is not called into language by man’s invitation; rather, truth uses man in order to embody itself in language. It is not man who chooses the truth; it is the truth that chooses man.
Language at once veils and unveils the truth. One should view language as a site filled with fossils of truth. A deep reflection on language, particularly everyday language which survives the academic and institutional distortions, can show us the metaphysical truths that have been veiled by the most ordinary expressions. And it is often the case the truth hides itself in plain sight, for man is that kind of species oblivious to his own sight while seeking the exotic in the other’s.
Truth is not in the extraordinary; it is in the most ordinary. It is the most ordinary, the closest of all, the self, that becomes the most extraordinary when see it with pure and noble eyes.
4 thoughts on “Language: The Vehicle of Truth”
This is the great dichotomy for me, the relativity and/or objectivity of truth. Truth is something we each, as sacred obligation must discover for ourselves. However, there are absolute truths, also! Sometimes a conundrum. “It is not man that chooses the truth; but truth that chooses the man”. Yes!! 😀
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Thanks writersdream9. This is a very interesting debate. I personally think that truth is one and absolute, since if it is not absolute and one, then it can’t be real truth. But human exists in the plane of relative existence, thus truth is apparently, and not essentially, changed to conform with our taste and mentality and temperament. The result is various religions which are truth as suited to different mentalities. I see all religions as speaking of one and the same truth. But the truth, or Supreme Reality, transcends that many forms in which it is expressed. Insofar as we experience truth as human beings it will be in one form and another, thus always relative since forms and names are relative. But once we transcend our humanity and then see the truth we will experience it as the absolute and the infinite principle, god or whatever name we give it. It is possible for us to have a direct experience of the absolute truth, but it requires the death of the ego and transcendence; only then we can see it directly since as truth is infinite we too have to become infinite to experience it. We must become the truth in order to see it. This is what is called Supreme Identity in metaphysics, the moment you transcend and you realize that your essence is identical with the absolute and the infinite truth which is immortal. That is the end of all quest, for we have realized we were the very thing we have been seeking; we are the seeker, the way, and the sought. 🙂
So I think the relativity pertains only to the plane of human existence which is only the content of experience and not its subject.
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You are right, my friend. You put it beautifully. “Truth is ancient, imperishable, and everlasting”(Baha’u’llah) Further proof of this exact thing is you just helped me understand the words out of my own religion!! No one has a “contract” with God; a corner on the truth! Very good! I am most grateful to you!!
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This is because you are already is possession of truth. What you hear is the reflection of yourself, and we are all here to reflect the truth to one another so we don’t forget it. Speaking to you does exactly the same for me and I too am grateful for that. The good thing is that your faith, the Bahai faith, is one of those rich traditions that has all the means for the attainment of truth; some of tradition get distorted as opportunists abuse them, but the Bahai is pure and very close to the heart of truth. That has been my impression of it. So you are already in an authentic, spiritual context filled with divine perfume. God bless you.