Gandhi, Character Building, Truth-Telling, continued

Yesterday we meditated on Gandhi’s warning about character building and truth telling and its importance for the very survival of human society.

CNN‘s Sara Sidner describes indications of potential links between the former White House occupant and QAnon propaganda.

This seems especially pertinent when we learn that a certain ex-president, who is threatening to run for president again and riding shotgun for his political party, gave a talk this past weekend in Ohio where he linked up forces in an explicit way with QAnon, a conspiracy group shouting near crazy slogans of hatred onto others who do not follow their extreme path.

At moments like this, it might be fitting to hear from some other voices who also consider truth seeking and truth speaking important. 

George Orwell warns us that “during times of universal deceit, telling the truth is revolutionary.”

The social media is a technological achievement so new that we are just beginning to recognize its evil impact for spreading untruths so rapidly and effectively that it can devastate a person’s mind.  Such technology seems to carry out Gandhi’s warning about how “science without humanity”–let us say, “technology without awareness of humanity’s weaknesses and laws to guard against it”—can wreak havoc in a society.

Quotes for our time: George Orwell on truth-telling. Trutherex

Especially is this true when the goal of wreaking havoc and chaos and disruption is the spoken purpose of a certain political “philosophy” spoken explicitly by Steve Bannon and cheered on by those who follow him.

bell hooks tells us that “the heart of justice is truth telling.”  She is surely on the same page as Thomas Aquinas when she reiterates the teaching we shared yesterday from Aquinas, how truth and justice journey together and both are the “proper objects” of the human heart.  We are hungry for both, as hooks is telling us.

Law professor Sabrina Hassanali holds a sign at the Truth Walk in Decatur, IL, 6/11/2022, part of national Days of Action coordinated by the Zinn Education Project, Black Lives Matter at School and the African American Policy Forum. Photo by Dean Hesse, TeachingForChange, on Flickr.

Pontius Pilate, a political “leader” in his day and representative of the oppressive Roman Empire, is famous for asking Jesus at his trial, “Truth, what is that?”  And Jesus is famous for refusing to answer, implying it seems to me, that some people are so awash in their own version of reality that it is not worth getting into an argument with them. 

Maybe a contemporary version lies in the phrase, “alternative facts,” language also spoken by a person in a high place in imperial politics.

It would seem that truth and falsity frequently clash in the context of empires and empire building. 

 See Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, pp. 101-108.  

And Matthew Fox, The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human, pp. 138-145.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Extinction Rebellion boat on the river Thames near Westminster, London, 07.10.2019 Photo by Stefan Müller on Wikimedia Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you agree with bell hooks that “the heart of justice is truth telling?”  What does that teach us?  Does it mean that injustice needs to be named and accounted for?

Recommended Reading

The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times

A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
“What a wonderful book!  Only Matt Fox could bring to life the wisdom and brilliance of Aquinas with so much creativity. The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
–Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human

The A.W.E. Project reminds us that awe is the appropriate response to the unfathomable wonder that is creation… A.W.E. is also the acronym for Fox’s proposed style of learning – an approach to balance the three R’s. This approach to learning, eldering, and mentoring is intelligent enough to honor the teachings of the Ancestors, to nurture Wisdom in addition to imparting knowledge, and to Educate through Fox’s 10 C’s. The 10 C’s are the core of the A.W.E. philosophy and process of education, and include: compassion, contemplation, and creativity. The A.W.E. Project does for the vast subject of “learning” what Fox’s Reinvention of Work did for vocation and Original Blessing did for theology. Included in the book is a dvd of the 10 C’s put to 10 video raps created and performed by Professor Pitt.
An awe-based vision of educational renewal.Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

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11 thoughts on “Gandhi, Character Building, Truth-Telling, continued”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, Today George Orwell warns us that “during times of universal deceit, telling the truth is revolutionary.” And bell hooks tells us that “the heart of justice is truth telling”–and I agree with that, but with truth, their comes both responsibility and consequences. My philosophy professor in seminary told me once–when I was thinking of coming out that I did not believe in one of the core beliefs of my denomination–and he knew what the truth was for both of us, if we told the truth, we’d be out. So his only response to me was this: “Remember Rick, you can only be a martyr once, so you better make sure that this is what you are willing to die for.” And yes, truth and justice journey together–but not like “truth, justice, and the ‘American” way ???” What does that teach us? It teaches us that injustice needs to be named and accounted for!

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    It is the action, not the fruit of the action that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.
    “Our current paradigms, mirrored in our many institutions, have been failing for some time. Awakening to this realization rather than denying it, begins the process to discover new and healthier ones that have integrity. Out of intense imbalance and commotion in the extreme swing of the pendulum, comes the motion and emotion that provides the momentum for our swing back to balance. As we allow these insights to flow and freely permeate our consciousness without denial, we painfully recognize and accept that we have been ignoring our own ignorance.”

  3. Avatar

    Truth-tellers have been and continue to name the many injustices in this world, in an attempt to hold those accountable, whom mainly are those in positions of power, for generations; which has often resulted with little effect, as evidenced within all the crisises humanity is currently facing. The heart of justice therefore must be tethered to much more than truth-telling, as important as this is. Many of the injustices humanity is facing, reveals the inner condition, conflictions and afflictions entangling the heart, soul and psychy of humanity itself, and it is these knotted threads of imbalances and the woundedness of this, that makes for such pain and suffering in this world. The most important action a truth-teller must take, in my personal opinion, is first to engage with this deep inner heart, soul, psychy work of untangling these threads of bondage within oneself, which has the potential of releasing the true spiritual resources that lay hidden within this powerful gift of truth-telling itself, which are awaiting to be claimed and broken open into givenness, in response to the injustices that we encounter in this world. The image of the Blue Man that Hildegard painted comes to me, as does the writings of Teresa of Avila and the interior castle; as a mandala and a laberythn of the truth-tellers journey.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, What a beautiful comment. You write: “The most important action a truth-teller must take, in my personal opinion, is first to engage with this deep inner heart, soul, psyche work of untangling these threads of bondage within oneself which has the potential of releasing the true spiritual resources that lay hidden within this powerful gift of truth-telling itself, which are awaiting to be claimed and broken open into givenness, in response to the injustices that we encounter in this world.” Its true that we need to do our inner work, but as long as we don’t use it as an excuse for not responding to injustice even now. Too many think that inner work is a prerequisite for doing justice-making, but the truth is the matter is that they need to be done together in order that we are balance in our spirituality. Also, I like especially your references to Hildegard’s Blue Man and St. Teresa’s Interior Castle

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    May God’s Spirit of LOVE(Compassion/Healing/Peace)~LIGHT(Wisdom/Truth)~LIFE(Justice/Creativity/Beauty/Joy)
    grow in our hearts and lives with one another, All living creatures, Sacred Mother Nature/Earth,
    and the ongoing co-Creation~Cosmos in God’s Loving Diverse Oneness and Eternal Presence….

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    It’s interesting to me that a number of the George Orwell quotes are staples of QAnon. The one that stuck out to me most was, “The people will believe what the media tells them they believe”. Certainly, the mass media is a social media. It guides and shapes public opinion at least as much as it polls it. This puts everyone of us in the seat of guiding our own lives responsibly. We cannot escape the fact that we exist within a social network and that we are not isolated individuals in that sense. But nonetheless, we must also maintain our own individual balance between the conscience and consciousness that lies behind our eyes and the objective phenomena that command our attention on a daily basis. Balance is the trick when walking the knifes edge.

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    Look within for your own truth. Call things by their correct name. Justice, compassion, love abound but must be more than words.

  7. Avatar

    Clearly, lies lead to and sustain injustices. We are called, in short, to grow up, clean up, wake up, and show up. No matter how difficult it is and how much push back there is—-power almost never voluntarily gives up—, our voices must tell of the injustices, and, as Matthew says, what to do about them. Limiting the amount of media we allow into our lives and choosing reliable sources, we can both inform ourselves and gain support of others who are making good trouble, ala John Lewis.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Sue, You suggest “Limiting the amount of media we allow into our lives and choosing reliable sources…” Personally I only watch the news for about an hour a day and some times I go for a number of days without watching the news at all. However, today I was walking by our bedroom where my wife was watching the news and I heard that President Biden was speaking out against Putin’s nuclear threats! And I thought: “How could one person be so selfish that he would jeopardize the whole world just to get what he wants.” Just think of the contrast–Jesus says: “what good will it do you if you gain the whole world and loose your own soul?

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