In my earlier post (A Spiritual Atheist) I said something that may seem a little contradictory to my normal “truth is” mentality. In fact, what I said sounds outright like ontological relativism. I said there is a universe in your head and that it is as vast as the universe we normally refer to (the one with stars and galaxies and dark matter etc.) and that in your own mental universe there are your own truths. Given that ontological relativism is nonsense, what do I mean?
I believe that all truth is objective. That, to me at least, is crystal clear in the celestial universe that our bodies occupy. No truth about the universe can be true to me but wrong to you but both of us still be right. Something either is or it is not, and no matter how strongly you and I feel something to be so, one of us could just be wrong. But in your head is another universe; a mental universe. And I believe the mental universe has truths as objectively true as the truths of the celestial universe. But the truths of your own mental universe relate entirely to you. If Hoyle can discover the gas laws in this universe, anyone can because it is a common truth that is, in principle, accessible to all. That is not the nature of truth in your own head; if you discover a fear of the dark in your own head that truth (that the dark frightens you) is not commonly accessible and it does not mean fear of the dark is true in other mental universes.
When I meditate I hope to find truths about me that are slightly greater than a fear of dark. And to an extent that has been the case: I discovered ambitions and happiness and the root of my argumentative problem. Other people find a relationship with something greater than themselves, but that won’t communicate any truth into the celestial universe. You also find your own personal values in your mental universe. These things will feel as real as anything you know about the celestial universe: love, beauty, awe, fear, happiness. But I think it is pertinent to draw a distinction between these truths in your own head (experiences, values and judgements)—as important as they are to the value and experience of the life we live—and knowledge.
I do not mean to belittle the truths of your mental universe by separating them from knowledge of the celestial universe, knowledge is by no means the most important thing (although knowledge is a noble quest, given the choice I would rather be happy and ignorant than miserable but knowledgeable). But when you realise that your values, even if held by a majority of people, are not inalienable, universal and objective truth, and that your experiences are subjective then you will realise that they are not knowledge.
In fact, knowledge is a superficial and fickle endeavour if you have no time to act on your values and to bathe in your experiences. I don’t get much time to discuss these ideas with you on my blog because I focus so unendingly on knowledge that is pushes these ideas out of my blog. But it never pushes them out of my head. It doesn’t matter if it’s not knowledge: brothers and sisters, live in beauty.