Viewing life impartially is one of the least stimulating yet most pleasing experiences I know. Biased views, on the other hand, are chock full of emotional tension, highs and lows, loves and hates —exciting yet stressful! Likewise, a good story is exciting, where as plain truth is often boring. While this is evident, Correlations (1) helps me look deeper into how and why any story usually trumps the truth. We love the angles a story highlights. Honestly, without this bias there is no story.
Bias is essentially any viewpoint that highlights differences and downplays similarities, i.e., the mysterious sameness to which chapter 56 refers. Of course, bias is a matter of degree, but it begins with the very words language uses to label differences. Uh-oh, surely that includes me right now. Ironically, I must use word bias to depict ways to avoid bias. I suppose chapter 18’s When cleverness emerges there is great hypocrisy exemplifies this characteristic of language. Well, that’s humbling.
No wonder chapter 56 says, One who knows does not speak; one who speaks does not know, chapter 23 says, To use words but rarely is to be natural, and chapter 5 says, Much speech leads inevitably to silence. Better to hold fast to the void. Now, with this necessary confession out of the way, I can proceed with my “truthful” story.
Tracing life experience over the last 50 years to its existential roots has been an odd journey. It’s like tracking a long river upstream searching for its headwaters. Presently I find fear to be at life’s headwaters. (See Fear Is The Bottom Line, p.139.) Yet, is it really the source? After all, I used to see need as being at life’s headwaters. In any case, both fear and need play key roles in why the story trumps the truth, as a few Correlations (1) may demonstrate.
Need -> Effects
Causes <- Fear
This Correlation proportion can be read in a circular clockwise direction, like so: Need effects fear, fear causes need. This may require some peripheral vision and intuitive feel to understand. Step back, relax and let it sink in for a moment. Note: Fear is not the cries of terror we see in frightening circumstances. Such effects are a symptom of fear. Fear, at the headwaters of life, correlates to the empty, still, silent, dark, dead, the yin complement of yang. This passive realm is the underlying origin of need… and any actions that needs trigger.
It is interesting how truth correlates to fear, i.e., truth ≈ void ≈ stillness ≈ dark ≈ death ≈ silence ≈ nothing ≈ fear, and so on. This means illusion correlates to need, i.e., illusion ≈ full ≈ action ≈ bright ≈ life ≈ sound ≈ something ≈ need. Note: In my view, truth correlates to reality. Substitute reality for truth and reread this paragraph. Do you notice anything interesting? Consider these Correlations as relative, not absolute. Thus, for example, death is more similar to reality just as life is more similar to illusion, comparatively speaking.
The murky logic of Correlations (1) indicates that truth causes need. I suppose that makes no sense… at least at first. Nevertheless, hang on; there’s more.
The Story We Want To Hear
Illusion -> Effects
Causes <- Truth
Reading this Correlation set gives: illusion effects truth, truth causes illusion. How can truth cause illusion? Consider this as a parallel to the old saying, “behind every myth is a grain of truth”. Illusion overshadows truth, until there is no more than a grain of truth left in the illusion.
We love the story over the truth because the story provides just enough grains of truth without the bewildering, fear inducing and mind blowing whole truth… the totality! Each need or fear you feel corresponds to a slice of truth worthy of looking into. Alas, looking into one’s bottomless truth-pit of fear and need is not that pleasant. It can correspond to shooting the messenger, i.e., the act of lashing out at the blameless bearer of bad news. We hate looking at or listening to what we don’t want to see or hear.
Conversely, the stories we like are the ones that support our biases and tell us what we want to hear. While mostly fluff, the stories we feel comfortable with retain just enough truth to make them credible. Yet, we can’t escape the truth in the end; to paraphrase chapter 5, Truth, like Heaven and Earth, is ruthless, and treats the myriad creatures as straw dogs.
UPDATE 2022: President Trump’s MAGA movement has verified what I have observed throughout my life, but never fully accepted emotionally. It puts meat on this post. We are emotional animals, not substantially different from the rest. We are only capable of being rational when emotions are totally quiescent. And I dare say, this is the case for other animals as well. Yes, other animals don’t think, per se, but they can react much more ‘rationally’ (prudently) when their emotions are still.
(1) Correlations is the best tool I’ve found for closing in on truth with a minimum of story bias. (See Using Yin and Yang to Pop Preconceptions, p.527)
If you’re new to Correlations, these posts may also help:
Tao As Emergent Property, p.121.
Fear Is The Bottom Line, p.139.
Learning What You Know, p.111.
What Is The Tao Actually, p.39.
Think What You Believe? Believe What You Think?, p.37.
Correlations Prime Directive, p.28.
Grinding Out Correlations, p.26.