An Allegory of Reality, Truth, Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom
We don’t have direct access to reality. We look at it through a kaleidoscope – a confused, fragmented mind.
Is there a single, objective reality? Good question. For the time being, our kaleidoscope (perception) is our reality and our big picture of reality looks like a cubist painting.
Through learning and experience, we acquire and improve reality chips (truth and knowledge) and use them to improve our kaleidoscope.
Truth and knowledge are relative. Every time our kaleidoscope turns, it re-shuffles these fragments of knowledge and truth. Major turns occur when we change from a child to an adolescent and from an adolescent to an adult. As adults, we may experience shifts too, for example, from a religious person to an atheist or vice versa.
Understanding is the knowledge of context, how the chips of our kaleidoscope associate.
Wisdom is the knowledge of the kaleidoscope’s mechanism, how the mirrors and the glass chips work and how they produce the illusion of a subjective reality. Wisdom always works. It is objective because it describes the nature of perception.
What makes matters complicated is that our mental kaleidoscope has more than one lens. We perceive reality through our senses, we react emotionally to experiences, we think and reason, we dream, and can interpret the meaning of experiences. If we want to become more realistic we need to align and improve all mental lenses, not just that of perception.
Enlightenment happens when the lenses become more transparent.
IQ gets us only so far. We need to improve our EQ (emotional IQ) too and declutter our mind. Sounds tedious? It is. Where to start? Anywhere! There is no linear procedure because psychological evolution is complex.
Trust experience to guide you and when a mentor reveals himself, trust him too, even if he nauseates you by turning your kaleidoscope too fast.
Is it worth the effort? If you don’t just want to make a buck, but live a happy life and strive for enlightenment, it is unavoidable.