Veritas vos liberabit* by Mark Ulyseas
Ulyseas has served time in advertising as copywriter and creative director selling people things they didn’t need, a ghost writer for some years, columnist of a newspaper, a freelance journalist and photographer. In 2009 he created Live Encounters Magazine, in Bali, Indonesia. It is a not for profit (adfree) free online magazine featuring leading academics, writers, poets, activists of all hues etc. from around the world. March 2016 saw the launch of its sister publication Live Encounters Poetry, which was relaunched as Live Encounters Poetry & Writing in March 2017. He has edited, designed and produced all of Live Encounters’ 145 publications till date (Febuary 2019). Mark’s philosophy is that knowledge must be free and shared freely (without charge) to empower all towards enlightenment. He is the author of three books: RAINY – My friend & Philosopher, Seductive Avatars of Maya – Anthology of Dystopian Lives and In Gethsemane: Transcripts of a Journey. www.amazon.com. (Above photograph: At the boat races Nam Khan in Luang Prabang, Laos PDR. © Mark Ulyseas.) *Veritas vos liberabit (Latin) is a variant of Veritas liberabit vos (“the truth shall set you free”) 8:32 of the Gospel of John.
The truth will set you free.
So what is the truth?
What we see?
The tentacles of media in all its avatars has reached deep into our thoughts setting up colonies of impressions of the world around us and turning them into a truth that is twisted beyond recognition. Certain individuals claiming to be of one religion or another have carved these impressions into an exotic phantasmagoria that incite us into their world. This world has its own rules in which one must exist or become an apostate, whatever this means. There is no middle or other path.
So how does one find the truth to be set free?
And what is this freedom? Life before death or after death?
And what is death? Physical or spiritual?
And what is life?
Illusion or delusion?
The present ebb and flow of life is becoming increasingly toxic. Politics, religion and traditions are fast becoming a lethal concoction garnished by prejudices that defy all logic. Reason and honest debate are a near extinct species.
Utter a word of dissent on any topic related to religion and one is immediately branded an anti-this or anti-that. A kind of mental and spiritual laziness is creeping in. We are afraid to face a reality, a reality that stands on the threshold between reason and delusion. We are afraid that, perhaps, all that we believe in is not what it seems but in actual fact is something else entirely. People with their attendant paraphernalia of charms and symbols pontificate about truth and where it originates. We are afraid of contradicting these folk for fear, fear instilled in us from childhood, of a vengeful God and what may happen if we question their claims or worse still rebel. Superstition of colours, numbers, days and certain natural events have joined the colonies of embedded impressions residing in us. Fear has become part of our DNA.
So what is this truth that will set us free? Freedom from fear, fear of the unknown?
The slitting of an animal’s throat in worship to a god? And then cooking this slaughtered animal and eating it?
Self-flagellation to achieve a level of mental agony to enable one to cross over from the physical to the supernatural world, albeit momentarily, in the hope of finding the truth?
To believe that an event occurred in the past and that in this belief one is set free from the entanglement of the mendacity of living? But does this belief cancel out all other beliefs?
Why do we have to believe in anything?
Why do we need to have a purpose in life?
Aren’t we all animals with teeth, nails, hair, and the sexual urge, always prone to extreme violence to one another and to the world around us?
Is having free will the truth?
Many espouse the belief that we don’t have free will and that all that happens in our life is preordained. So if this is the truth it cannot set us free when we are imprisoned in our manacled lives.
Someone remarked to me the other day that God cannot exist because there is so much suffering and hence the notion of truth is a man-made untruth.
Perhaps free will does exist. Perhaps free will is the cause of so much suffering in the world. Perhaps free will offers us a choice and we often choose that which enriches us, materially et al, without any love or care for the living world around us.
Is this revelation about free will the truth?
That we are masters of our own destiny?
There are those that believe we live in Maya – an illusion created by God. And that in reality we and the world we live in is an illusion of God, so nothing really exists.
So is this the truth?
There are ascetics that distance themselves from humanity by retreating physically and mentally into the wilderness by avoiding all contact with humans in the hope of finding the truth through communion with their God/s.
And the truth that they find, is it a personal experience or the Truth? How can we know this for sure?
A follower of the Sanatan Dharma told me that the truth is within us. And to find this truth the seeker must experience life, the sacredness of life, and through this experience find one’s way back to discover and embrace the truth within. And to experience life one has to live it in harmony with all living things and not be guided either by Holy Scriptures or rituals of worship in any form. If one uses such crutches then the seeker would never find the truth within.
When I asked the follower what he meant by the truth, he replied, ‘God’.
In another incident I met a devout Christian lady who spoke passionately about her belief. When I asked her about the meaning of ‘The Truth will set you free’, she replied, ‘That God sent his only son Jesus Christ to be born among us, and give his life for the sins of humanity, thus setting us free from the mark of Cain. And that all who believed in Him would be set free.’ And when I pointed out that there were other ancient faiths around the world with their own interpretations she said that the only book she ‘follows’ is the Bible, which cannot be questioned. Not a word. Not a comma. It is the Truth.
Of course, Jews, Jains, Muslims, Buddhists, and Sikhs et al have they own versions of the truth.
And so it goes like a dog chasing its own tail.
Could it be that the truth is the miracle of life on a beautiful blue planet circling the sun? And that this truth is all that we have to love and cherish in the vastness of space?
Perhaps the truth that sets us free is love, a love so great that it can solve all human created problems on earth.
But many of us have overlooked this great love because we are blinded by pathological anger and hate in our hearts.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om
© Mark Ulyseas