Yesterday I found a book on my roommate’s shelf. This was almost too coincidental. I was down in a slump of an attitude mulling over life and determined I needed something to immerse myself in distraction. My eye caught the words “Chew On Life’s Big Questions”. I pulled it out and read the full title: SoulPancake Chew on Life’s Big Questions // Speak your mind. Unload your questions. Figure out what it means to be human.

Rainn Wilson (Dwight, The Office) co-authored the book and its contents center around unearthing your definitions of what it means to be human. It challenges you to think about questions that shake up reality and puts the world into perspective.  All things I’ve been struggling with over the past year plus. Here are the opening sentences…

SoulPancake is a movement to chew on life’s big questions. It’s a space to tackle art, philosophy, creativity, and spirituality. And ultimately, SoulPancake is about you-the thinkers, artists, poets, and misfits who seek to stamp out stigmas, shake up truths, and redefine what it means to be human.

After flipping through the introduction and diving into a few exercises I wanted to find the best way to get the most value out of this book rather than set it down and forget. Thus, I’m going to tackle one page per day and write about it here on my blog.

Today marks day one. The first section centers around The Brain and The Soul. So, without further ado:

How Do You Determine Truth? 

Truth is what’s real, it’s what separates fact from fiction. Deciding what’s true and what’s false can be extremely difficult, especially in today’s society. What you believe to be true can only be based off what information you have.

Determining truth from that information requires critical thinking that only you can do for yourself. Examining every possibility objectively. In examination, everything gets thrown into question. Your beliefs and presumptions must be checked and double-checked.

Before analyzing the logic and credibility of an opposing viewpoint, it may be wise to challenge your own first. What opinions about the truth do you have that may or may not be correct? Breaking down your own beliefs first will open your mind to new ideas and possibilities about what the truth may be.

I’m the first one question my knowledge on any subject matter. Not knowing what kind of information someone else may have. Once I tear down my walls, I can listen to another’s perspective with a clear and open mind. I put myself in their shoes and figure out why it is they think the way they do.

Does truth evolve?

What’s true one minute can definitely be false the next. However, that doesn’t change that fact that it was true. Did the truth evolve, or did the facts merely change to determine the truth from one instance to another?

Our perception of what’s true can certainly evolve. We can only base our perceptions on whatever stimuli we receive. That can be external or internal.

When I look at a piece of art it makes me feel a certain way. I can tell what I’m feeling as being the truth because the chemicals in my body are reacting in such a way that determines this outcome. I can look at the same piece of art in 10 years and it could evoke a completely different set of emotions. My perception of the art has evolved, as have my feelings.

Truth is truth. What has been true will always have been the truth. What’s true now cannot be untrue, and what will be true need only manifest itself in the right circumstances.

What’s one thing you know for sure?

I am certain that life is precious and holds great meaning. The mere fact that you and I exist proves enough that what we all have is special. We can’t know the truth behind why or how, but that doesn’t determine whether or not life holds meaning. What does is that you are living, right here, right now.

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