The Silent Truth

There is a simple truth that defies all explanation because it forms the basis of all explanation. It towers over our philosophies, religions and sciences, dwarfing the edifices of knowledge by which we claim to know. It can’t be magnified by theory, refined by belief, or preserved in tablets of stone. Neither is the ratification of discovery or reification in fact sufficient to define its boundaries. Nor can it be captured by the finesse of the artist, or the subtleties of scholarship, or the trappings of authority. Indeed, it empowers knowledge by stripping away all authority in what we can claim to know – for the knowledge that needs to be bolstered by authority is not true knowledge. And history shows that it is not with the mouth of truth that the facts are said to speak for themselves.

In the name of reason, we reject the possibility of a knowledge beyond the reach of our understanding, except as we allow it to be held in trust for us by others believed to know better. Thus we entertain proxy truths in relying upon the edicts of appointed authorities to tell us what we can and cannot know – as if personal knowledge is a recipe for ignorance, contradiction and delusion – as if reason can resolve the paradox of existence – as if paradox is the antithesis of truth. So we try to overrule the simple truth, believing that it must give way to the necessity of explanation. Yet the more we come to know, the more we come to realise the sheer scale of what we don’t know. Meanwhile, the fact of existence remains a mystery and the simple truth remains silent within the paradoxical pre-existence of possibility.

Mike Laidler