Truth, Harmony and Life: Toward a World In which we can all Flourish


Edgeworthia chrysantha taken several years ago in Washington Park between the Rose Garden Store and the tennis courts.

[I know, many of us are already growing weary of the political circus/blood fest we now find ourselves in.  Since I’ve retired from the work day world, I find myself alternately blessed and cursed with time, time which I can spend working myself into some kind of fit, or wondering how did we get here, and, more importantly, how can we get out.  I know, this is not a horticultural posting, but I feel like if I’m going to ever garden happily again, if we are ever going to address society’s disassociation from the beating heart of this world, our lack of a healthy relationship with the life here on Earth, and begin to heal both ourselves and the landscape upon which our lives depend, we are going to have to change how we look at the world and each other, we are going to have to examine our values critically and sort out what is ‘true’ from what is expedient or simply common practice.  If life on this planet has any value we need to awaken to it, to listen and re-establish our relationship with it.  Part of this is in understanding the ‘truth’ that anchors all life, that binds us to one another.]

Recently, thanks to the likes of Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer, we have all been introduced to the concept of #alt-facts, or alternative facts, as if there can be two conflicting sets of fact that are somehow ‘true’ to those who proclaim them.  Facts, however, are ‘real’ and are rooted in the living/breathing world, they are part and parcel of it.  They are not beliefs or opinions that are subject to one’s personal position.  There is something universal and constant about them, otherwise, they aren’t facts.  They aren’t ‘true’.  

Most of us have heard the phrase, “That has the ring of truth to it.”  This is a reference to the tone that a bell makes when struck.  No matter how one strikes a bell the tone, will always be the same.  It may vary in volume or amplitude, but its frequency, its tone will be unchanging.  It will always remain ‘true’ to itself.  It does this because of the material it is made of, its structure and form.  It cannot do otherwise.  When struck it begins to vibrate and produces the sound waves that we hear creating a series of pressure waves that moves through the air.  As these waves move and encounter other objects the sound waves may reflect off, be absorbed and ‘cancelled out’ or cause the other ‘body’ to resonate, to vibrate at the same frequency, producing the same tone.  The energy is absorbed setting the object into identical movement to its shared resonant frequency.  This is not a choice an object makes, it is a direct effect of its structure and composition….When we hear something that has a ring of ‘truth’, it ‘awakens’ us, we have a sympathetic resonance to it and we understand viscerally, that it is true.  We do not put the idea or experience through some thought process and decide that it is ‘true’, we feel it in our core.  True is true.  Our brains may try to tell us otherwise, we may try to convince ourselves that what we have been ‘taught’ to believe, is true, but it is at these moments, before we attempt to interpret it through what we may have been taught, that it resonates and we ‘know’.  Truth reverberates within us, and like a bell, when it strikes us, we resonate.  Truth tends toward harmony, a shared resonance, that may not be the same note, but is none-the-less, harmonious.

There is a coherence between all like objects or in our case, between all people and the living world.  We have this in common.  Truth resonates between us.  Falsehoods, lies and attempts to manipulate others, are contrived and discordant.  They feel wrong.  We must be convinced of them either externally by others or by the well rehearsed arguments and philosophies that we have learned from friends, family, community and our various leaders.

Truths are perennial and universal.  Shared.  Truths cannot be ‘true’ for you and false for someone else, because at our cores we are the same, the same structure, the same tissues, the same cells, each in possession of a soul, a consciousness, a capacity to love and create, to contribute…or, if denied, its opposite.  We are coherent structures, coherent organisms, no matter where we live, no matter how we were brought up.  Like a bell, we have a shared resonance.

This is why when one person or one group attempts to claim something for themselves while denying it to others, it rings ‘false’.  It is discordant and untrue.  No matter how strident our claims might be.  When we claim the rights that we deny others, it is false, and we find ourselves having to justify our claim.  Society, in this case will spend a great deal of energy in conflict, one group attempting to defend and secure its claim, the other demanding justice and working to take it for themselves.  Our differences are contrived and maintained only through great expense to the whole.  This drags the entire society down.  Accepting this truth allows us all to resonate freely, capable of seeing and taking advantage of opportunities to grow, to reach our potential, to self-actualize and in the process give back to the larger society, instead of wasting so much time, energy, resources and lives maintaining an unharmonious, discordant and unjust society.

An unjust society will translate its desires into ‘rights’, but no true right exists in conflict with those of others.  Anything gained at the ‘expanse’ of another is not a right.  Such things are simply a selfish extension of desire or greed.  Selflessness is a human virtue, an aspect of love.  Greed is the opposite, it is an affliction, that weakens the individual and the society within which the person resides.  A society that supports greed is doubly compromised, damaged, discordant…deaf to its own resonances and truth.  A healthy society knows that it is only as great as the whole and works toward its attainment in spite of the atonal and unharmonious ‘pieces’.  A healthy society is inclusive and seeks its fullest expression, because that is what life is all about.  It is not about acquisition, or the accumulation of wealth and power, of dominance over….It is about the inherent harmony, the fullest expression of the joy that is life.


Cistus x anguilari. Most of my life’s regrets are plant related. Such was the removal of this gorgeous plant from my garden. I try to be ‘ruthless’ in the pursuits of the rest of my life. It can still be difficult trying to keep myself out of the way.


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