What is Truth? What is Real?


Climate change?  Does it matter?   The storm surge from Hurricane Irma flooded my crawl space, water heater, and outside air conditioner, and I’m still cleaning up the debris.  kco091117 

Information.  Misinformation.  Disinformation.  News.  Fake News.  Opinion.  Generalization.  Prediction.   Propaganda.  Lies.  Advertising.  Gossip.  Second guesses. Stereotypes.  Assumptions.

I feel overwhelmed by the glut of demands on attention and allegiance.  What to believe?  What not to believe?   To believe everything and nothing at the same time?  To trust my own judgment or to doubt?  I long for escape, to screen it all out, to hear only the sounds of birds and wind through the trees, to see only the clouds floating by or the filigree of Spanish moss.  Nature speaks her own language, full of mystery, but without hypocrisy.

Consensual science says the climate is changing, and it’s man’s fault.  “Climate deniers,” some with the same education and backgrounds, say the whole idea is a hoax.

The public and the media seem obsessed with the president of the United States, as if he alone has the power to bring on the Apocalypse.

I look at my immediate, media-avoidant home and see the reality of today’s chores awaiting me. The frenzy that has gripped the world in fear of terrorism, Congressional bickering, North Korea, “climate change,” the latest hurricane, and what gaffe the “Orange Tweet” has committed now. . . all seem far away, surreal, and not my concern.

My “scientific inquiry” has a more practical bent.  How to repair the broken handle on my favorite plastic thermal mug, so that it will hold.  Scientific experiment number one only worked a few days.  Scientific experiment number two added rubber bands to hold the handle while epoxy dried.


The word “science” comes from the Latin, “sciere,” “to know,”  but I contend knowledge is forever evolving and changing, based on new data, new perspectives. Lately, I’ve had to accept that much of what I thought I knew no longer applies.  Not only that, I’ve found those who speak with the most authority often believe they know more than they do.  Are they lying?  Not if they believe they know.  Who knows?

They say “knowledge is power.”  I’ve found knowledge also brings the responsibility for decisions about what to do with it.  Each action or non-action leads to unforeseen probabilities.  We can never know the paths not taken.

Lately, I’ve had to question everything I’ve been taught, especially within the field of medicine, but also regarding history and politics.  While they may seem to be different areas of concern, they have merged as two inextricably linked paradigms regarding the human body and mind, as they relate to the greater social family of humanity.

I feel a greater need to understand than to know.  To understand is eventually to love, according to one of my favorite philosophers.  To believe I “know” is an exercise in hubris, maybe, and this is where official “science” and I part ways.  How do you know you know?

Maybe I’m psychic.  Maybe I’m psychotic.  Maybe there’s no difference, from an internal perspective.  I’ve always relied on what I call a “vibrational perception” that tries to attune to “energy fields” of emotion:  the frenetic human angst in the city, the mood of a room, the quality of the sounds in the atmosphere, the body language of someone I’ve unwittingly offended.  I feel things I can’t verify.  I dream of things—usually minor things—before they happen.  I believe I live many lives, not in a sequential way, but in a group of parallel lives in a “spacious present” where “bleed throughs” regularly occur.  I believe time is an illusion, so we are all essentially immortal, thrust together in multiple contexts until we figure out how to get along.  I believe ghosts talk to me, although I’ve never seen one.  I feel them in my “vibe space.”  They like to mess with me.

I can’t “prove” any of this, nor do I care to try. Maybe it’s imagination, but imagination gives things their own validity. I still have a physical body in the physical world we breathing human beings agree exists, the “reality” that depends on physical senses for information.

I contend there is no objective reality, that we are all subjective, with unique perspectives, experiences, orientations.  I believe life is universal and provides the energy of the cosmos.  Some people call it god.  Some call it “qi.”  Some may not think of it at all.

I read today that many people feel a strong need to be “right.”  They screen out conflicting evidence and dig their heels into defending ossified conclusions.  That was my father’s way.  He was a proud “rational scientist,” scornful of the “emotional irrationality” of women, generally, and my mother, specifically.  To be wrong around him was a character flaw, never to be lived down, so it became an exercise in pride never to admit error.  Ghosts don’t exist, he claimed, until he became one, witnessed by a friend of science, after he died.

So who really knows?  Maybe we’re in the throes of a massive paradigm shift, in which the desire to understand begins to surpass the futile attempt to know.  I don’t believe the future is fixed or predictable.  There are many probable futures, I hope, but the present is a good place to start.

42 thoughts on “What is Truth? What is Real?

  1. navasolanature

    Your post seems to really convey the mix of emotions and responses to real events you experience and the ‘other’ world outside that really enters in to our lives with so much conflicting information. Interesting too to hear about your father and I think there has been a shift from that thinking but perhaps also a backlash. The need to be right and the avoidance of responsibility for actions seems to be prevailing but am sure too there is a strong surge for responsible action with mutual understanding . Hope you are beginning recovery from the hurricane.

    1. katharineotto Post author

      I hope you are “right” about the shift in thinking. I agree that some people are beginning to wake up and assume more responsibility, maybe realizing they can’t wait for or depend on others to do it for them. Hurricane Irma wasn’t nearly so devastating as Matthew was last year. We’re still clearing downed trees from that one and were without power over a week. No felled trees this year, and only 24 hours of power outage. Water heater works, but I still haven’t tried air conditioner. Maybe today. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts, Katharine and many of the questions you pose I reflect upon myself from time to time.

    Some thoughts came up – this is in general and not related to your father, but to modern society today:
    I think the rejection of personal responsibility, while maintaining a moral high ground (at all costs), give rise to the need for “being right” at all times. This need to be right (to prove to oneself that you are right and moral), means that people need to continuously find and identify those who are not right or moral and then point that out to them: so it is a form of moral superiority that needs to be maintained. Basically it is a form of moral classicism, but it stems from insecurity and a lack of genuine morals. The deep Self is insecure in itself, because it suffers from double standards and it knows it, subconsciously. So, in order to remove that feeling of not being very moral itself, it has to continuously project upon others. The only solution is for individuals to face their own shadow, which of course, is the last thing they want to do. [That’s my Jungian analysis of it]

    Most likely your father was a rationalist because he rejected anything metaphysical or spiritual, (behind the accepted spirituality of religion, if he was religious) so he blocked it all out (perhaps due to fear of it) by being super-rational, scientific and “right” at all times. An absolute belief in science and only science is however also a religion.

    As for all the “white noise” of the media – in 2011 I wrote this piece – it was around the time of the Fukushima disaster in Japan – I had a feeling that this was the way the media was going – too much information – all low quality – almost impossible to get a picture of the truth – I may have been wrong about a few things though and especially about the arrival of a general positive intent in society and the arrival of empathy. That still seems to be sadly lacking – although I have seen people report evidence of empathy during the recent hurricane. At the time I was not aware of the cyclical nature of energy as I wrote in my recent article – and I did not expect things to become so polarised as they are now:

    I recently discovered a very inspiring series of talks by a Yasuhiko Genku Kimura – he answers a lot of these questions, I think. You can have a look at this video channel – here is his opinion about the new paradigm we are going into – according to him we are slowly moving from materialism to non-materialism – 2012 was the symbolic end of the materialism paradigm, (my interpretation: so moving forward, people are more and more likely to have spiritual, psychic or metaphysical experiences). We have passed peak-materialism, but we first have to go through an adjustment stage to adapt to the new paradigm, which will inevitably involve a natural collapse of social and other strictures, which are all based on materialism.

    1. katharineotto Post author

      Thanks for reading and for your comments. I read your latest post a few days ago and have been thinking about a reply. I also watched the video above, but have not yet read your 2011 post. Will probably have some comments there, when I get to it.

      I concur, as you know, with many of your Jungian interpretations. When you mention “lack of genuine morals,” above, I wonder, instead, if people have suppressed their genuine morals because they have developed the habit of compromising on principle. I do believe we are born with a sense of right and wrong, but are socialized out of “gut instincts” as in being told how we “should” and “shouldn’t” feel, for instance.

      Also, “empathy” is hard to define, or really to recognize. I make a distinction between individual and institutional “empathy.” The latter exacts a price, so is not “from the heart” but from the pocketbook or some expected reward. The former expects no reward. Maybe.

      The video of Yasuhiko Genku Kimura intrigued me, partly because of his thoughts on astrology, which, like the pyramids, is based on geometry. I agree that most astrologers don’t know how to interpret the symbolism’s cosmic significance. And while he says he doesn’t believe in predictions, he goes on to make predictions about the impending chaos. Without saying so, he describes the “New Age,” the “Age of Aquarius,” as the two-thousand-plus year cycle we are just beginning. The 25,000-year cycle he also mentions is based on “precession,” the time it takes the north pole to rotate backwards through the 12 signs of the zodiac.

      Don’t get discouraged too soon, as we are talking about “long time,” not the mere five years since 2012. As you know from your studies of Mayan prophecies, they span generations and eons, and it’s hard to see in the present what may be evolving over the ensuing cycles.

      My father is a long story, a reflection of his place and time, as we all are. He was highly intelligent but under-estimated his warmer, more compassionate side, so mocked it in the women close to him. Regarding our “shadow” sides, I believe people also project some of their best qualities (like empathy) on others, believing they are signs of weakness or inadequacy. Shadows are not all bad.

      1. Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

        Thank you Katharine and very good points. Yes, empathy can include altruism and emotion, but for me it is something that comes from the heart on an individual level. You are right, the wheels turn very slowly, especially the larger ones, and the Age of Aquarius or Maya Fifth World will only come into full strength in a couple of hundred (or more) years, but let’s hope that we can increasingly cathc glimpses of it as we move forward and let’s live it out in advance.

      2. katharineotto Post author

        JJ, The reason I mentioned qualities of the sign Aquarius is that it gives specific areas–like electronics and computers–where the brotherhood of man may reveal itself. In this sense, social media can be a powerful force for developing greater understanding through grass-roots networking (another Aquarian concept). The detachment of Aquarius might also assist the spiritualization of matter, in that freedom-loving Aquarians don’t like being tied town by possessions. Just two ideas.

      3. Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

        Katharine – yes, grass-roots communications via technology is very important – like we had in the 90’s and 00’s. People used to write e-mails in the way they wrote letters before that. The era of social networking has a superficiality about it that brings out a lot of narcissism, unfortunately. According to some of the Maya mythology I have read, they believe that at the end of some of the previous worlds humans destroyed themselves through their own technologies.

        Also the billions of devices people are using need a lot of rare earth metals to function, which come from mining methods detrimental to the environment.

        I’m therefore sceptical about it all and the way it is going – too much of a good thing and all that…

        (I wrote a couple of extensive articles on this subject on my main blog titled: “What is progress” and “Happy go lucky faster”.)

      4. katharineotto Post author

        I’m not a big fan of social media, but I recognize it as a reality, although in its infancy. It is superficial and somewhat surreal, in that you can connect without intimacy with strangers, so it is safe, for the most part. You can pretend to be who you would like to be, like an actor does. I can’t say whether that’s good or bad. Image is so important to some people, something I don’t understand.

        I’ve read about humans destroying themselves through their own technologies, too. Stories about Atlantis, for instance.

        We could easily be headed that way, but I contend there will be survivors, and those survivors will either have to learn to cooperate or will already know how.

        If we want “heaven on earth,” I believe we need to imagine it already exists and think more “heavenly” thoughts and do more “heavenly” things. Edgar Cayce said “Mind is the builder,” so we need to practice imagining how we want things to be.

      5. Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

        “And while he says he doesn’t believe in predictions, he goes on to make predictions about the impending chaos”

        Katharine, yes – what intrigued me about what he said was that it seems to match the symbolism of the Mayan short cycle that we are in right now – so it’s probably not really a prediction, but rather based on ancient recorded events through observation, in other, probably Eastern systems – like in the the Vedas and Yugas, or advanced Buddhism like Kalachakra. (Although to us it would seem as prediction/s)

      6. katharineotto Post author

        That interests me, too. However, there are lots of people predicting chaos, economic ruin, Armageddon, and nuclear devastation. It seems some religious fanatics want to bring on the destruction to prove God’s wrath against the wicked.

        I would like to see more people speculating about how to cope with the (probably) inevitable changes, and this is why I like the symbolism of astrology, to help understand the growth lessons we can extract.

  3. Pingback: What is Truth? What is Real? — katharineotto | Three Worlds One Vision

  4. Rosaliene Bacchus

    Katharine, I’ve shared your post on my blog. I believe that those who seek the truth are already on the right path. For the benefit of the Masters of our World, we’ve been so constantly lied to over the years that the truth can lie beyond our reach behind a deeply encoded firewall.

    While the future of our individual lives may not be fixed or predictable, the physical laws of our Universe, as manifested on Planet Earth, make the future outcome of human manipulations of those said laws predictable. Over the ages, with the cumulative knowledge of our great scientific minds, we understand much more about our planet and the Universe than our parents and ancestors.

    1. katharineotto Post author

      Thanks for sharing and for your reply. I agree that the seekers–those who admit they don’t already “know”–are on the right path, partly because they are willing to listen with an ear to understanding. I’ve read that those who will save the earth (and mankind) are those who know how to cooperate. To do that, they need to communicate, to share good ideas and take them further.

      One of the “paradigm shifts” that I have not noticed mentioned elsewhere is that from Newtonian physics to quantum physics in science. While Newtonian physics describes the apparent physical world, quantum physics takes our search from the perceivable to the imperceivable, to sub-atomic and macro-cosmic levels. In this regard, it begins to approach the Oriental concept of “qi” and “life force,” which the Newtonian, mechanistic, view of science omit. By its own criteria, official “science” cannot “prove” life exists, nor can it prove the “mind” exists, although we believe it’s in the brain. My blog above attempts to take this into account, with the idea of “vibrational perception,” an acknowledgement of quantum physics, qi, and the power of consciousness to affect the environment. There’s more to it, but I’m getting too long-winded (long-worded?) and will defer to an unpredictable future time.

  5. Pingback: What is Truth? What is Real? — katharineotto – Blog post by Rosaliene Bacchus

      1. katharineotto Post author

        Rosaliene, Yes, JJ is a find, with a different but compatible interest in metaphysics. Thanks for following and for your comment. Maybe I should write a blog on astrology, something I’ve thought about doing?

  6. jkaybay

    Interesting post! There’s definitely an extreme situation evolving between “right-wing” and “liberals” where neither wants to hear a word of what the other side wants to say. Beyond rationality (deep down) I think we all know what’s the right thing to do and what’s wrong.

    1. katharineotto Post author

      I suspect we know individually but there are too many people who believe they know what others should do, too, and that’s where the clashes come. Thanks for your comment.

  7. Sha'Tara

    There has been a shift, probably due to the exponential (and correspondingly unsustainable) growth of technology based on scientific materialism. What is causing global chaos today (forget about climate change for a moment) is that most Earthian leadership, in every major discipline – religion, politics, and finance – only know how to apply outdated models to current conditions. To accept that their models no longer work is to lose their position, power, and credibility… They’d rather go down with the ship than admit they are wrong. They fail to realize they no longer have any credibility, only force of propaganda, persuasion through fear-mongering and outright lies. Those lies are destroying what’s left of their power world, but more importantly, are threatening the very survival of the planet and the lives of billions of people. The video presented here says we are entering into a time of complete chaos. He says we are losing the old without having yet developed “the new” to replace it. I agree completely, we are plunging into a power vacuum. This maelstrom is going to destroy man’s civilization, that is the only logical conclusion I can arrive at. Considering the level of meaninglessness, confusion, mindlessness, violence, corruption, and unsustainability that underpin civilization globally, its downfall is unavoidable. What to do then? Think, not on how to fix this miasma, but on what would constitute a new way, not at all based on what has been done before. By now we should think strictly ‘new’ – not repaired or recycled. This is the point where I part company with most people I interact with. I refuse to waste my time working to fix something that has never really worked and try to push that jury-rigged and jerry-built contraption forward into the future. In Frank Herbert’s Dune works, at one point Muadib say, (paraphrasing, it’s been a long time since I read that) “We are in the crucible; we have entered a time when everything will turn against us.” As a civilization, this is where we stand. Through heedless expansion; taking nature and natural resources for granted; unchecked materialism and a mob mentality of taking anything and everything we could wrench from others by force, we have made ourselves, as a species, the number one predator, a predator without valid competition, without checks and balances; a wave of locusts spreading over the entire surface of the planet; the number one enemy to be destroyed if anything is to survive man’s brief passage. Civilization is the machine man erected to achieve this level of destruction from which nothing of value was learned. Thus, the machine has to be destroyed. Needless to say, this is NOT a popular view because whichever way we choose to go (and I predict it will be with propping up bit and pieces of the old civilization) the results remain the same: much chaos, havoc, death, and destruction. Now add anthropological climate change affecting the most populous areas of the planet with extreme weather conditions seriously affecting the many “grids” that sustain major cities near sea level. We could look upon Costa Rica as a microcosm of our coming earth. We could take action, stop all our wars and pour our resources into rescuing, sustaining and rebuilding. But we will not. Could it make a difference? Would such an empathic move send a message somewhere, stating that we are willing to really change? As you write Katharine, ” Maybe we’re in the throes of a massive paradigm shift, in which the desire to understand begins to surpass the futile attempt to know. I don’t believe the future is fixed or predictable. There are many probable futures, I hope, but the present is a good place to start.” Could we learn to “hear and understand the voices of the dead”? What would they tell us?

    1. katharineotto Post author

      I see our current situation in a similar way but see hope for a different future, if individuals begin to recognize their own power for individual and collective change. In this sense I’m an anarchist, although a non-violent one, who sees government as becoming less relevant and as the cause of many of the problems we face. Could people survive and even prosper without the overlords? As long as we believe in overlords, we will remain slaves.

      It depends on how you define “prosper,” I figure, and this is where materialism prevails now. To me, “prosperity” means appreciating what I have, for starters. I don’t understand peoples’ drive to have more than they need or can manage easily. If the fabric of civilization is rotting, as seems to be happening, that could make room for grass-roots new beginnings.

      Yes, I do believe the dead can and do talk to us, but they don’t necessarily agree with each other or have the best answers to current problems. Best to use our individual powers of discrimination to separate what feels “right” from the rest.

      Thanks for your thoughts, You bring up many ideas, which I hope we can flesh out over time.

      1. Sha'Tara

        Thank you Katharine… sharing new ideas, always a good thing. I’m “on board.” (And I have to assume that “the dead” have learned something; that most of them would tell us, from bitter experience, that we are dancing on the edge of a black hole.)

  8. juliecroundblog

    This is a different use of wordpress for me. It is a long time since I thought deeply about the state of civilisation but there are worrying trends.Thanks. I added my thoughts in my last blog.

    1. katharineotto Post author

      Thanks for your comment. Will check out your last blog. I’ve been negligent on WordPress lately but am glad others are collaborating to save humanity from itself.

  9. Holistic Wayfarer

    “he alone has the power to bring on the Apocalypse”
    Actually, it looks like he does, and yes, given the emotional man he is, it is terrifying to say the least.
    NPR just ran a clip on how little accountability the President has in the decision to push the button (turn the key, actually). Truman reined it in from the hands of the military when to his horror, he realized it had gone ahead and not only dropped the bomb on Japan but was planning THREE. He frantically worked to stop it. After he took control of the nuclear decision in order to keep the military accountable, Eisenhower took office and the matter became more lax once more bc he was, of course (or had been), a general. And through Kennedy and the subsequent administrations, the ball went back and forth. But here we are with this crazy man behind the controls.

    That aside, you are absolutely on target with the energy that rules our life. All matter emits energy, not the least of all, people. Which means each blog has its own. =)

    1. katharineotto Post author

      I didn’t know that about Truman. I’d like to believe the situation is different this time. Then, the military was trying to end a war quickly, and to use new technology. Now, the military seems to be trying to rein the president in, in order to prevent a war. If we go after N. Korea, for instance, I believe we would lose the support of China and Russia. They are closer, after all, and (theoretically) Communist.

      I read an article the other day that Trump’s economic sanctions on N. Korea are showing glimmers of working. We shall see.

      Thanks for the comment and info.

      1. Philip Ruskins

        Thanks for that cognizant perception its true we need more people of “light” in these platform so that the total combined goodness will dispel ignorance in the world, at least eventually.

      2. katharineotto Post author

        I figure there will always be more to learn. Also, a lot that needs to be un-learned. Ignorance may not be wrong in itself, but intentional blindness can be devastating.

  10. katharineotto Post author

    Thanks for the link to the Sheldrake interview. I watched part of it but was too impatient to watch the whole thing. I’m glad scientists like Sheldrake are challenging official science’s dogma.

    I also checked out your blog and was impressed. Now following. Thanks for following mine.

  11. ᛋᛠᛉ

    I’d be curious to read more of your thoughts on timelessness, otherworldliness and the like. Quid EST Veritas indeed. Pontius Pilate is my favourite scripture character, and he’s a figure for the age. In a world of conflicting truths under the umbrage of that illusive BIg T Truth, what can you do but ask? It’s no wonder we turnout such a high rate of burnout,with the competing programmes, mass psychological manipulation, spiritual disintegration all done under”moral” auspices.

    I too believe “time” is an illusion, a byproduct of sequentialism orchestrated by the brain to give context to existence. Time has less meaning for animals the further “back” in intelligence they scale – according to our present and likely someday to be revised understanding of intellect. It stands to reason, I think, that time matters less with less forward thinking because the less clouds the mind, the more one remains in tune with Essential Nature. But that’s just me. A lot of food for thought.

    I agree about the climate. I agree that fearmongering and control fetishism underpin the “science.” But I also second guess myself. I know the scurrilous, scandalous conspicuous consumption and arbitrary waste of modernity is poison- but I also think so is liberalised environmentalistm – given all these Al Gore types have humungous carbon prints. I just wish I had a satisfactory moral solution applicable to myself that isn’t a compromise.


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