“Truth Against the World” is the motto of Iolo Morganwg, inventor of many of modern Druidry’s traditions. I just want to take a little time to examine what it means, and why I’m only recently contemplating it seriously.
The mystics say “abandon the world” which can be understood well… or not at all. Usually it is understood as the Earth or nature, so spirituality became associated with something “above and beyond” the world of matter. Ecologically speaking, this has been a disaster, hence my reluctance to accept Iolo’s motto. We really don’t want to add to the anti-nature attitudes that have done great damage to our world.
But I think the hermits had it (partly) right. They abandoned society and sought out isolated places in nature. They were tired of hypocrisy and the myriad fantasies that people called “reality”. Apparently only the tree, rocks, birds and weather talk sense – everything else is rubbish; they speak the “truth against the world”. A cold cave is a cold cave, it won’t pretend to be anything else.
But the world is getting smaller, and we can’t really abandon the human world physically like the hermits did. It’s also not going to make things any better – you leave behind society, and though you may feel better (partially), society certainly won’t. But our “abandonment” of society shouldn’t be physical (even if it is tempting) since being anti-social is also damaging, and you’ll always carry a little bit of society with you. The abandoment has to be a lot more subtle than that.
I’m reminded of the Matrix films, and taking the red pill and the blue pill. Once you take the red pill and realise the truth that “everything is a lie” you don’t need to leave the world of egos and appearances behind, you just need to learn to navigate it without losing yourself. You can enter or exit the Matrix/world/society at will, work within it or work outside of it, without announcing your subversion or being detected by THEM! (“them” is pretty much anyone that has a vested/egoistic interest in Society, which is pretty much everyone). You maintain the ego as a Useful Tool, but not a Fundamental Reality.
Most people think of themselves as egos that drive bodies around, which is a Lie Against Nature. The beginning of the Truth Against the World is the realisation that we are bodies carrying egos. If we all started thinking like that, the world would be an extremely different place! (and hermits would come flocking back to society in droves… if they notice anything happening outside their cave, that is)