Truth

February 21, 1992
Feeding the Homeless Mind - UCLA

Kicking off UCLA's lecture series "Feeding the Homeless Mind," Dallas Willard provided an insightful lecture on the nuanced interplay between truth and freedom, challenging common misconceptions and highlighting truth's fundamental role in personal and societal well-being. Through engaging anecdotes and philosophical rigor, Dallas invited the audience to embark on a reflective journey towards understanding and embracing the transformative power of truth in our lives.

University of California, Los Angeles
February 1992

This was the first session in a series at UCLA called the "Feeding the Homeless Mind." It was a "standing room only" evening.

Resources

1: Truth

Dallas delves into the often misunderstood and even feared concept of truth, illustrating its central role in human freedom, action, and the very fabric of reality. He challenges the modern skepticism towards truth, emphasizing its objective nature contrary to subjective beliefs. Dallas invites us to reconsider our approach to truth, arguing that acknowledging and seeking truth is not a constraint on freedom but a liberating force that enriches our actions, choices, and ultimately, our lives.

2: Truth Q&A

In this Q&A session, Dallas extends the dialogue into the intricate terrain of applying truth in the pursuit of greatness, facing disillusionment, and the crucial role of education in broadening our perspectives. Navigating questions ranging from how to recognize truly great individuals in our lives to handling disappointments and cynicism, Dallas offers wisdom on expanding our understanding through comparison and learning. The session delves deeper into moral confusion, the challenge of affirming goodness amidst failure, and the transformative power of trusting in the broader, often challenging, journey towards truth and self-affirmation.

Truth

Highlights:

  • Misunderstood Nature of Truth: Dallas opens by addressing the common misconceptions and fears surrounding truth, emphasizing how these misunderstandings often lead to a reluctance to embrace truth in our daily lives.
  • Freedom vs. Truth: He explores the perceived conflict between freedom and truth, arguing that truth, rather than limiting freedom, actually empowers us to act more effectively and meaningfully in the world.
  • Journey of Human Understanding: Dallas reflects on the human quest for truth as a long, intricate process, using the example of Einstein's E=mc² to illustrate how complex truths are gradually uncovered over time.
  • Truth in Action: He stresses the importance of truth in guiding our actions, suggesting that our beliefs about what is true fundamentally shape our interactions with the world, even when we cannot directly see or understand the truths we rely on.
  • Objective Reality of Truth: Dallas challenges the notion of truth as subjective, asserting that beliefs are true only if they accurately reflect reality, regardless of individual perspectives or feelings.
  • Role of Institutions in Shaping Belief: He discusses how institutions—ranging from the family to larger societal structures—play a crucial role in transmitting beliefs about truth, morality, and values, shaping our understanding of the world.
  • Questioning Authority and Embracing Truth: Dallas encourages a healthy skepticism towards the authorities and institutions that mediate our beliefs, advocating for a reflective and open-minded approach to understanding truth.
  • Integral Connection Between Truth and Human Flourishing: Dallas concludes by highlighting the deep connection between our pursuit of truth and our overall well-being, suggesting that a commitment to living in truth enhances our freedom, enriches our lives, and allows us to become the best versions of ourselves.

Truth Q&A

Highlights:

  • Starting with the Familiar: Dallas begins by advising to start our search for greatness with those we know, typically within our family, setting the stage for understanding and evaluating human greatness from a personal standpoint.
  • Dealing with Disillusionment: He addresses the disappointment that arises when people we once viewed as great fall short of our expectations, emphasizing the importance of broadening our perspectives beyond our initial influences.
  • Role of Education in Expanding Views: Dallas highlights the essential function of education in widening our sample of "great" individuals, moving us beyond cynicism to a more nuanced understanding of human goodness.
  • Navigating Moral Confusion: He discusses the moral confusion prevalent among young people today, especially their reluctance to acknowledge the existence of truly bad individuals, reflecting on the complex nature of morality in society.
  • Quest for Goodness: Dallas encourages an ongoing search for good people as a remedy to cynicism, underscoring the need for a realistic and comprehensive approach to evaluating human character.
  • Affirming Life Through Relationships: Dallas delves into the complexity of family dynamics, particularly the challenge and importance of reclaiming and affirming the goodness in our parents to truly affirm ourselves.
  • Truth, Trust, and Faith: He explores the relationship between truth, trust, and faith in navigating life's decisions, advocating for a reliance on God's presence and guidance in the absence of clear directions.
  • Exclusivity and Religion: Dallas tackles the difficult question of religious exclusivity, pondering whether God listens to all prayers regardless of one's faith, thereby touching on the universal nature of divine attention and the inclusivity of spiritual seeking.
     

(The Q&A ends suddenly because the cassette tape ended while recording.)