Every person has a situational truth which continuously evolves.
Human beings do not have an exact measure of who they are, for if they already knew who they are, they would never be unhappy. There would be no sorrows, no craving for useless desires and no use of involving themselves into the mundane activities of life which can never give peace, happiness and satisfaction.
So here is a story of a wise man who decided to study situational truth of people and how situational truth is related to a person’s satisfaction.
The wise man decided to meet random people and closely observe each subject and how that truth relates to his satisfaction/dissatisfaction.
First subject – beggar in rags.
Wise man: What are you up to?
Beggar: I am begging for food, I am hungry.
Wise man: Come with me, I will give you food.
The wise man took him to a nearby shop and fed him.
Wise man: Now what do you want?
Beggar: Nothing, thank you for your kindness.
Wise man: No. My question is what else do you want at this point? You were wanting food half an hour ago. What do you want now?
Beggar: Nothing. I just want to sleep now.
Wise man: But what will you eat for dinner?
Beggar: If I get good alms, I will buy food. If I don’t get alms, I will go to shops and beg for food. If I don’t get food, I will just sleep near that tree and wait for sunrise. The following day, I will repeat my activity. Someone or the other will give me alms or food. I am doing this for quite some time now.
Wise man: Why do you beg in the first place? Why don’t you start working, that way you get respect and earn your food yourself, there is no need to beg at all.
Beggar: What is the use of working when the money I earn will cause me more miseries and make me unhappy? Sure I will get respect from people who don’t love me, neither care about me. But that respect is of no use to me. Work will trap me. When I have some money, I will want to build a house, get married, have a children. Then? Then I am forever trapped in the cycle and have to work to feed my family. It’s just too complicated, let me keep things simple.
Wise man: So you don’t have any self respect?
Beggar: I don’t care of self respect. All I care about is eating, sleeping and roaming around.
Inference: This beggar has just only one need – the need of food. He has no wants and hence it is impossible to make him unhappy. The beggar is intelligent and has reduced the diameter of his situational truth to an extent that no grief can disturb him.
Second subject – A Scholar
Wise man: What are you up to?
Student: I am doing my graduation in political science from the best university of this state.
Wise man: What do you want to know about political science? Ask me, I will answer all your questions.
Student: Who are you to answer my questions? And your answers will not help me. I need to clear this examination and get 80% marks in each paper, only then I will qualify to apply for a masters degree.
Wise man: So you are not much concerned about the knowledge of political science. You are concerned about the validation from the world and your pursuit is mostly to earn that validation, am I right?
Student: Why should I believe you? What is the proof that you are a legit person? How can I believe you are telling me the correct things? It is very much possible that you will misguide me. My time is valuable. I will prefer to learn it from a professor in college compared to a random man whom I don’t even know properly.
Wise man: But you are a student. The student should have no shame, no ego, no dis-belief as long as it comes to the learning of his craft. Tell me one thing, won’t you learn things from a 8 year old kid?
Student: Yes I will. But not Political science, since the 8 year old kid knows nothing about it.
Inference: The wise man deduced that this student is mostly illusion-ed by his view of knowledge and thinks that knowledge can only be acquired in schools and not through a random stranger on a street. He is smug about his knowledge and wants to earn it not for the mastery of his craft but for worldly reasons. His situational truth is complete deception and he may never realize it at all. It is possible that this student can become a professor some day and teach wrong things to other people, which will cause a greater loss to human kind. However, the student takes immense pride in his pursuit and is happily doing it the wrong way.
The student’s situational truth makes him happy for the short term but actually causes damage in long term.So although the student has more knowledge compared to the beggar, but no Contentment.
Third Subject – A Business man
Wise man: What are you up to?
Businessman: I am the founder of this company and my company needs 10 million dollars to expand into another state.
Wise man: What do you sell?
Businessman: We sell leather bags, belts, shoes and other accessories.
Wise man: Which means, you kill animals for making money and need some investment to make more money?
Businessman: It is upto you to frame things how you want them to. That way, the restaurant also kills animals for serving food. The real estate business is also killing animals by cutting down forests.
Wise man: Fine, I understand we all are at a mad chase that never ends. Tell me one thing, what will you do with all the money that you are earning? When does it all end?
Businessman: I have enough money that can feed me for the rest of my life. Money is not the only thing.
Wise man: Then what is the real reason of all the hard work you are doing, even when you have enough money to spend the rest of your life comfortably?
Businessman: At first, there is a reason for struggle and then struggle becomes the reason. I cannot leave this business now, since this business has outgrown myself. If I leave this business, I will lose peace of my mind since this has completely absorbed me for 10 years.
Wise man: But from where I see it, you have already lost peace of your mind in pursuit of money.
Business man: You are right. But whatever peace of mind I have with me is when I see this business grow. The only time I feel happy is when I see my business hitting milestones. I cannot afford to lose this business now since this is the only thing I have which makes me happy.
Inference: This man has trapped himself into a situation that his happiness depends on something that he doesn’t need anymore. His situational truth has made him a slave of his own imagination and he is hopelessly pursuing happiness and himself becoming a barrier to it.
Your happiness or contentment is directly related to the truth you create for yourself. The paths you take in life will have different situational truths and this will determine the form of satisfaction a man gets in his life. This has nothing to do with magnitude or the scale but the nature of the truth and whether you are in a position to bear that truth.