By Bill Harley
No age previous to ours has ever been so overwhelmed with information. From the 24-hour news cycle, the ready access to the internet, the rapid expansion of research and technical knowledge, and the constant drone of advertising messages, we are bombarded with information constantly.
Yet no age previous to ours has had more trouble identifying and agreeing on the truth of any given matter. It is no coincidence that the revolutionary decision-making and problem-solving process called Compassionate Consultation (CC) has appeared in this age—it is the truth finding methodology for the 21st Century and beyond; yet few people know about it.
Jean’s and my second book, TRANSFORMED: How to Make the Decisions That Change Your Life, is a guidebook to understanding and gaining skill in using CC for individuals, couples, families, communities, organizations, institutions and the world at large. In the book, we outline 12 Behavioral Standards for practitioners that distinguish CC from all other decision-making processes and help provide its transformative results. One of these is “Having the Attitude of an Investigator of Truth.” What does it mean and look like to embody this Behavioral Standard during CC or in life generally?
A good investigator of truth does not have prejudgments about the issue at hand. Whether the investigator is a detective, a scientist, a citizen trying to keep well-informed on social issues or a member of a group using CC, she or he may have an initial “theory” about how to solve a problem or address an issue, but the theory goes out the window the second the objective evidence leads in a different direction. The good investigator doggedly follows the evidence on the path to truth.
Any good investigator of truth is curious and hungry to objectively explore all the evidence surrounding an issue; and will never ignore or downplay evidence that contradicts his or her evolving “theory of the truth”. Having a partisan point of view—as so many do in today’s world—prevents having the objectivity and independence of mind that are characteristic of an authentic investigator of truth. A synonym for “partisan” is “biased”.
For example, whether one leans toward the left or the right on social issues, one tends to take in evidence that confirms that bias and avoid evidence that does not. The fact that virtually all network and cable news sources have a partisan editorial perspective in these days feeds this tendency. However, the true investigator of truth conscientiously finds and explores sources of evidence from both the left and the right in equal quantities and depth before drawing conclusions on the truth of the matter.
In this regard, the investigator of truth remembers that the truth of any matter and the optimal solutions to addressing it are usually subtle and multi-faceted. As a result, almost any complex social issue requires for its resolution a nuanced combination of solution elements from both the right and the left. When the investigator’s viewpoint is a partisan one, it tends to prevent this type of holistic resolution by over simplifying the issue at hand; and it leads to solutions and decisions characterized by mistaken premises, imbalance, and unjust and divisive outcomes.
The antonym of “partisan” is “impartial” and this is a key attribute of the sincere investigator of truth. Having the attitude of an investigator of truth in Compassionate Consultation and in life generally is best described by the scripture in which God says:
“O SON OF SPIRIT! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.”
This quotation makes it clear that when every participant in the Compassionate Consultation decision-making process is striving to manifest the attitude of an investigator of truth, they are also manifesting justice, accessing divine assistance and drawing nearer to their Creator.
To better understand how to be an authentic investigator of truth, the rest of the 12 Behavioral Standards for CC and the process of Compassionate Consultation itself, read Jean’s and my second book, TRANSFORMED: How to Make the Decisions That Change Your Life