I like Banah's response:
>>In order for the word truth to have any meaning, we have to assume that somewhere there is an absolute Truth - otherwise, whatever we call truth, is merely personal opinion or relative observation dressed up in a noble sounding word!<<
The absolute, capital "T" truth, in my view, is most likely part and parcel with God and therefore inaccessible in our present incarnate form. What's left is the truth of what we can know, personally and intimately, about ourselves. Once that's been achieved, it makes sense that we will then know something fundamental, a transcendental truth, something important relative to humanity as well. And then I'm pretty sure You can get to God from there -- actually, this is something I BELIEVE with all my heart, mind and soul; but in deference to Gene's sensibilities I'll leave it at that).
There IS the small matter, however, according to one tradition, of the "cherubims" and "flaming sword" that "keep the way of the tree of life" (Gen 3:24).
This suggests (and is confirmed by me from personal experience), that this truth -- the only thing I can really KNOW about -- me, myself -- this truth is not easily nailed down. It twists and turns; it hides, it writhes, and it bites. David and Gene's analogy of the "Ego" fits well enough -- and, yes, an effort to know oneself does indeed, at times, seem to be like peeling an onion or, for that matter, a snake sloughing off its old skin.
But such an approach to self knowledge, to me, seems interminable. To me it seems a trap of the Ego. Ego is sly and crafty. Though it knows subservience and it knows somnolent, glassy-eyed slumber; it knows no master. It waits for openings -- it waits for the perfect moment. Combating the Ego is like being sealed in a small, inky black cell with a venomous reptile. Just you and the snake in the dark.
Lol - Okay, aspiring adept, or mystic, or shaman or priestess, what do you do with a venomous snake in a small, closed room in the dark? Chant at it? Make a pass?
I loved to terrorize my sisters growing up. One time in particular I found a snake, half-frozen in the snow and also had the extraordinary good fortune to have all three of them (my sisters) near at hand at the time. "Look!" I cried, picking it up by the tail. They barely glanced and were off, screaming, with the snake and I on their heels. The apartment complex we lived in had a dozen doors and half as many hallways and flights of stair. We were up and down and through them all at least twice until they made an error in judgement and tried to hide in a storage closet in the basement. Their labored breathing gave them away, so I tugged on the closet door handle and it yielded and inch or two before three pairs of hands tugged it forcefully back. I tugged at it again and the door yielded again, and they forcefully tugged it back again, making frantic sounds . . .
Now, let it be known that I have sinned greatly in my day. I am a worm. This is not in dispute. I am a craven worm, and my sisters -- and wife, for that matter -- never cease to delight in reminding me of that fact. Perfect strangers, even, seem compelled to remind me not to forget that the devil was man's invention, and that "there is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death."
[God bless you, Kimberly. If I were given to phylactery, I'd have that one tatooed to my forehead]
Anyhow, back in the basement of our apartment complex, what seemed right, what seemed a fitting finale to the drama over the closet door between my sisters and I was to tug once real hard and toss the snake into the intervening gap . . .
Now, I only held the door for a few seconds -- they, however, will tell you it was ages longer -- I argue that this is purely a subjectivity -- their "being in the moment," as it were -- what's more, no one could have held that door more than four or five seconds max. It is as it was. The point of my little parable, however, is that there was nothing left of the snake. Roadkill has more surface features than that snake had. Caught as my sisters were, in a dark cell with a snake, they didn't try to catch it, negotiate with it, live with it. They stomped the crap out of it. In the maximum of five seconds that I leaned against`the door, they'd reduced that snake to a smear on the linoleum. Really, I'm convinced that's the only way to deal with Ego (Gene, hindsight's twenty-twenty, but perhaps that's something your mom and aunts didn't understand in their generation).
In Genesis, Chapter Two, God brings all the animals to Adam "to see what he would call them." Without much effort, one can see that this was a test of sorts. God wanted to get an idea how Adam saw himself in relation to the rest of the creation. According to the text of this tradion, we're not told what God determined about Adam in this test. All we are told is that God concluded that none of them was "an help meet for him." Adam clearly needed help; yet none of the animals God brought to him would do. So then, were told, God causes a Adam to fall into a deep sleep, removes one of his ribs, forms Eve, then wakes Adam to see if she can help. From the context, it would appear Eve is exactly what Adam was missing in order for him to form an understanding of his true relation to the rest of creation.
This, in my view, is one of the earliest, objective truths -- how might this relate to Gene's anti-belief stance, or David's anti-Ego stance? How might a woman help her husband, her son, her brother to achieve victory over Ego? How, in light of through whom the "fall" is purported to have come, was Eve ever to be a help "meet" for Adam? She did seem to have a way with serpents . . .