Truth and Non-Truth

New Philosophy of Life
Written by Okada Jikan Mokichi, 1950

When talking about something, people say that it is the ‘truth from a long time ago.’ However, they don’t seem to say ‘non-truth’ or ‘false truth.’ When considering all kinds of practical matters, we should know the distinction between the truth and false truth. It makes a significant difference in the results. I always think that people misinterpret false truth as truth in many cases but they don’t just realise it.

There are truths and false truths in religion, philosophy, science, art, education. Any kind of false truth collapses in a few years, decades or hundreds of years. On the other hand, truth is permanent. When something new is found, people once believe it as supreme truth. However, it will very often collapse someday when a new theory or discovery appears. Same as that, no one can guarantee that even great religions won’t collapse hundreds and thousands of years later. Having said that, they might not disappear. It is sure that the only parts of false truth disappear and those of truth remain. Even if nothing remains, they played a certain role in cultural progress. Therefore, they never become the target of criticism. Even if something is a false truth, the closer it is to truth, the longer it will exist. The reverse is also true. That would be a matter of course.

Experts and forerunners are supposed to judge rightly what is truth and false truth from time to time. That is their responsibility. However, the truth is that there are quite a few people who have such extraordinary insight. Even false truth lasts quite long. Autocracy and feudal thought were once regarded as truth even though they are not. For example, fascism advocated by Mussolini, Nazism by Hitler and Universal Brotherhood by Tojo were once flourished even for a short period. We wonder why people didn’t realise they were not the truth at that time. In this way, certain nations temporarily regarded even false truth as truth and made light of human lives. Many people fell victim to such illusions and died. Such unfortunate people remain clear in our memory. How terrible false truth is!

There are many truths and false truths in religions. We shouldn’t miss this truth. Numerous minor religions have appeared and disappeared. Some were short-lived and some completely disappeared even though they were brilliant at first. It is because they were religions with false truth. If a certain religion is as valuable as truth, it is sure to rise and become a great one someday even though it is once strongly persecuted. You would see that by looking at great religions that currently exist.

Translated by N.H.