Is there anything called universal truth or universal beauty?

April 22, 2021 | Acharya Prashant

Questioner (Q): If positive and negative, good and bad, beauty and ugliness are all a matter of personal perspective, then can universal positivity, universal goodness, or universal beauty exist? If it’s the majority that decides, then is the majority the judge of the deeds to be done by one, in a communal setting? Or is it better for an individual to believe in oneself and proceed with his own beliefs?

Acharya Prashant (AP): That which you call as ‘personal perspective’, obviously belongs to the person, right? And as you have pointed out – The person is a bundle of conditioning. The perspective of the person comes from his illusions, right? Don’t you see that which you think of as good for yourself so frequently turns out to be harmful? That which appears beautiful right now probably is merely a shadow of the ugly. But we have a lot of confidence in our beliefs. We say that – “I think of something in a particular way, therefore, that thing is the way I look at it”.

Now, what is it that you call as ‘universal positivity’ or ‘goodness’ or ‘beauty’? Probably you mean to say that – If a lot of people agree, that they have a shared belief that something is ‘good’ or ‘beautiful’ or ‘positive’, then that something can be called as universally ‘good’ or ‘beautiful’. Not really.

If it is our conditioning that leads to our perspectives, if it is our conditioning that leads us to believe in our sets of ‘good and bad’, ‘high and low’, ‘fair and unfair’, ‘profitable and unprofitable’, ‘vice and virtue’, then what would be good for all human beings would simply be freedom from this conditioning.

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Acharya Prashant is an emerging champion of socio-spiritual awakening in the world today. An alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad, and a former Civil Services officer, Acharya Prashant is an acclaimed Speaker, Vedanta Teacher and author of over 50 books. Apart from that he wears various hats: a veganism promoter, an environmental activist, a science activist, a campaigner against superstition, and a champion of essential human freedom. Know More

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