By Anthony Casperson
One of the things I appreciate about RPGs over other tabletop games is the ability to achieve interesting applications of items/abilities. There are very few other types of games where ingenuity is just as beneficial as the use of the things given to the player by the game.
For instance, in the D&D game for which I had been the DM, I’d given the players several Mad-Max-like dune buggies and motorcycles for the purpose of having a chase scene as they tried to outrun a soon-to-blow explosion—of near-nuclear proportions—and head into a transplanar portal.
With enemies riding closely behind, several of which were on a massive wrecking vehicle, the party did everything they could to keep the bad guys at bay. Casting a spell to churn up the earth behind them in order to slow the pursuit. Planting a ranger on the back of one of the buggies as he sniped at the enemies on motorcycles. One player even flung back spells through his crystalline sword/magic focus as he rode his own motorcycle.
It looked like the group would handily escape the enemies and make it to the portal in time. But then…
The players nodded at each other and seemed to mentally communicate that they wanted that massive vehicle for their own purposes.
One player spun his buggy around—a full drifting 180—and aimed it straight at the monstrous vehicle. He punched it to full speed and readied himself to jump out of the coming crash. His supernaturally-enhanced leap, which had an additional magical boost on top of that, was aided by the buggy’s sudden flip as it smashed into, and was crushed under, the larger vehicle. He landed on top of the enemy transport, went full beast mode, and attacked.
Needless to say, the party gained a new addition for their allies. And made it through the portal.
While the story is a pretty cool one (and I even left out quite a few details), I want to focus on the application of the one player’s buggy. I, as the DM, had expected the players to just use it to flee. Maybe to have a neat set piece as they fled from a coming explosion. And they totally could have applied the use of the vehicle that way.
But the player came to another application, a previously unseen setting in which to utilize the same object. This planned shift in application of the buggy didn’t make the vehicle suddenly become something else. No, it remained the same thing. (A little worse for wear later on, sure, but still the same.)
The shift of application didn’t suddenly make a new buggy. Finding a different setting in which to use it didn’t make me have to conjure up another vehicle for them to use it that way. It was true to its original purpose even while being applied differently.
I bring this up because I think that we have a misunderstanding of truth and application in our culture. This place where truth is considered to spring up as “yours” and “mine” and “theirs.” And I think this is because we confuse the application of truth as a “new” truth instead of just a shift of setting.
For quite some time, I’ve spoken of truth as being like a diamond. It is a precious thing with many facets. A shift in perspective might bring to light incredible beauty that’s always been there. But it is the exact same object, the same truth, regardless of the perspective. It doesn’t change; our perspective on it does.
And when we bring the beauty of truth into our lives, it’s like we’ve placed the diamond into a specific setting that we find to be useful to us. Whether it’s the sparkling centerpiece on top of a ring, or forced to showcase only one facet as it’s encased by gold in an earring, or lost in a sea of other gems for a necklace, we are applying the truth in a specific way.
Our choice of application and setting doesn’t change the truth. It remains the same thing. Only the setting changes.
A person could have a skilled jeweler remove a diamond from their grandmother’s wedding ring and have it set into a necklace so that the memory of grandma is always close to heart. But it doesn’t make a new or different diamond. It is the same gem. Just like how that player’s use of the buggy didn’t make it a new vehicle.
And this is what I think we need to realize when we apply the truth into our lives. It may be a different setting, but it remains the same truth. There’s not “your” truth and “my” truth and “their” truth. Rather, there’s application of the truth for you, and for me, and for them. Just because we set the truth differently between us doesn’t mean it’s a different truth.
The truth remains the same for everyone, regardless of its setting.
But this is where we must also tread carefully. Because some settings might misapply the truth—obscure or mishandle it. Not every application stands in line with the truth. And sometimes we even try to hide its beauty because we want to force our application onto truth, which doesn’t support our desired setting.
Not every supposed application of truth actually is setting the truth to showcase its beauty. Sometimes we selfishly desire things our way and will obfuscate the truth to get there. Distort its beauty. So, not every application/setting will reveals the fullness of the beauty of truth.
However, when we allow truth to be the beautiful centerpiece of our setting, it will shine in any application.