Sunset on a beach at Ilocos

The main thesis of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), an established method used to treat mental and emotional problems, is that there are two realities: (1) what exists out there (fact) and (2) what exists in a person’s mind.

CBT argues that what often occurs in the mind of a person suffering from a mental issue is a distortion of factual events happening in his life. This distortion is created by his mind’s skewed interpretation of reality.

Say, his friend went pass him without saying “hi.” He’ll interpret this as “My friend ignored me because I’m too insignificant” when the fact is that his friend was running to a job interview and so was preoccupied.

Distorted, almost automatic, interpretation of reality produces negative emotions and a conscious correction of one’s thought patterns, which CBT does, alleviates the suffering.

I find a resemblance between CBT’s main thesis and what I see is true with what exists in the world.

There are things that exist independent of our minds and a truth statement about them are “facts.”

On the other hand, there is another level of reality which is entirely dependent on our minds - thoughts, emotions, interpretations, experiences. A truth statement based on one’s emotions and interpretations are “values.”

In the search for meaning and truth, a meaningful distinction between these two has to be recognized. Not everything that is different is bad. They are just what they are.

Much like depression or psychosis, a distortion of truth happens when we let our values meddle or dictate how we see “facts.” Facts are discovered by logic alone.

We might be motivated by values in our search for facts but that’s just it. They motivate us but they are not tools to uncover facts.

Working on values is a completely different ball game, simply because it has a different form of existence.

This is just how things are. And not respecting their nature leads to a life soaked in lies.