Parrhesia: Truth to Power

In Blog by Patricia Albere9 Comments

           Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.   -Mahatma Gandhi

Every day I wake up at 4 am – naturally, without any alarm. It must be a deeply ingrained pattern from lifetimes of being either a monk, nun, baker or farmer. Since the November election, I have developed a pattern of flipping on CNN to watch Alisyn Camerota and Chris Cuomo while I answer emails and drink my tea. I wake up with the strange urge to find out if the world is still there…. and in what condition?

As I take in the swath of images and updates, I feel how we seem to be getting farther and farther away from a shared reality that values truth. It’s almost as if we are caught in the archetypical story of the “Emperor’s New Clothes”:

“A vain Emperor who cares about nothing except wearing and displaying clothes hires two weavers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is either unfit for his position or ‘hopelessly stupid.’ The Emperor’s ministers cannot see the clothes themselves, but pretend that they can for fear of appearing unfit for their positions, and the Emperor does the same. Finally, the weavers report that the suit is finished, they mime dressing him, and the Emperor marches in procession before his subjects. The townsfolk play along with the pretense, not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid. Then, a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all, and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor suspects the assertion is true but continues the procession.” (from Wikipedia)

The Greek word ‘parrhesia’ appeared in Greek literature around 500 years BC. It means, literally, ‘to speak everything’, and signifies a kind of internal compulsion to speak the truth for the sake of the greater good, even at the cost  of personal risk or danger. In our terms, it means a kind of transparency that is wholehearted, courageous and full.

In our current culture of personal process people reveal their ‘truth’ by divulging inner feelings, thoughts and subjective experiences. Parrhesia is distinct from that kind of ‘speaking everything’. It’s a way of knowing the truth through direct contact and experience. In our work in the Evolutionary Collective, our capacity as a group of people to live inside transparency and openness is becoming stable. The awakened consciousness we share depends on our passion to stay close to reality together, to be intimate with whatever is present. Our approach is driven by the shared commitment to becoming a collective of ‘parrhesiastes’ – those willing to know and express truth, even when it’s challenging.

          If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.  

A parrhesiastes knows what is true through their direct experience – the emperor is not wearing any clothes. It’s simple, clear and undeniable. And even though it’s often inconvenient (at least in our current world) to know truth and feel the need to express it, as a parrhesiastes, you speak regardless. Though it might be risky, a parresiastes finds it more painful to live inside a world of lies. An inner pressure drives a parrhesiastes to speak truth to authority or to a larger organization or institution, even at a personal cost. What makes someone a parrhesiastes is that their power is sourced from truth itself, not from a position or situation of authority in the outside world.

We live in a global culture that, by and large, puts a very low premium on truth. Our survival based priorities take precedence every day. ‘What’s truth got to do with it?’ after all?  We trade our allegiance to truth to be safe, comfortable, reinforce our self-images, make ourselves look good, to gain approval, acceptance, love, to be successful, have power, etc. All of these are infinite variations on attempting to get what we believe we want and hold on to what we think we need… Much like the emperor’s subjects who were unwilling to speak the truth of what they saw because they believed that they would appear ‘stupid’ or ‘unfit for their positions’. We share a world where we are encouraged to compromise, live on the surface, and deny the deeper truths that would allow us to come together in ways that honor one another and life itself.

Every day, we are confronted with disregard for and distortion of truth. The resulting chaos and frustration this causes in our world is becoming extreme and undeniable.  “Alternative facts,” blatant lies and reversals have become daily fare. We are being called, as never before to reclaim and establish a world where truth, goodness and beauty can flourish once again. Within the Evolutionary Collective, we are collectively taking on our human resistance to loving and living from the truth. My hope is that many of us will be ignited into our parrhesiatic nature and, like the child in the story, we will cry out and awaken those around us with the truth. We will unite and enter into reality together – the only place from which we can be orchestrated to create a new world.

On May 13th, I’ll be leading a 3-hour virtual retreat – SPIRITUAL TRANSPARENCY. We’ll be working with parrhesia and radical truth telling. I hope you can join me for this vital work of liberating the force of truth – in ourselves, in the space between us, and in this world.


In (r)evolutionary love,




“My Soul is naked, it wears the transparent garment of Love.”Rumi

When we encounter a true spiritual path, we realize that the journey of becoming ourSelves is actually one of disappearing – becoming transparent, being open to the power of existence and our true Selves flowing through us unhindered. Anyone who has mastered anything discovers that when they are experiencing the height of mastery – the ‘I’ that they usually identify with isn’t there.  There is no ‘dancer’, only the experience of being ‘danced’.

What does it take to enter into a shared awakening?  In this retreat we will explore the level of shared transparency necessary to enter into a sustained field of unity. How do we become radically open, undefended and sensitized to deeper dimensions of reality? How does this practice of mutual awakening allow us to become more and more ‘self-less’?  And in turn, more ourSelves than ever before.

spiritual transparency

Part 1: Parreshia: Radical Truth Telling

In this session you will discover how radical transparency, relational courage and a love of the truth liberates us to speak and know reality. We have the power to live a new consciousness and bring it more fearlessly into our lives and into the world.

Part 2: Multidimensional Intimacy

The consciousness of the new paradigm is experienced as a fluid, inclusive closeness accessing many dimensions simultaneously. Our attention is drawn by something larger than our usual focus on self. We will deepen into our multidimensional nature with unity.

Click here to join the tribe of ‘parrhesiastes’ for the Spiritual Transparency virtual retreat…



  1. It is very refreshing and freeing to here the definition of Parreshia.

    1. Author

      I know – I felt that way when I was introduced to the concept. Since very young, I would always speak up
      in situations where I could have easily gotten into a lot of trouble. Luckily, often there were adults or authorities that appreciated
      and wanted to find out what was true and help to make things better..

  2. I thought of a sweet (invented) word for we who are devoted to Parrhesia:
    “Parrhesi-addicts” (aka~ addicts of truth-speaking)

  3. In 5th grade, I remember my teacher getting up on a mall wooden chair to paste the portraits of all of the Presidents along the top of the classroom wall; I watched her, patiently calling out in my mind which President came next in that progression, from Washington to Lincoln, Truman, to Nixon. And then she stopped. From my perspective across the room, the preponderance of white, male faces was overwhelming. I blurted out, “We should get some women up there.” That was 1972. My teacher slowly turned back to look at me a if I had just uttered a new truth. “But,” she replied slowly, almost apologetically, “I have no women.” The silence between us was palpable. Indeed, no women in our history, no women in our science, no women in our politics. It was stunning. I actually caught up to my 5th-grade teacher last year, thanks to the internet, and I shared that story, which she had long-since forgotten. he had no idea how profound a moment that was in my education. I think we need to hang out more with children, and listen to what they say.

  4. Great points Patricia, as always. At this point, truth must be far more important than positivity. But seriously, people mostly do not want to hear the truth at all: like that it is mathematically inevitable that we are going to have a financial crisis 10 times worse than 2008 in the next few years, and people’s living standards will decline by 50 percent minimum and/or will not get their pensions. It is much easier to fool people than persuading them that they have been fooled.
    Also, I feel ”internal compulsion” : )) to point out that very few things are further from the truth than CNN. It is much closer to ”1984” Newspeak with illogical false narratives such as ”Russia hacked the elections” or ”Assad carried out a chemical weapons attack”. Just saying.. : )
    Yes, feeling out deeper truth and following it… that is IT, the holy grail. And speaking it definitely gives us thicker skin too.
    All the best to you, you are a great teacher.

    1. As one who wants to hear the truth, how do I prepare – or is there even a way to prepare, for the inevitable financial crisis?

  5. would like to sign up for May 13th but 2 things:
    1. can’t come until 11:15
    2. cliking on the link to ‘register’, only brings me back to the article….

    please advise?

  6. Hi there, I’ve been intrigued by the concept of mutual awakening and in the coming course… I have been finding the dates confusing, and am not sure if this next class on May 13 is the beginning of the Four Pillars or the end. After signing up for your newsletter and listening to the free intro, I received an email stating the course began last August.. will there be another run? Can I sign up for all of them and receive the recordings? I have posed questions at both kyle@evolutionarycollective, and info@evolutionarycollective, and have not received a response from either…. wondering what the best way to connect is?? Joy, julia

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