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In Full Metal Alchemist, who is the character (or the concept really) of Truth? What does he symbolize? What is his purpose?

From what I guess, he's some sort of your inner God, because he seems to know you better than you do yourself. He knows the best way to punish you, the way that would hurt you the most. He must be tied with alchemy and alchemical knowledge, but what is he?

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Truth himself (itself?) states,

Who am I? One name you might have for me is the world, or you might call me the universe, or perhaps God, or perhaps the Truth. I am All, and I am One. So, of course, this also means that I am you. I am the truth of your despair, the inescapable price of your boastfulness.

Truth is a being which has no physical form, and a being which regulates all alchemical exchanges that take place. He essentially exists in order to prevent humans from "playing God" with alchemy; when human transmutation is performed, for example, Truth intervenes as it is seen as an unfair (inequivalent) exchange.

In these ways, Truth is somewhat symbolic of God. It has also been compared to gods in other mythos, such as Hera, a Greek goddess who was known to vengefully challenge heroes.

Hera was known for her jealous and vengeful nature, most notably against Zeus's lovers and offspring, but also against mortals who crossed her, such as Pelias.

  — Hera, Wikipedia

However, it is important to realize that Truth is not God. While it is certain that they are linked in some way, God is the entity which lies within the domain of the Gate (the eye and mass of black hands that restrain his "victims").

Truth, the Gate, and God
(The Gate, Truth sitting in front, and God within it. Source: Wikia)

When an alchemist pays the toll and is forced through the Gate by Truth (and by God), they are shown all knowledge about alchemy. Their minds can only absorb so much, but enough is clear that they are able to perform their alchemy without requiring a transmutation circle.

So, what exactly is Truth? He is a vengeful, godlike being, who is linked to God, and governs all alchemical exchanges performed by alchemists. He has no physical form, and exists only metaphysically within the mind of each alchemist.

  • Also, the words "Adonai" are written on the gate, which is Hebrew for "God." You can see it at 1:18 here: youtube.com/watch?v=u6Tgl4f8Rxc – Dante May 19 '14 at 10:38
  • Where is your proof that is he not God? This seems very speculative. Even the wikia references you are pointing to allude that they maybe one and the same. The point truth makes is everyone is connected, and everyone can get to the gate and God/Truth exists within everything, they are one and the same but also personified differently. Truth maybe just an Avatar of the Ultimate Being. This isn't necessarily contradictory as many religions observe this phenomena (Christianity with Jesus/God/Holy Spirit, or Hinduism with their "personified gods"/Single formless God/Truth). – Quikstryke Aug 14 '14 at 19:12
  • @Quikstryke I'd call it far from speculative. There is nothing to suggest they are the same being. There is no proof they are not, but proving a negative is not a trivial matter. He calls himself "God" by prefacing it with "I am the called by many names," never stating that he is any one of them. I would agree more with your religious analogies if Truth existed as a physical being; however, he is metaphysical, just as the Gate and the Eye are. Furthermore, he is not an avatar of God, as he is an avatar of the person with whom he communicates. – Killua Aug 14 '14 at 19:38
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    @Quikstryke I got your point, but you seemed to ignore mine. He states, "I am the called by many names," but never says that he actually is any of those things. As far as I can tell, this is your only premise for your argument, and I see no reason at all why it should be considered "proof". – Killua Aug 14 '14 at 20:01
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    The relationship between the entity beyond the gate and Truth is not explained. Even the wiki article you linked for Eye of God says so. Therefore, you cannot assert so definitively that "Truth is not God", nor can it be asserted that the entity beyond the gate "is God" because the wiki article states that the entity's nature is never revealed. Based on your comments above, I expect your answer would benefit from citing the manga directly. – Shaymin Gratitude Apr 4 '16 at 21:21
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He is you and he is the Universe. He is everything.

When the Elric brothers train in the island, they realize the connection between the 'one' and the 'all'. They understand that everything is connected. I think that what they understand is Truth itself. They understand something that is in them and around them.

So basically, I don't think that Truth is a God (at least in the usual sense), but rather a sort of law that runs everything. It is in you and everywhere around you. However, it materializes itself as a humanoid form in your subconscious or whatever place that is where the gates are.

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    Why is it when you meet him, you are granted the ability to transmute without a circle? What changed in your understanding? – Madara Uchiha Dec 11 '12 at 23:23
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    @MadaraUchiha Since he's everything, I suspect... You know everything when you see him. :P But that's my speculation. – Alenanno Dec 11 '12 at 23:28
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    @Alenanno: If you knew everything by meeting him, you'd become God, not remain a human. You gain something, just not sure what :P – Madara Uchiha Dec 11 '12 at 23:29
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    @MadaraUchiha Uhm, good point... Perhaps you know everything human/earth-related? So nothing supernatural? After all, alchemy is not magic. – Alenanno Dec 11 '12 at 23:31
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    @MadaraUchiha: It's not by meeting him, but by passing through the Gate of Truth, which contains the truth / knowledge of everything. The further you travel, the more you know, but the more you pay (remember, equivalent exchange). – Xeo Dec 12 '12 at 0:10

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