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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What is truth?

My new tattoo is going through this stage where it kinda feels alive with scorpions, which keeps the message close to the front of my mind. Be True. I've been contemplating the importance of being true to artistic vision and spiritual beliefs. Thinking about the old "True Confessions" magazines that reveal the flexible nature of the word. Wondering if anyone even cares about the truth when it comes to political campaigns. A brief visit to Bartleby's yielded these insights about the nature of truth.

Philosopher William James:
"Essential truth, the truth of the intellectualists, the truth with no one thinking it, is like the coat that fits tho no one has ever tried it on, like the music that no ear has listened to. It is less real, not more real, than the verified article; and to attribute a superior degree of glory to it seems little more than a piece of perverse abstraction-worship."

Author Willa Cather:
"Artistic growth is, more than it is anything else, a refining of the sense of truthfulness. The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy; only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult it is."

Novelist Herman Melville:
"Truth is the silliest thing under the sun. Try to get a living by the Truth—and go to the Soup Societies. Heavens! Let any clergyman try to preach the Truth from its very stronghold, the pulpit, and they would ride him out of his church on his own pulpit bannister."

My personal favorite, Jesus in John 8:31:
"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

3 comments:

Toni Lea Andrews said...

I just had to look it up in "The Devil's Dictionary." Here's what Bierce had to say:

Truth: An ingenious compound of desirability and appearance. Discovery of truth is the sole purpose of philosophy, which is the most ancient occupation of the human mind and has a fair prospect of existing with increasing activity to the end of time.

Joni Rodgers said...

Love that.

Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Too much confusion. True vs. truth. True is something that has been shown to have happened. Truth is timeless; something can only be truth if it is today, yesterday and tomorrow. “…the more truth you know the more truth you are; the better you will understand the past and comprehend the future.”