Saturday, December 21, 2013

Strange Truth

It was the incomparable wit and writer Mark Twain who said: "Truth is stranger than fiction...." What doesn't usually get included in that quote is the rest of his thought: "... but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't."

I once had a close friend who was (except in his rare weaker moments) a strong atheist and scientific materialist.  We spent many happy hours together drinking intoxicating beverages and debating the question, "What is truth."

Once I made an offhand comment - and it was offhand and not at all meant to be taken in a strict sense - that "anything's possible." Who of us hasn't said that or at least have heard someone say it? My friend almost became unhinged and started explaining to me why "no, not anything is possible," coming at me from a Einstenian deterministic philosophical position.

I had to have a chuckle and poke a little fun at him for his almost religious zeal in defending what he considered to be orthodox truth. I didn't know then and don't know now exactly what is and isn't possible in this grand universe of ours, But coming as I did from a religious background that thought the (Protestant) Bible was literally God's Word and absolute truth, I couldn't help but recognize the similarity in people's devotion to various perceived orthodoxies.

After my friend exited my life and we lost touch, I admit that I did slowly and gradually over the years allow myself to become locked into a skeptical worldview that put me at odds with what the majority of my fellow humans take for granted - that is, that there is, for lack of a better way of putting it, a mystical, almost magical element to life. That isn't to say that now my open-mindedness has no limit. No, I'm just becoming more aware of how some people have allowed themselves to take the miracle of life for granted. I will say this: Now I'm less inclined to talk about Truth than I am truths. I'm less willing to debate and more willing to listen and exchange ideas.


  1. I am not much of a debater of ideas, more a listener then ask questions. I enjoy 'seeing' into anothers brain, soul? Of course some people lie, or just recite brain pathways (boring). The worst life is the one where NOTHING is questioned or considered. And that is why I often find myself here, peeking at your brain.

    1. And I'm glad to have you here taking a peek.