Saturday, May 20, 2006

Truthiness

When I came across this cartoon in the New Yorker a few weeks ago I laughed out loud. I copied it and taped it to my door at the college.

No one else laughs. Most folks say, "I don't get it." Which makes me wonder why I laughed in the first place. And why I still think it's funny.

I mean, after all, isn't TRUTH what we are all seeking? "Ye shall know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH shall set you free."

Why then is that pilgrim returning from TRUTH looking shell-shocked and defeated?

I suppose I laughed because I don't believe TRUTH sets us free. In fact, I suspect that TRUTH has been the biggest cause of mischief in human history. TRUTH is the end of curiosity, the end of mystery, the end of wonder. TRUTH is the cradle of intolerance. TRUTH is rigor mortis of the mind.

I don't know what's to the right of the cartoon panel, but I've seen enough of folks who are convinced they have the TRUTH to make my own eyes bulge out and hair stand on end. My advice to the eager pilgrim on the left would be, "Go home and settle for whatever lowercase truths you can scrape together by paying attention to the commonplace. And hold them tenderly to your heart."