Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Today in AP ENGLISH: A discussion about truth via ALLEGORY OF THE CAVE. Are there any fundamental truths?

Theroms are true, math is true: one plus one equals one. Except when it doesn't. Man and woman sometimes equals three when condoms are not appropriately used. One apple plue another apple doesn't equal two, really, if you count all the microscopic bacteria, atoms and molecules which are floating between them. One is always connected with one...which is connected with air which is connected with the lawn which is connected to me sleeping on the couch wishing I didn't have to mow the lawn.

One student offers this: Truth is committment. I like that. Our truths are consensual. We agree that I am here, sitting at keyboard typing. We agree that you are there, reading what I have written. This mutual contract allows us to NOT think about the fact that, while I writing this that I am not wearing pants, that I am not a robotic brain, that I am not seventy monkeys each hitting a key in turn, and that you are not dead or a figment of my imagination or a figment of a monkey's imagination or even a fig.

Truth is a committment. We commit ourselves; we take a leap of blind faith. I think therefore I am (not going to go crazy, at least for this moment...and if we both commit then YOU won't go crazy either).

Truth, then, is faith--it will always be faith. Pragmatically, when does faith lead to falsity? And when does falsity cease to become merely comfortable and congenial and become something more dark? Or is truth include embracing that which is destructive, that which strikes (proactively) our more vulnerable spots? Is racism truth? Is rape truth? We commit ourselves: incest is wrong. Is our faith misplaced? Truth: Children should not be kidnapped and killed. Does our adherence to this "truth" belie something we simply don't want to see ro accept (even if that is only the fact that this truth is not a "truth")? Is our committment merely one of security?


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