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" Truth was never as popular in junior high as most every lie, and so grew up rather shy about its native social acceptance."

Would you prefer that I lie and promise to tell you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth when the whole truth usually has a few elements besides the truth imbedded within it? The truth of the matter might be (must be?) that it's never wholly whole, but only because it can't be. It can't be because us humans tend to be unreliable recording instruments. We seem prone to seeing what we anticipate rather than what's actually there. We remember what doesn't shut us down rather than what we experienced. We are subjective beings, never objective observers, and so prove unreliable conveyors of any absolute, truth being prominent among them.

Yet we still, sometimes smugly, believe ourselves capable of discriminating between a truth and a bold-faced lie, and we are not always incorrect in our assessments.
Truth seems to hold certain qualities bold-faced lies never carry. Truth, for instance, only rarely ever fully satisfies. It seems to leave a few loose, unexplained edges while even a halfway decent lie can frebrily tidy up all prominent margins, seeming to explain away every complication. Truth also offends about as often as it reassures. It might even deign to shock, encouraging defensive reactions. Truth was never as popular in junior high as most every lie, and so grew up rather shy about its native social acceptance. The little white lies, especially, gained ever greater popularity as they reached maturity.

I suspect that every halfway decent midlife crisis centers around the expiration of some little white lie that outgrew its original britches. These usually come into play around some falsehood one told him/herself to temporarily resolve some earlier complication but which then became a pre-consciously-repeated mantra in their life. Finally, inevitably at a really incredibly inconvenient time, maintaining that once little white lie became untenable and the carefully tended house of cards crumbled. A choice point emerged. Should I rebuild that house of cards, for expedience's sake, or set about another sort of construction? Maybe a sturdier house of popsicle sticks this time? Closer to that ephemeral font of truth, or further away? Take a vote. The lies often have it.

I suppose it speaks to character when one decides to seek truth rather then re-wallpaper aging deceptions. Wallpapering's a pain for a brief interlude while seeking truth seems an endless obligation, given that we can mostly achieve nothing more than an approach at truth without ever fully grasping it. The search, of course, sustains a sense of cluelessness, perhaps sparking an ever deeper sense of personal inability or ineptness. We cannot hold truth, though we might always fruitfully pursue it. I believe that truth stands as fundamentally paradoxical. We can lie and promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, but only ever deliver some version of what we recognize as our truth, hopefully authentic enough for the purposes at hand, but hardly the last and final word on the subject.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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