“When you say something out loud, it makes it a big truth. Best to keep it in your mind and keep it small,” she’d say.
from: Blackbird Fly
written by Erin Entrada Kelly
There is a difference between truth and reality. There is also a difference between Truth and truth. A lot of the difference has to do with perspection. But not all.
Some things are simply true. An oak tree (and only an oak tree) will, given proper conditions, sprout from an acorn. Abraham Lincoln was president during the Civil War. Arithmetic. These can be proved.
Some things are simply real. The ocean tides. Summer fading to Autumn. Gravity. These are observable.
How much we allow our perceptions to color our truths and our reality depends on a variety of factors. And those factors are usually in flux.
Last weekend, my daughter took my six-year-old granddaughter to a Unicorn Festival. A grand time was being had. Hot dogs on a stick and other fare were offered. Games were available to play and win.
And Unicorns were on display. Prancing around in a ring. Several unicorns.
Of course, my granddaughter was dressed for the occasion. She wore her unicorn headband, which, when worn correctly and not observed too closely, made a horn appear to grow from just above her forehead.
She got as up close and personal to the Unicorns as she was allowed. She asked the Unicorn Trainer if those were real unicorns. When he said yes, she asked what the horns were made of. He looked right at her and told her in a no-nonsense tone, “They are made of the same material as your horn.”
If the answer surprised or flustered my granddaughter, she did not let on. She replied in the Trainer’s same no-nonsense tone, “It’s not nice to lie to children.”
While her answer was perceptive, astute, and true, I wanted some follow up. I wanted to know if she believed she was a unicorn. I don’t think so. Or, if like her, the miniature horses were playing dress-up. I do think so. Or if it was the Unicorn Trainer’s way of telling a young child who still believes in magic and that her mother is always right and knows everything, that there is no such thing as a real unicorn. I hope not.
So, I’m not sure if my granddaughter’s perception of the Truth of Unicorns changed that day. I think she still believes in the Tooth Fairy. And does it really matter if there is a tooth fairy? or Unicorns? I think that is a matter of perception.
Which comes back to the question. How do we know what is true? How do we know what is real? Beyond observations and proofs, there is Truth. The Big Truth that can’t change, the Truth a society tacitly agrees on. That good conquers evil, that lies will be discovered, that experience breeds wisdom.
Our society is in a state of flux. Not everyone believes good will prevail, that lies will be punished, that experience is an insightful teacher.
Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe.
Maybe all we can know for sure is what we believe.
And that's the Truth.