I like speculative fiction. It allows a context in which you can ask some interesting questions. You can look at a “truth”, and see how quickly it crumbles and falls. Consider the following.
Zombie apocalypse. You’re holed up in a cave. You have enough food for you and five other people to last through the winter. The only problem? There are twenty of you. What do you do? A “truth” would dictate that you respect all life. But these are desperate times.
Do you kill off all but five? Do you feed everybody and then all die? When you have a new context, truths that we would normally consider to be self-evident suddenly become anything but.
I ran the Snow Canyon half marathon and blogged about it here. In it I mentioned that Snow Canyon had beautiful scenery, but all I saw were the double yellow lines of the road. My mother asked me to write up an essay about the following truth:
Sometimes we get so caught up in the little things,
we miss the beautiful things around us.
This got me thinking about a second truth. One that applies to the same situation:
If you want to achieve your goal,
You can’t be distracted by shiny objects.
If I want to finish the race with a good time, I need to focus on the goal. I can come back to Snow Canyon at a later date. But also, it’s a shame to run through the beautiful Snow Canyon and only stare at the road.
One situation. Two truths. They seem to be at odds.
Let me give you one more example.
Consider the example of the oak and the reed. A harsh wind blows and blows. A mighty oak, which is rigid and strong, is blown over. The reed, on the other hand, bends with the wind and survives.
Sometimes it’s good to be flexible.
An example of this truth. My manuscript was complete at 80,000 words. My agent said I had to cut it down to less than 60,000. It was extremely painful to do. I cut a lot of great scenes. But in the end, by being flexible, we sold the book.
But what about this? Imagine you lived in a Small Town USA a few decades ago. A black family is moving into an all white neighborhood, and a petition is going around to keep that from happening. You don’t believe in the petition, but it’s much easier to be flexible. Otherwise, the neighbors may turn on you.
Sometimes being flexible is not an option.
Some truths are worth breaking over.
It’s important for people to stand up for what is truth. Unfortunately, we don’t have a manual of truths. We must each find our own truth, and then act accordingly.
Want to see somebody who has found a truth? Find a protester with a sign. Right or wrong (in your opinion), they’ve discovered a truth and are sharing it with others. They are standing strong for something they believe in.
One last thing. Standing firm doesn’t always appear noble to the world. Sometimes you might not know if the truth for which you stand is worth it. Sometimes when you’re broken, you feel like it’s exactly what you deserve. You just might question to your final breath whether or not you made the right choice.
I believe, that in the end, it’s all about truth. Search for truth. Find truth. And then act on it. Right or wrong, it’s the best we can do.