Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the

Blog #21, Day #23 (all right I'm not perfect) of Fun-a-Day, where overly optimistic artists commit to doing art every day in the month of January. I'm doing the best I can.....
I've been thinking a lot about truth lately, and a few lines from an Ani DiFranco song keep on playing in my mind: nobody's lying, still the stories don't line up. why do you try to hold on to what you'll never get a hold on? you wouldn't try to put an ocean in a paper cup. 

I think I pride myself on looking for truth, and in fact I've written about how I want my writing to be about that seeking of truth. But I am aware of a certain arrogance imbedded in that statement. Why would I try to put an ocean in a paper cup?

I come from, on one side of my family, a lineage of science. My father's parents were both plant scientists. Time spent with these grandparents, as a child, was not the most heartwarming experience, but it was always very stimulating intellectually. I learned about all manner of plant, and was taken to the New Alchemy Institute, as a teen, to get my first taste of both community living and sustainable agriculture.

I know that these folks, these ancestors of mine, lived their whole lives believing clearly in some sort of objective truth that had nothing to do with human emotion, or agreed upon meanings. For them, the reality of science was absolute, and in some sense ineffable.  I saw their knowledge of science as its own religion. I remember being both impressed and scared of my grandparents, because of my decidedly mutable truths, both in my youth and in my growing awareness that there was a bigness I could not understand, or really know, but only seek.

Maybe I envy my grandparents their certainty, and desire it for myself. But I'm not fooling myself, and I sure as hell wouldn't fool my grandparents. I'm not living in an objective world, not by a long shot. I've even, for a time, thought that farming could teach me objective lessons. That's no joke, but it is one. The methods of farming, the objectives of farming, the interests of farming, they lead to a million different choices and possibilities. One outcome can be brought about by many different paths, and each outcome will be slightly different. Farm research folks might disagree with me, but if nothing else, the weather is the great leveler of control groups.

Or maybe it's just that I don't have the patience to really know a thing. I feel a thing, I experience and internalize it, and then it is shifted in meaning through my own lens, my own need. God is much like that, for me. I need Her, and so she is, and in that sense, ineffable and mutable, both.

This is getting a mess, but I guess what I want to write is that perhaps I should take my stabs at truth, and know that really I am not holding anything in the paper cup but air. And if I'm lucky, I'm floating on the ocean, a drop of it, or a fish, in my element, breathing in the ocean truth, and not worrying if it will be there, or not, for my next breath.

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