Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Neighbors the Unicorns

I'm not particularly worried about truth.

An odd thing for a person who revels in the pursuit of knowledge, I suppose. But my early training taught me to question everything, and while in most people I think this usually leads to a quest for pure facts, in me it produced a rather blasé attitude toward the truth. If everything could be wrong, why commit to one thing and call it a fact? The idea that absence of proof is not proof of absence allows us to consider the possibility of almost anything.

I also don't particularly worry about belief. I don't believe in much, but I do love to think things, which is almost like believing. Take, for example, this photograph of a herd of unicorns on the hill across from my house:

Of course, I know they're probably horses, and I could always hike over there and prove that they are horses. But I really enjoy thinking that they are unicorns. If you pinned me down (I'd give you a good fight, but I'm out of practice so you might try it) I'd probably admit that I don't actually believe in unicorns. But should silly little things like truth and belief get in the way of my enjoyment?

That's one of the things I love most about writing fiction – and reading it, for that matter. I can wholeheartedly believe in something I know isn't true.

What do you believe in, or pretend to believe in, or wish you could believe in, even though you know (or assume) it isn't true?



Andy said...

You are wonderful Laura Lee.....

Artemis Grey said...

Oh I love this post, and that picture in an epic fashion! I am very much in agreement with your opinion of the truth. I usually say 'the truth as you see it'.

I also usually ask things like 'Why couldn't those be unicorns?' I've found that many times if you ask questions like 'Why couldn't....(insert whatever strange phenomenon here)' you find that, really, there aren't a whole lot of reasons why it couldn't be, which makes whatever it is seem a whole lot more plausible all of a sudden.

I mean, things we love to call 'facts' are really just another person's beliefs. Einstein believed in relativity. But the only 'proof' we have of such things, are other 'facts' that other people have believed, all basing those beliefs on something that Einstein believed to start with. And even Einstein claimed that he could be totally wrong about everything.

So Einstein can have relativity. I'll stick to dragons and unicorns and things that go bump in the night. Things that don't have much evidence to support their existence, but also don't have a whole lot of evidence to prove that they DON'T exist.