Tuesday, 1 June 2010

In the beginning was the Word...

So, my friend Tracey quoted Ernest Hemingway recently. He said: 'All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.' This is the sort of sentence that strikes me as a challenge. It gets me thinking. A true sentence about what? About life? About others? About me?

There are many true sentences out there, not all of them meaningful. To me the sentence, 'All bachelors are men', is true, but not meaningful. I do not think that is what Ernest meant when he said 'true'. Truth is more than clever tricks and the recitation of facts, it has to mean something, and for it to mean something powerful to another, it needs to freely give something of myself to those who hear it.

Raimond Gaita, the Australian philosopher, argues that we only see someone as they really are when we see them in the light of those who love them. The same is true of all things, we only really appreciate their value when we see for ourselves the passion they can excite in others.

Timothy Radcliffe OP associates truthfulness with language that helps people to flourish, develop and grow; falsehood with words that belittle, denigrate and undermine. Truthfulness is speaking in the light of love, desiring the good of another.

Language is not an individual phenomenon, it belongs to the community, and not to the individual. Herbert McCabe OP said that. People are born into language, they have to learn to use it, and continue learning its nuances all their life. Different communities use language differently, we speak and write differently for different audiences. I wouldn't speak to my friends as I would to my teachers, or to my family as I would to colleagues. The words we use depend upon our relationships with those to whom we speak.

The truest sentence I know would have to be spoken in the light of love; it would need to help those who hear it, and myself as speaker, to flourish and grow becoming who we are truly meant to be together; and, what it expressed would have been, be, or become, an integral part of the community to which it was spoken. What is it though? A challenge certainly. Perhaps it is a secret. I will seek it.

Here is my starting point, it is traditional.....

In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God.

1 comment:

gemma hutton said...

Nice post E. I like your musings on the nature of truthfullness. x