Dual existence of truth

How many things that we consider right or true are merely the vestiges of our dreams, the sleepwalking figures of our incomprehension! Does anyone know what’s right or true? How many things we consider beautiful are merely the fashion of the day, the fiction of their time and place? How many things we consider ours are utterly foreign to our blood, we being merely their perfect mirrors or transparent wrappers! 

The more I meditate on our capacity for self-deception, the more my certainties crumble, slipping through my fingers as fine sand. And when this meditation becomes a feeling that clouds my mind, then the whole world appears to me as a mist made of shadows, a twilight of edges and corners, a fiction of the interlude, a dawn that never becomes morning. Everything transforms into a dead absolute of itself, into a stagnation of details. And even my senses, to where I transfer my meditation in order to forget it, are a kind of slumber, something remote and derivative, an in-betweenness, variation, by-products of shadows and confusion. 

In times like these – when I could readily understand ascetics and recluses, were I able to understand how anyone can make an effort on behalf of absolute ends or subscribe to a creed that might produce an effort – I would create, if I could, a full-fledged aesthetics of despair, an inner rhythm like a crib’s rocking, filtered by the night’s caresses in other, far-flung homelands. 

Today, at different times, I ran into two friends who’d had a fight. Each one told me his version of why they’d fought. Each one told me the truth. Each one gave me his reasons. They were both right. They were both absolutely right. It’s not that one of them saw it one way and the other another way, or that one saw one side of what happened and the other a different side. No: each one saw things exactly as they’d happened, each one saw them according to the same criterion, but each one saw something different, and so each one was right. 

I was baffled by this dual existence of truth.

Fernando Pessoa
Bernardo Soares, ''The Book of Disquiet''
(Text 207)
Image: Vojo Stanić, ''Tower (Toranj)'', 2005.

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