Seek Truth in Facts

uday bhaskar (srijna@hotmail.com)
Sat, 11 Oct 1997 06:54:07 PDT


To the Seekers of truth, Truth, and The Truth

I am reminded of the classic parable of the irresistible force meeting 
the immovable object (In its current incarnation, it is the "Truth, as I 
see it" meeting "Facts, as they are").

It is easy to agree that truth, after all, is subjective, and is a 
function of one's perception (refractive index?). Frequently, one comes 
across this approach to truth when one is trying to reconcile two 
hopelessly opposed, but equally forceful views about anything. 
Considering that we have had our share of heated, acrimonious debates on 
this forum, perhaps SrI vissAvaJhula was bringing forth this point of 
view as a "coolant".

My view (as usual) is slightly different - granted that truth. like 
beauty (and goodness, the third element of satyaM SivaM suMdaraM), lies 
in the eyes of the beholder. However, there is always something that is 
unmistakably YOUR truth (or YOUR beauty, or YOUR goodness). Equally, 
there are always some people out there, for whom your truth represents 
truth for them as well. To take off from SrI praBhAkar's example, people 
may be categorised by their refractive index (the degree to which each 
of them "bend" facts to their own view point). Thus, if my RI is 
marxism, I may see things in a particular way, while if it is Nietsche, 
it may be different. Also, as Sri jagdISh said in his follow-up post, 
unlike in the world of physics where RI is an innate inviolate property 
of a substance, in human beings, this is organic and ever changing, 
quite often regressing to a known and trusted point of view, from 
something that you might have worked out intellectually.

The point (as Karl Marx said) however, is to change the world. As a 
human being, one always carries a vision of what is "closer to heart's 
desire" and, like Khayyam, ruefully wishes that if (s)he could only 
"grasp this sorry schem of things entire", (s)he would "shatter it to 
bits" and "remould it closer to heart's desire". 

This is where this thread probably comes any where close to being 
relevant on this forum - the function of literature is to allow the 
author to share his/her vision of what is "closer to his/her heart's 
desire" with the world - at any rate with that part of the world whose 
RI is close to his/her own. 

In one of the earlier posts (was it from you jagdISh gArU?) there was 
some mention of the author's own point of view intruding into the story. 
My point is, there is no such thing as a value neutral piece of 
literature. How much of the author's POV (thats it, now I remember which 
thread this post was from) comes across is merely a matter of technique 
and skill. 
If it comes across as "telling" (like raMganAyakamma gAri jAnaki 
vimukti) it is obvious that it is an intrusion on the reader's privacy, 
and an insult to his/her intelligence. 
But, if it is like yaj`nyam by kA rA mashTAru, or most short stories of 
ko ku, it is the author's POV that makes the story so powerful.

Just my POV.

Uday "Objective literature is a contradiction in terms" Bhaskar

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