“Isn’t it because there’s more truth in it than you might wish? … I told him. This brought the conversation to an end and we walked along side by side in silence.” <from ‘A hero of our time’ by Lermontov>
Before I begin … Russian writer Lermontov. One of the most underrated & overlooked/unknown writers of all time. Anton Chekhov once said of him … “I know of no language better than that of Lermontov.” Even with some of the struggles in translation I believe few people have ever had his gift with words. By 18 he had written more than 300 poems, 3 plays, a book and an unknown amount of unfinished work. Pick up something he has written.
Most of us can only dream of using words like he did.
Now. About some of his words …
Truth is a tricky thing.
Not only is it difficult to discern.
It is also difficult to “find” … definitively define.
And difficult to speak to someone.
And it is also incredibly difficult to hear … and as Lermontov writes …
“… more truth in it than you may wish.”
Sharing the truth with someone is difficult. Not just because it is sometimes difficult to find the strength of character to step up to the plate and speak … but it also takes a true measure of your character in dealing with the response. I have found that in most cases … truth, when spoken, has more truth in it than someone wishes to hear.
Does that make it wrong? Not always. But truth is not a light nor sharp weapon, it is more likely a blunt edged bludgeon.
“… we walked along side by side in silence” may actually reflect a ‘good response’ situation for it means at least you are still side by side.
As for the silence part? Truth can often be a silence generator.
Now … it is almost always also a thinking generator.
In addition, most oddly, truth seems to also often generate doubt … not agreement or something good … just doubt. Doubt in the words. Doubt in the intent. Doubt in the genuineness. Doubt in the deliverer.
And in that we go to another Lermontov thought:
And he also wrote this:
I prefer to doubt everything. Such an attitude makes no difference to a man’s determination – on the contrary, as far as I‘m concerned, I always go more boldly forward when I know nothing of what lies ahead. After all, the worst you can do is die, you’ve got to die sometime. <Pechorin in Hero of our Time>
I do not subscribe to this belief … but I do believe attitudinally Truth Tellers run a gauntlet of doubt and desire to quit when it comes to actually telling the truth … and are often tempted to ‘take to deceit’ instead.
William James said:
“The greatest enemy of any one of our truths may be the rest of our truths.”
With all due respect to William James … the true greatest enemy of any one of our truths is ourselves.
It takes a shitload of fortitude to tell truths of the depth & breadth of ‘more than you may wish.’ It takes strength of character. It takes a strong sense of ‘doing what is right.’
Truth probably has more enemies with more weapons than any superpower in the world.
And there are probably fewer defenders of Truth than ever before … and they are armed with … well … no weapons but Truth itself.
Oh. And a belief in self.
Maybe I should have included this post in my Texas Ranger post … because the few keepers of Truth have to believe that it is ‘hard to stop someone a’comin who is in the right’ or they will fall prey to deceit & doubt.
In the end?
Truth tellers are hard to stop. Thank god for that. But it is too bad they remain as few as the Texas Rangers I wrote about before. We need more of them today than ever before.