Just about all has been said, at this point, about Kellyanne Conway’s quote:
“You’re saying it’s a falsehood and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.”
Still, when all is said, we seem to be left, not of different minds, but in alternate universes. Many oxymorons have an element of truth within and I’ve spent some time dissecting this one, because the statement seemed to be an oddly sincere one and not a last ditch attempt at the last word.
Part of the fabric of life that makes it rich and deep is that our understanding grows as we explore farther and dig deeper. History is filled with examples too many to recount, except perhaps to note that often those with new insights suffered at the hands of others more myopic – Galileo comes to mind. The common thread through each seems to be that a tincture of time and exposure to the heretical thought has ultimately advanced acceptance of this thing we ultimately treasure as “truth.”
If Dante’s vision is correct, there is a special place in Hell for those who, in the presence of what cannot be denied, turn to wash their hands and say, “What is truth?” Pontius Pilate was not alone when Virgil led Dante past that point and I fear that Pilate’s level of Hell grows more crowded as we speak.
Coincidentally, it was on this day in 1302 that Dante was exiled from Florence by political opponents who had taken power. He spent the rest of his life in exile, though he used the time to write The Inferno, a work that has long outlasted his opponents.
Plato crafted an entire work on the metaphor that there exist tangible truths we only see as shadows on the wall of a cave. His message was to turn to the light for genuine understanding because truth is a real thing, although, like the sun, it may be too bright to stare into. He offered only a metaphor, but we seem to have lost touch with any form of reality.
When Joesph McCarthy waged his war of false accusations, the words that brought him down were,”Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” We seem to live in a world where what is black and what is white are matters of opinion, advanced not for better understanding, but to beat down others. There is no decency in that and no future. That, I submit, is a fact.