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Seeking Truth

A Dialogue

by Alan Harris

I seek the truth.

Where do you think the truth is?

I don't know, but I feel I must seek it.

I don't know either. But I shy away from seeking it from others.


Because somebody with unknown motives might offer to help me find it. A paid guru. A paid psychologist. A paid university. And I might be taken for a ride, for major money, and find only the ashes of truth.

But if they were to lead you to the truth, wouldn't your money be well spent?

The truth they'd lead me to would be their money's truth and not my own.

Then where will you find the real truth?

Perhaps in the vast within. Perhaps everywhere. Perhaps in suddenly breaking a pencil in half, or straightening a picture on the wall.

That sounds absurd. You'll never find the truth if you're not serious about it.

Serious? As in adopting a peacock vocabulary and learning concepts and theories by the basketful and perhaps teaching them intact to later students at a university? That kind of serious? I'd prefer to drop a stone over a bridge railing and watch the circular ripples go out. This magnetizes me.

Are you anti-intellectual, then?

No. Are you anti-stone?

No, but I feel that many wise people have gone before us, and if I study their writings, I'll be able to find the truth.

Maybe--but what, inside you, will know when you've found this truth?

I think that everything will just snap into place.

And what if everything is already in place, and that snap turns out to be the loss of your sanity?

You make no sense. I simply believe that if I follow the right course of study, I'll find the truth.

If you study late into the night, you will probably pick up many gems.

Is truth not in these gems?

Is truth not within you, right now?

I think I'm wasting my time talking to you.

Perhaps you're right--but I'm not being flippant. And what would be a better use of your time?

In continuing my search for truth, obviously.

Imagine, if you will, that truth is secretly and innerly seeking you while you continue to attend college classes and study intricate theories. Might not such external seeking then be a waste of your time?

Perhaps, but it's absurd to think that truth could find me without my knowing it.

How did you first find your parents?

I didn't find them. They were just there.

Then--they found you, and you didn't know it?

Yes, in a way.

How do you find air to breathe?

You're being absurd again.

It finds you? Do you see my drift?

Yes, but it's a fallacious argument.

Not an argument at all. I'm just throwing stones into the stream and watching the circular ripples go out. Are you reading some books currently?

Yes, I do need to be going. I'm studying Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and Hume's An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. I wish you well with your stone-tossing and your chosen ignorance, but I must continue to seek truth.

Have a pleasant quest. Your "must" will take you far, I predict. Very far.