Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Truth Fairy

Are those of us who seek and serve the Truth – those of us who believe in the Truth Fairy – any the less childlike in our faith?

What basis do we have for believing in truth?  Read about it in this essay either on PDF by clicking here or on this blog by clicking "Read more" below.

 The Truth Fairy
All Those of Us Who Believe in Fairies,
Let Us All Together Clap Our Hands!
            Very often we find ourselves at the same time both amused and deeply touched by the simplicity of children, their trusting willingness to believe anything that we might say.  And so we smile benignly as we tell them impossible stories to enrich the magic of their little lives.  We raise their excitement at Christmas time by ringing bells outside to make them think that Santa now is on his way … and we savor that look of astonished innocence that can shine in only little children’s eyes.
            Or, when we tire of fussing over a baby tooth that hangs by but a thread, we tell them:  “Let us pull and place it underneath your pillow for the tooth fairy to find … to replace it with a dime.”  Oh, how that dime does shine as pudding proof without a doubt of all that we have told them!  To have in hand that dime so recently dropped by glowing fairy fingers, still sparkling from her touch, is hardly second best to glimpsing her in the very act of leaving, to catch her by the hem.
            It is impossible to exaggerate the charming simplicity of their little minds.  Children do nothing so sophisticated as committing fallacies. They do not affirm the consequent to wrongly conclude that the truth fairy exists.  They do not reason, “If there is a tooth fairy, we will find dimes, and we do find dimes, so must the tooth fairy exist.”  No.  We tell them the fairy will leave a dime, and they simply find the dime that we said they would, the fairy’s leavings, her mark and sign.  It is the only dime that they are looking for when they awaken in the morning to search beneath their pillows.
            We would laugh at them but for the sentimental tear in the corner of our eye, sadness for the lost innocence of our childhood.  “Only as ye become as one of these, the little children, shall you enter the kingdom of Heaven.”  Alas, however, there is no return to paradise for us.  The door to those secret, fern-laced passageways is much too small to admit grownups such as we, except when we get down on all fours to play with our children.  But, we know it is only pretend when we enter that garden on hands and knees.  Verily, those of us who have achieved and accepted adulthood do stride through reality on our own two feet with dignity, erect and above it all.
            Of course we are not too cynical to be sentimental, and so we indulge little children in the fantasies of the infancy of our race.  But we are not touched, we are not charmed or amused, when we find this childish, trusting simplicity, this innocence, this gullibility, in people beyond their years.   We glance aside and shift uneasily in the face of this moral defect of the common many, those whose minds have never grown up.  We shrink from their uncleanliness, their dishonesty and cowardice, those who lack the will and the clear and narrow vision required to see and to maturely accept things without illusion as they really are.   Their stunted minds are a shameful embarrassment to our race.  No longer able to believe in Tinker Bell, wish upon the Evening Star, or write letters to Santa, they turn to the myths of religion, fairy tales for grownups.  What, after all, are Angels but Big Fairies for Big People to believe in?
            And we turn from them in disgust when they profess belief in their vulgar God with even less evidence than the child has for believing in the tooth fairy --- who at least has a dime in his grubby little fist to show for his faith.  No.  It is not consistent with human dignity – it is beneath contempt – for an adult of our species (the “rational animal,” homo sapiens erectus) to be found praying to that Big Hairy-Bearded Father-Fairy in the Sky. 
            Still, in solitary moments, the curtain flutters at my window as I fix upon the evening star and wonder.  Are those of us who seek and serve the Truth – those of us who believe in the Truth Fairy – any the less childlike in our faith?
            Sometimes we think that we have glimpsed Her laughing in the distance, or dream that we have kissed her feet or caught her by the hem. But, have we anything to show that she exists or cares for us?  Is it within reason to think that we can ever catch our elusive Mistress, to penetrate her secret mysteries, to find completeness with a sigh?  When we put our hearts upon the shelf to seek her out, what do we expect her to leave behind for us?
What the dime, what the pillow, under which for us to find?

What, indeed?

But, these are not things that we ask our Lady Love.

They are not Lovers’ questions.

                            W. J. Holly

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