You Can’t Handle The Truth!
I recently saw a series of lithographs by French painter, printmaker, and caricaturist, Honore-Victorin Daumier.
His prolific work focuses mostly on social commentary and political satire in France during the mid-1800s, but his message is timeless.
It made me think.
Does history repeat itself?
Below are two of his Lithographs from his series, People of Justice, circa 1845 and 1846:
Number (14) Translation:
“Listen dear colleague, you will be pleading against me today the exact case I pleaded three weeks ago against you… Isn’t that funny? And I will spout to you the very words you used on me, then you, then me… This is really great… If necessary, we can prompt each other… Ha, Ha, Ha!”
Number (16) Translation:
“The defense compliments the talent of the prosecution; the Attorney General eagerly offers well-deserved praise for the admirable eloquence of the defense. The judge applauds both orators; in brief, everyone is more than satisfied – except the accused.”
Daumier’s art had me wondering:
Is There a Three Stooges’ Defense?
‘Cause I’ll use anything if it means not having to admit I’m wrong.
Or, say I’m sorry.
Aside from Universal Truths and Laws of Nature, how do I recognize truth – my own – relatively speaking?
Where do my beliefs come from?
How have they shaped me?
Who have they made me?
Do they stand the test of time?
Do they serve my highest sense of self; my highest sense of truth?
Truths that are valid and immutable at any time, in any place, in any given circumstance?
Do they serve the greatest common good?
How can I always be right if I don’t have the ability to acknowledge that I might ever be wrong – or worse, that someone else might be right?
Maybe there are three sides to every story – yours, mine, and the truth?
To Thine Own Self Be True
It’s hard to be true to ourselves, especially if we don’t know why we believe in something.
Knowing the truth can be painful; changing it, more so.
Here are two things I know for sure – that are true for me – unequivocally:
I’m as sick as my secrets, and, the truth will set me free – every time.
They’re not mutually exclusive and neither is our desire to live a life that is happy, joyous, and free.
Free of restlessness, irritability, and discontentment.
Don’t be afraid.
Be true to yourself.
Share who you are.
It’s good enough.
You’re good enough!
And you’re not alone.
Here’s to questioning what we believe in and why, and to exercising our ability to think critically and freely for ourselves in a society that allows us to change our mind.
And then change it again.
Here’s to letting go of ideas that no longer serve our highest sense of good, or the greatest common good.
History will continue to repeat itself, until we evolve into our better selves collectively.
Until we judge less and accept more – individually.
Until next time,
Ask yourself: do I want to be happy, or do I want to be right?
Ask yourself: what is it I believe in, and why?
Search for your truth.
It will set you free.
Cheers – to telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help us all.
For me, this relates to some favorite words/wisdom from Abraham Lincoln: “I am not bound to win but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed but I am bound to live up to what light I have.” (Happy President’s Day 😉
What a great quote! Thanks for sharing it! xo
Perhaps I can handle the truth if I can just find it. Truth is slippery, wispy and more resistant to capture than sasquatch. From philosophy to science and everything in between, the search for truth is a laborious endeavor.
Most challenging of all is determining the truth of the self. One is so easily thrown off the track by misleading encounters offered by our fallible minds, the weakness of our souls, plus emotions and imagination, to mention only a few; but all are like the pepper a fleeing prisoner distributes to throw off the scent of the bloodhounds.
I believe the search for our true self is a life long effort. Part of that process is learning thru experience to ask helpful questions. Call it a self-applied Socratic method. Thus the brilliance of the child’s catechism: “Who made you?” “God made me.” Not a bad starting point.
peace and health Mo,
So much truth here – “misleading encounters, fallible minds, weakness of souls, emotions, imaginations… thing is, I’m terrible at lying, so that “pepper throwing off the scent of the bloodhounds,” would only make me sneeze incessantly!
You are right about truth being a life long effort; I exhaust myself with the Socratic method. I wonder why…
peace and metta
Wow. You nailed it. All of it. At least that’s what my truth tells me. You deserve a hug.
Thank you, Jerry. As always, I appreciate your reading and commenting! 🙂
Loved the 1845 Political Lithographs! They were funny, but true. “You will be pleading against me the same things I pleaded against you three weeks ago” politically speaking! This is so funny and it was stated 170 years ago! Guess some things never change! Cool that you dug this up. Guess there is more truth here then we can comprehend. Jenny
I had never heard of this artist, but laughed out loud as I walked through the exhibit. I think you’re exactly right – there is so much more truth here than we can comprehend, probably more than we want to, eh? 🙂 Thanks, Jenny. Always love hearing from you!