Many things might have happened, indeed, could have happened. It is impossible to tell until it happens. Whatever happens. And so it goes.
Recollection subjects what happens to interpretation, a puzzling assemblage of memory (embodied brains in changing circumstances) and occurrences (embodied brains in specific situations), making it impossible to tell what happens, when it happens, or after it happened, save from a very particularized attention and intention, point-of-view, disposition and enmeshment (the factors being relatively endless).
And so we call histories, scientific observations, statistical reports, etc. al., “stories;” journalism, research, theories or assays (essays), “fictions;” and personal memoirs, dialogue, descriptions or statements – “fantasy.”
Everything that happens or happened is what might have happened.
Let’s theorize that an author or reader, group or individual, has a concern for “truth” – something being what it seems to be – who or what has total and essential access? The only truth in human expression that I can surmise is that it is truly “made up.”
An individual may have something approximating total and essential access to a thought or feeling, personal experience or idea, but insofar as it actually occurred according to an experiencer, there are already multiple points of view, ranging from molecular to cosmic, matter/energy to cultural. To say nothing of the complicating fabrics incumbent on expression – whether a grimace or a novel, a shriek of pain or a tally mark on a chart – it has entered uncertain and collaborative interpreted ground.
All to say “experience” is utterly specific and solipsistic (non-transferable “truly”) and is an enabled product of embedded participation in significant (if identifiable as an “event” or “occasion,” “moment” or “intuition” – any feeling, sensation or awareness) surroundings, expanding niches of existing things with variant points of view.
This is how I can guarantee that nothing I show you or tell you is “true.”
It may be more or less accurate to my experience or understanding of it (depending also on your experience/understanding of my presentation of it) but it will in no wise be what it is or was, in truth. I assume truth to be as impossible as god. It would require omnipresence, omniscience, boundary less experience (which could not accord with our experience, or a grain of sand, or an ocean) and would be immediately foiled by the omni-ability (omnipotence?) those other necessary qualities would demand. One could not be absolutely enmeshed or identical-with and entirely and completely objectively separate or alien-from at once. At always. That is not a paradox but a contradiction. If imaginable, incommunicable.
So we speak of a “semblance of truth” or a “truth-seeming” quality to account for our realities and desires (our want for security, to grow order in chaos, to know, to choose or act with less fear or uncertainty). Things like our ages, census reports, laws and principles (grammar, mathematics, semantics, processes and methods, etc.) a creepage over toward what we think of as “facts” – majority-mutually-agreed-upon-interpretations/perceptions/hypotheses. These can hold for a long time because they’re held by so many, so widely. But they most assuredly change over time, again, from atomic behaviors to the shape of the earth and its relation to elsewhere, from what constitutes pain to what gets moniker’d “god.”
What counts as fact does so by being open and shared. Semblance of truth comes by corroboration, conversation and multiplying points-of-views and expressions of experience.
Perhaps this is one reason we blog. To try “it” out on everyone, potentially. If our expressions resonate with others, perhaps they have a semblance of truth, or contribute toward creating it. Enough “I know, right?’s” and we’re on our way to a fact. But no amount of data or language, materials or activity makes it so…it rests on agreement and compromise, observation and interaction shared most widely, coagulations of interpretations, accretions of experiencing – fabrication.
Make then, express. Hypothesize and share your experience – we ask for your two-cents worth – we’re accumulating a fund.
One thought on “What Happens (with a semblance of truth): A True Story (that is never true)”
Thanks for this well-written, thought-provoking post. Myself, I am finding myself done with postmodernism and attracted to Remodernism — that there is a truth in existence…..