The reality / truth paradox

The only reality is in one place, at one time,
as a fleeting perception of what a truth may be.
That is to say, no reality at all.
Reality is a thought of a truth in the here and now,
only ever understood by one mind in one instant,
only internalised by one heart for less than one heartbeat.
Then lost forever, to ever evolving interrogation, explanation and dissertation.

External attempts at understanding another’s reality and truths are just that, attempts.
Interpretations of another’s reality are creative, transient similitudes at best.
Knowing of another’s truths can only be attempted by association.
Association by its very nature denies the accuracy reality and truth demand.

History is a barely valid interpretation of past reality and its truths.
Yesterday is reappraisal of reality, mere perception of memorable truths.
The future has no reality where truth is elusive and aloof.
Tomorrow is simply anticipation based upon expectation come proof.
Proof is a contextual misnomer ignoring the reality question, what is truth?

Strathbogie poetry

A response to this week’s d’verse challenge regarding the Hemingway quote, “There is nothing else but now. There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there tomorrow.” - For whom the bell tolls (1940).

These first two lines of the quote cited immediately drew me back to a repeated personal exploration of what I call “The Reality / Truth Paradox”. If the word “certainly“ had been “certainty” it would have been a perfect fit.

I think this is a discussion Hemingway would have willingly engaged in with me if we had met. I would start with the question, “Do you apply fundamental realities and truths to your characters at the time of their creation?”

8 thoughts on “The reality / truth paradox

    • At the deepest philosophical level the only real truth is one untainted by perception or interpretation. Can humans ever resist such acts of consideration or contextualisation? That would be inhuman.


  1. Thought-provoking write! I have come to agree with many of your points. We can never truly comprehend another’s reality and we were never meant to. Empathy is great but we need to refrain from judgement in all matters. We just need to deal with ourselves and navigate the here and now. 💯

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sean, your point of view is compelling and falls right in with daoist philosophy, that each moment is a unique convergence of the 10,000 things along with there is no view without a viewer. I love the idea of you sitting down with Hemingway and asking him your question. Even though truth and reality as solid objects don’t exist, we have to cling to their illusion to get anywhere. Just like words being labels of reality are shaky at best, we still have to use them as a means of communication. Is it real? Is it truth? It’s real and true enough as one of my old mentors used to say. Thank you for your thoughtful poem and here is your roll of free drink tickets for the pub 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is incredibly potent! I especially like; “External attempts at understanding another’s reality and truths are just that, attempts. Interpretations of another’s reality are creative, transient similitudes at best.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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