Saturday, March 20, 2021

Two Truths

Most of us have probably found ourselves in a situation where there appear to be two entirely incompatible versions of reality in play. 'Recollections may differ' as Buckingham Palace recently put it. 

In 2018 I was in a Guatemalan courtroom when a judge pronounced, in all seriousness — 'There are two truths here' (hay dos verdades aqui) — and at first this seemed a bit of a face-slapping moment, given that the other party's truth had just been revealed to be a fairly grotesque pair of lies, one via documentation, the other an open admission of having told a fib. (That I had thrown shards of glass into her pool. Not really a white lie that one.) 

And academic background has always inclined me to a certain way of handling this situation. For the apparent schism between two dead set ways of seeing the same basic situation is never as absolute as it may at first appear, and there is nearly always a hidden interaction between them, the one having fed off the other, sometimes rather less than consciously. 

And there's rarely an inherent exclusivity in these polarities. Often enough, part of the solution is to come up with a third. At least then you can show that the choice is not entirely binary.

No comments: