Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dig Out The Truth

Things don't turn up in the world until somebody turns them up.

President James Garfield
Hello Frosty
James Garfield, Republican, was the 20th President of the United States. He had a long and active career in politics before narrowly defeating his Democratic rival for the Presidency. Unfortunately he was the victim of assassination shortly after taking office.

Garfield once said that the best university is a log, with you on one end and your professor on the other. These days it would probably be a park bench, but the image still holds true.

I once read a book in which a professor gave a final exam to his graduate student while the two of them were riding in an elevator. If both professor and student know the subject thoroughly the right questions will bring the answers and once the answers are known the questions become unimportant. As Susan Sontag wrote "The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions."

I loved to read philosophy, which calls itself a search for truth. In many ways however it is the search for questions. The right questions may provide the right answers. Socrates' persistent dialogues with his friends uncovered, turned up, many profound questions. But did they provide all the answers? I would say evidently not because philosophy didn't stop with Socrates or Plato.

Philosophy continued through the Roman, Greek and Arab civilizations, the Jews and Catholics of the Middle Ages in Europe on into the Age of Enlightenment, and on into the Modern World where there are philosophers in every country pondering the same old questions and turning up new ones.

Long may they dig.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
No. 1,896
Never Give Up

1 comment:

Donna said...

The search for truth never ends because my truth is not your truth. The truth is different things to different people.