Sunday, August 16, 2009

Can You Handle It?

"Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing the matter with this, except that it ain't so." Mark Twain.

So. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin gave one of Jack Nicholson’s characters a pretty pugnacious question to pose: “You want answers?" His interrogator (Tom Cruise), thought he was entitled to answers. In fact, he wanted the truth! What he got was the famous reply: “You can't handle the truth!”

Can any of us? I reckon we have to catch it first."Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coattails." That was Clarence Darrow's take on the big T. 'T is B & B is T,' so said John K. And Galileo? "All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them." The subjects of one of my books [out of print, the world being a hard, difficult place], Mark Twain and the Queens of the Mississippi, said, "When in doubt, tell the truth." But our theme in this steamy month of dog days is not the handling, the telling, or the understanding of the Truth, but that chase, the search. And to my mind, no one spoke of the search more compellingly than the subject of my 2008 book, The Groundbreaking, Chance-Taking Life of George Washington Carver AND Science & Invention in America.

"Would it surprise you," George once asked a visitor who'd been noticing all of the scientific and artistic things he'd done, "if I say that I have not been doing many different things: All these years I have been doing one thing...seeking Truth. That is what the scientist is seeking. That is what the artist is seeking; his writings, his music, his pictures are just expressions of his soul in his search for Truth."

Yup. Thank you, Professor Carver. I have nothing further to add. That's about all the truth I can handle for now.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great post, Cheryl! It reminds me of a joke. A man was walking down the street with the devil. A piece of pure truth landed on another person coming the other way. So the man said to the devil, "Look at that! That person just got a piece of pure truth! Isn't that bad for your business?"
"Nah!," said the devil. "Truth doesn't bother me. I'll just get him to organize it."