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Verum Est Rare Putus Quod Nuncam Simplex

Updated on June 14, 2012

I am not proficient in Latin but the title is supposed to read: “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” (If anyone knows Latin and my translation needs improvement, please do let me know so that I can fix it. Thank You.) This is a quote from Oscar Wilde. I love his witty writing and I have memorized many of his genial quotes.

I do believe that “the truth is rarely pure and never simple.” Depending on one’s perception, something could be viewed from different angles thus, understood differently. The cup half-full or cup half-empty idea comes to mind: two different ways of seeing the same thing.

I appreciate Truth although I do know that often times, Truth is relative. And often-times, we make-up our own Truths, whatever works for us. For me, Truth is in the eye of the beholder. I always try to understand a Truth from the perspective of whoever is talking about Truth.

I also know that due to our limited perception, we cannot know many things for sure. Here, I often bring-up the notion of a chair: that wooden thing with wooden legs and a wooden back support (well, nowadays they are not always made of wood but let us just play along on this one). We know a chair only from what other people have told us as children. We were shown a chair, someone pointed at it and said: “chair”. Like the little monkeys we are (or parrots – I like parrots, I am much like a parrot), we repeated it enough times that now we see a “chair” and we think: “chair”. Yet, is it a chair?

If we were to ask the chair “are You a chair”, I am not sure if we would get a positive answer. Thus, we cannot know the thing in itself (Imannuel Kant); we only make-up ideas which we then, hold as Truth. That is why, for me “the truth is rarely pure and never simple”.

There are not many truths I can categorically say that they are true. Regarding my own person … I am chasing the Truth – that is one truth. "I am", would be a second truth … It is quite difficult in my opinion to find something which is clearly true, without any ambiguity. Yet, so many people hold so many little things as truths … many people seem to make-up/invent all kinds of ideas and then, hold them to be true.

In reality though (of this three dimensional perspective), “the truth is rarely pure and never simple” – Oscar Wilde.

I wish everyone well. All the best!

Note: My photograph, Alberta, Canada - Summer of 2011


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    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      "The most important thing is to find your own highest truth, and allow others to do the same." - I really like this line of thought, Mrs. Dolores.

      Respect for one another is very important, in my opinion.

      Thank You for the visit and comment.


    • Dolores02 profile image

      Dolores02 5 years ago from earth

      Truths are subjective things. Even the "truth" of a color appears differently to different eyes. The most important thing is to find your own highest truth, and allow others to do the same. Great hub =)

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hmm ... I fell behind in answering comments here it seems - my apology Mr. Pagesvoice and Mr. Mathews. And thank You for clarifying the translation, Mr. Aravind.

      Thank You all for stopping by and taking the time to leave comments. : )


    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank You so much for taking the time to read and comment, Mrs. Storyteller. You are awesome!! : )

      I wish You all the very best!

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Mr. Happy, this was a thoughtful hub and fun to read, filled with wise words from others and from you. "The Truth will set you free" isn't always as it seems, it seems!

    • aravindb1982 profile image

      Aravind Balasubramanya 5 years ago from Puttaparthi, India

      Yes! Atma means the Spirit. It is considered as the single constant that pervades the entire universe - Science calls it energy, some call it spirit, some call it God, some call it Atma! :)

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      I fully agree with what you have expressed here.

    • pagesvoice profile image

      Dennis L. Page 5 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

      Voted up and interesting. First let me just say how beautiful the picture you used is. It is so strange that I came upon this Hub directly after I left a comment on a preceding Hub regarding a friend of mine who would lie constantly. When I asked him about it he quickly responded, "You've got to lie...everyone lies." Maybe there was a lot of "Truth" in his words.

      One of my favorite quotes came from the movie "A Few Good Men" when Jack Nicholson said to Tom Cruise, "The truth! You can't handle the truth!" I think that statement applies to many.

    • profile image

      White Wolf 5 years ago

      Greetings Mr. Aravind,

      great quotes! Thank You for taking the time to leave a most insightful comment. I appreciate the break-down of the idea of truth between: Nijam, Sathyam and Ritam - very well put, in my opinion.

      I have a question regarding the word "Atma" - can it mean "Spirit" as well as "Self"? Just curious - in Spanish "Spirit" is "Alma".

      Thank You for stopping by once again. I wish You all the very best! : )

    • aravindb1982 profile image

      Aravind Balasubramanya 5 years ago from Puttaparthi, India

      Hello Mr.Happy....Another thought-provoking hub...

      here is the take of the man in Orange. He says that there are three levels of 'Truth'. In Sanskrit, they are termed as 'Nijam', 'Satyam' and 'Ritam'.

      It is tough to translate these into English for English does not suffice!

      I quote Him:

      There are three levels of truth: Nijam (fact), Sathyam (truth) and Ritam (absolute truth). To speak according to what one has seen is to merely state a fact. Suppose I see you wearing a white dress and say "you are wearing a white dress", this becomes a statement of a fact. Later, at home, you may wear a blue dress. Then what I had said earlier will not hold good anymore. Thus, a fact is subject to change. Truth on the other hand does not change with time. A person may change any number of dresses. But, the person, as such, remains the same. Thus, truth is the same at all times. Ritam, however, relates to the Atma (self) which is changeless and eternal, unlike the body or mind that are subject to change. It transcends both good and evil. It is described as attributeless, pure, eternal, permanent and unsullied

      “There is in everyone a spark of truth; no one can live without that spark. There is in everyone a flame of love; life becomes a dark void without it. That spark, that flame is God, for, He is the source of all truth and all love. Man seeks truth. He seeks to know the reality because his very nature is derived from God, who is truth. He seeks love, to give it and share it, for his nature is of God, and God is love.”

      “The chief duty of man is investigation into truth. Truth can be won only through dedication and devotion, and they are dependent on the grace of God, which is showered only on hearts saturated with love.”

      I just could not contain myself reading your hub. So the elaborate quotes....

      God bless you Mr. Happy.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Interesting detail on the "chair" exercise. I personally do not remember exactly from whom I picked it up. I think it was either from Albert Hofman or Timothy Leary ... either way, I think it describes best our limited ability to perceive things and to know the truth.

      I appreciate your attitude to Life. Thank You for taking the time to read and leave a comment. Cheers!

    • CBartelmey profile image

      CBartelmey 5 years ago from Colorado, United States

      Very "true". Oddly enough in high school I had a teacher run through that very same exercise with a chair and it presented quite a shift to my perception. For better or worse I have seen many people get caught up in their “truths”. That is why I have simply tried to become a sponge. I observe, I see, I try to analyze without bias and then I try to conclude. I believe there are truths here, perhaps they are simple, perhaps they are not, but in either case I think it will take some digging to find them as we have certainly built our own layers atop whatever foundations exist.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Haha!! I would hang-out with Willie Nelson anyday! Thank You for the great comment Mrs. Angela! Cheers.

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      This seem somewhat complex but in reality is very simple! You truth and my truth can be completely differant. Or my truth may not be the truth that you are needing at the time. Wow now I feel like I am brain storming for a poem or an article! Or I have been hanging out with Willie Nelson today? Sorry! Great hub! I have shared this!