“Does it make a difference?” asked Hermione.
“Changes how I feel about it,” said Harry.
Day 4, and I cannot really believe I came thus far without quoting Harry Potter. The above quote is taken from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, book 7 of the series. So why is it relevant, why is it special?
The dialogue is a part of the discussion between Harry and Hermione over which version of the truth was right, in the long and partial history of the wizards versus goblins debate. The reference would go above the heads of anyone who hasn’t read Harry Potter (not seen, read!) and that is not the purpose of this post. The quote is used only as a reference for something I have always felt differently about.
We have all been conditioned to fight for the truth we believe in, for something we are expected to believe in, and it is far easier to convince ourselves that our beliefs and causes are right and strong rather than accept ‘defeat’ by agreeing that we might have erred. This inherent human nature is what keeps us fighting valiantly for things that we would call flimsy from a different point of view. Be it religion, politics or family, our beliefs on particular people and their methods are the fuelling life force that gives us a false sense of purpose, something to go by, to work upon, to stand for.
Yet another favorite quote of mine, related to this would be:
‘There are always three sides to a story, your side, their side, and the truth’.
But whatever way we put it in, the truth hardly does matter as far as the human mind is concerned. What matters is how we feel about the truth. Are we appalled to learn that the man we idolized was not who he claimed he was? Was it his fault that he made us believe or was it our fault that we were dumb enough to fall for it? Would feeling right about someone erase all their faults in our memory?
Is it conditioning to like everything someone does only because we love them? Or vice versa, hate everything someone does just because we dislike them? Some questions do not have answers. Some others do not even require answers. One of life’s complexities is trying to understand the truth – or at least that version of the truth that makes the most sense.
Our quest for ‘the truth’ is actually a journey to find out a version of events / description of people that gives satisfying answers that would quell the germ of doubt that had arisen in our minds. Each quest for truth is actually a desperate search to find conclusive proof for the things we’ve always believed in, always supported, always fought for.
Choosing between what is right and what is easy, (Pssst… another HP reference. Kindly ignore and move on) choosing the truth even if it makes us uncomfortable, is probably what will differentiate us from the rest. But is it really that easy to do? Is ‘practice what you preach’ a practical bit of advice? We have all been blessed with hearts that are full of love, but the valves in it are one way, never understanding the need to adapt as per changing times.
I do second Harry, and his opinions from the quote above, in certain cases.
Does knowing the truth really matter? Is convincing ourselves of the goodness / evil quotient of a particular person all that necessary? Can we not stop this eternal quest to know and just sit back and accept things as they come?
Maybe we can, and maybe we don’t want to. Knowing the ‘truth’ might not make any difference, and it might not really matter. But it surely will change one’s mindset and give them the most elusive peace of mind they seek. The truth is terrifyingly beautiful, and very explosive too. Why then, must we seek it?
Is ignorance bliss?
Is it right to continue believing in something, refusing to accept the proof staring at one’s face?
Is it right to continue hating something with vehemence, only based on flimsy half-constructs, despite evidence to the contrary?
The human mind is a multilayered thing, and not an open book to be perused at will. (Shhh. There I go again. HP reference number 3). Not all actions can be explained logically, and not all decisions are always rational. And ultimately, it is our situation and mindset that dictate our actions rather than our ‘infallible’ balance that upholds all the virtue. It is, after all, easier to forgive a loved one for their murder rather than pity the ‘enemy’ for stealing our French Fries.
Oh, but come to think of it, that is an unpardonable crime, too. I meant the ‘French Fries’ thing!
The quest might be eternal, but the moment of realization is good as long as it is far away. Let it stay there, and not confront us ever.
So cheers to a happy, blissful 2017!