Thursday, 19 December 2013

Truths, Lies And Fictions

We learn the distinction between true statements, lies and fictions - and I wonder whether there is a fourth category: entertaining yarns that may be believed but that do no harm? In Voice Of The Fire, Alan Moore creates a prehistoric moronic boy who does not understand lies. He " not glean that one can say of thing when thing is not." Also, he does not differentiate appearance from reality. He tells us not that a tree resembled a man until he got nearer to it but that a man became a tree.

I was concerned when a teacher denounced a comic that I was reading as "lies." Lies were sinful. Was fiction not a valid alternative category after all?

Could there be rational beings with no concept of fiction? When Shakespeare's company plays A Midsummer Night's Dream for Auberon's court, the Puck says:

"This is magnificent...and it is true! It never happened; yet it is still true. What magic art is this?"
- Neil Gaiman, The Sandman: Dream Country (New York, 1995), p. 75.

It is magic. The actors create something from nothing. The superficial Puck lacks evaluative terms like "valid" and "authentic." A member of CS Lewis' family said that, in a TV drama of his life, the actors did not resemble the real people, events were simplified and the conversations were, of necessity, made up but it was all true.

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