The Great Truths Are Not Truisms

The Great Truths Are Not Truisms September 25, 2023

It is true that the older one becomes, the truer the great truths of life become.  Those great truths usually congregate under the rubric of The Classic Virtues, because Truth and Virtue share an umbilical relationship of shared genetic material.  Honesty is always going to be honored, surreptitiously if not overtly.  And that goes for all the other primary virtues as well: nobility of conduct, and nobility of conception, will forever raise in the beholder a sensation that elevates and pleases.  Purity of sexual action – which means devotion and loyalty to the one you are responsible for, as well as his or her offspring – will always create in people who witness it a feeling of admiration, however that feeling is hedged about with conflicting or dissonant sensations.  As human beings we are built to respond positively to other humans who are protecting their mates, and their children, and their parents.

Courage will always be celebrated by the individuals who benefit from the valor of others.  If I have been rescued, at great personal risk of harm on the part of the one doing the rescuing, then I am obviously going to be impressed by the bravery of the rescuer.  I am going to realize that courage is a beautiful thing in and of itself – not just because I survived as a result of it – but because there was something in the act of valor itself that triggered and awakened my esthetic and moral sense to a far extent.  I am going to see that courage is derived from the word for heart – that courage comes from the heartiness and heartfeltness and heart-centeredness of the beautiful person who has saved me.

Truthfulness is just as lovely, of course, and if I am perceptive enough in these matters I am going to perceive that honesty requires a fair measure of the courage I admired in the hero.  It takes bravery to speak and live the truth in all circumstances, in every facet and aspect of life.  It is the stalwart man or woman who declares in speech or act what is objectively true.  The one virtue supports and reinforces the other.  It is in the nature of good things to come to the aid of other good things, just as good people rush to the assistance of other good people.  If a lie is the handle that fits all vices, as Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr says, then courage is the helpmeet of all virtues, and is, in fact, indispensable to them all.

Loyalty we have touched upon, in the context of marital fidelity, but its value is much more all-encompassing.  We see its golden qualities in friendship, where faithfulness to a friend is – or should be – gorgeous in the eyes of all people (remembering the derivation of gorgeous from gorge, or valley, referring to the beautiful and elegant valleys and indentations of the ruffles worn about the necks of highly refined persons in the past).  Loyalty, and all the Classic Virtues, share in this elegant and eternally lovely beauty, because they are ultimately and forever dependable.  You can rely on them.  They do not give way under pressure, and they are transmuted only to become less than what they were before.  The older you become, the more you perceive this to be a heartwarming and comforting truth.

Browse Our Archives