This was a journal entry written on April 13, 2002. I post it in response to Jessica Barksdale Inclán's post. This entry was not to say that Belle Yang does not lie. Of course I do. But I try to minimalize lies for the reasons I write below.
Gouache by B.Y.
In “The Gift of the Lotus” a book of meditations, March was the month to examine truth. “So let us seek the truth, in everything, in everybody, in every circumstance, with patience, with humility, with love.” This was the meditation on my birthday. When I first ran my eyes over the passage, I was stunned to see a reverberation of what I have been trying to define for myself. In the time since my recovery, I have considered how to best conduct a life that centers on altar of truth. I was not born a truth seeker, but now after having traveled the uneven and rough terrain into my middle age, I value it, I strive for it in my conduct toward others and myself because I have learned that it is the simplest way to live.
Simplicity is beauty, and I am a seeker of beauty. Life is difficult enough, why complicate it with lies? To tell the truth does not mean one’s soul remains unburdened, but to tell lies means that one fetters oneself with more lies like adding links to a heavy chain around ones neck. And especially since my recovery from illness, it has come to be the test of my ability to speak the truth, to go without a mask even when awake and among people. It wastes less energy.
My heart started thumping hard when I came across this passage in “To Know a Woman” by Amos Oz:
“Lies seemed to him [Yoel] like viruses of an incurable disease that even between the four walls of a secure laboratory must be treated with extreme care. Handled only with rubber gloves.
“He himself lied only when he had no alternative. And only when lying seemed to him to be the last and only way out, or an escape from danger. In such cases he always chose the simplest, the most uncomplicated lie, never more, so to speak, than two steps away from the facts.”
Amos Oz is a humane author in the Chekhovian sense. I read him in the spirit of eloping with him on a donkey. I think he has inherited Chekhov’s quiet realization of the heart’s longing. There are not unbelievable plot treatments, just the full impact of painting ordinary lives with an expressionistic brush. I love philosophical books, and Oz is able to wrap the philosophy so adroitly in the character’s actions, and reactions, one doesn’t feel ambushed.
Another line of Oz that shocks me with its magnificent clarity of power: “…there was only one thing worse than the use of violence, and that was submission to violence.”
Causes Belle Yang Supports
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