I. Art & Age

All art aims to point towards the truth. An ideal picture of the heart is equally true and equally beautiful as a realistic picture of the mind. Both start from a pure idea before being made into physical representation. Hence, both painters and poets have leave to lie[1]

The greatest art is that which have persisted for the longest age. It is the art of learning by experiencing life; correcting what is wrong while pursuing what is right. A life of learning is more than just a meaningless existence but a journey of joy in search for the truth.

Most men by nature desire to know the truth[2]. Fair is the fall of truth and daylight for the telling of truth never grows old. It alone is elegant, beautiful and eternal throughout all ages.

The language of truth is simple and needs not the ornament of many words. Yet the truth standing naked is of austere and cold beauty devoid of warmth and mirth. Left unrefined, the truth is blunt and causes harm to those who would hear it.

To tell the truth without offending is a fine and delicate skill. It requires the mastery of language less one in forced to speak the truth and flee. Subtle and profound, the truth must be told in a way that silk slides across skin giving comfort and bearing no harm.

To tell the truth subtly by gently disarming its listeners is the pinnacle of artistic achievement. It can come in the form of paintings and poetry, for there are pictures in poems and poems in pictures[3], but the height of its perfection is accomplished only through the spoken and written word.

The final truth belongs to heaven and not to this world[4]. It is impossible to experience and understand everything within one short lifetime. But men whose area of knowledge is vast, with a strong desire to know and a habit of exact thinking would come closest to its sweet nectar.

Although life is short, the truth works far and long. Let us speak the truth[5] for it alone is mighty and shall prevail[6]. If life can be painted, let us all paint the picture of life and of truth, worthy of remembrance in all its beauty.

[1] Adapted from Horace’s Ars Poetica (1st century BC).

[2] Adapted from Aristotle’s Metaphysics.

[3] Adapted from a Chinese proverb.

[4] See Bertrand Russell’s An Outline of Philosophy.

[5] Adapted from Schopenhauer’s preface of The World as Will and Representation.

[6] Adapted from the apocryphal book of 1 Esdras (4:41).

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