Are Any Truths Still “Self-Evident”?

Verily, I say unto you, if you have faith and doubt not ... If ye say unto this mountain, be thou removed, and Be thou cast into the sea: it shall be done. 
Matthew 15.28

The truth cannot always be judged by its accuracy. Real Truth, like all the greatest things, doesn’t need anything to support itself. It even doesn’t need to be true...

I will tell you a story. At first it doesn’t seem to be closely related to the topic, but anyway it is. Love and Indifference, Desires and Despair, Life and Death, are strangely mixed there. It starts with a happy beginning, with one of the real wonders ever: a new human baby, the most innocent soul was delivered on the Earth. Unfortunately, we are very rarely concerned with such events; our own birth is hopelessly lost in the ordeal of our memory. The world’s machine never stops, our storage place is overwhelmed with sensations, desires, troubles. In a great Waterfall of our life, the beating of our heart could hardly be heard. Thousands of people are borne every day, and nobody understands this wonderful gift of the Gods. Except perhaps the only person - the Mother.

Any new baby is always a like star light. Thousands of years rushes it in absolute coldness and darkness. In one fair night, a Poet looks on the stars, and all of sudden the pretty rhymes flash in his mind. It is over in the instant, but

Night without grief
Quickly goes along,
Being so brief 
Remember’d long.

Every baby is like Paradise after Hell, Well in a Desert, Life united with Death, Joy borne of Sorrow.

And this very Boy was very pretty indeed, especially to his Mother. Moreover, he was alive! His tiny arms were so weak and touchy, appealing for a protection. He was clumsily moving but he could smile so extraordinary, and even crying he was very pretty.

As days go, all boys grow and become naughty, but mothers never cease to love them. And on one bad day, the Boy decided to leave. He had heard a lot of stories about the Fair Princes who lived in the Palace near the Sea and He had desire to find Her.

And the Mother felt very sad, for she would rather have her hand cut, than let her only son go. She would sing to Him the sweetest lullabies, but He only frowned at that: “The Princess must be much sweeter.” The Mother promised to invent the fairest tales ever heard, but He only smiled at that: “The Princess must be much fairer.” He wasn’t any more a Boy, and then the Mother realised that Her Son had grown a Man.

“I must see the Fair Princess. Since the very moment I heard about Her, no place has been good for me without Her. Your Tales about the Princess were wonderful; but what is a tale compared to Life?”

With a heavy heart he kissed the Mother, bade Her farewell and set off. And the Mother felt very sad. If our lives are painted like pictures, from that moment the Picture of Her Life would know only two colours: Red to mean Love and Black to mean Grief. He had taken with Him all colours of Her life except these two.

I am waiting for You...
Like the Star is waiting the Sun
In the Sky;
To see it, to touch it, to love it
And to die

I am waiting for You,
I need not Jewels, Might 
Or Fame.
Wherever I go, whispers me the Wind
Your Name.

I am waiting for You...
I myself do not understand
To be true;
Why the Spring is a Winter for me
Without You.

The Fair Princess... Long ago Fisherman had found Her in a Sea shell and taken to the palace where She was brought up. Usually in Sea shells one is expecting to find jewels. And this had proved to really be the case.

Her hair was like sea foam and when She combed it was like little waves coming down. And when She spoke, it was like a water bubbling in a silver jar. And She was moving as smoothly as a fish swimming. The Old King hadn’t had any children, and loved Her as a daughter.

One day there appeared the Young Man. He was patient, and he was waiting on the Shore hours, days, weeks just to have a glance at her. And the people noticed that the Princess had changed as if She was unwell. Nobody knew the true reason, and nobody knew why the Princess was walking so frequently to the Shore...

One night she came alone. No words were said. Are there needed any words when looks speak so much? When He grasp Her hand She trembled like a little fish caught in a net, but He didn’t let Her go. He kissed Her, lips to lips, as gently as a setting Sun touches the Sea...

I’m possessed by a wonderful fairy tale
No one ever knew;
With a real Princess, like snow pale:
The Princess was you.

Your haunting beauty was a bliss;
Fragrance of dew.
No great master could paint a piece
Deserving you.

Glamorous Palace, where the Highnesses
Grew and grew,
Was made so severely famous
Only because of you.

One night, from the palace, riches, delight
The Princess did flee.
Great sorrow in Kingdom, nobody could find
Neither you, nor me...

The other Great Gift we have is Love. In a cold north country, there lies a tiniest seed nobody knows about. When the Spring comes, and first Sun beams touch the land, the Seed is awaked. Through earth and stones, coldness and darkness, it strives for the Sun. Little by little appears a small bud. Invisible there are going mysterious preparations inside, so that one night appears a beautiful Rose: the Summer has begun. Unaware of its splendour, the Rose flushes purple with every touch of Light. The Days are delight to the Rose. Even the Nights are marvellous; you can look at the skies, at the millions of stars. And they remind you the Sun. But how beautiful are they, the Sun is more beautiful: when it arises, they hide, not being able to stand its brightness. But sometimes you feel sad, and there are little tears of dew. But even the smallest Sun beams would make them disappear. Pity the Rose when the Autumn comes. The Sun changes; it doesn’t bring any warm, the trees prepare for a comfortable sleep. But the Rose cannot: it dies. Winter embroiders its grave with a white savant of snow for a peace and a rest.

The Rose is dead. But if in the Spring the inconstant Sun touches the dead rose in its grave with a little promise of warmth and gentleness, a miracle would happen. The Rose would rise. The wounds healed, the suffering forgotten... The Rose is Love, the Sun is the object of our Love.

One day the Princess was forlorn: He had gone. She was sitting on the Shore all days long, longing to reach over the horizon. The Sea was whispering to Her wonderful stories but She only heard His voice as He bad Her farewell:

“My Fair Princess, your eyes are like two little deep ponds with a treasure inside, when you smile it is like a lively butterfly soaring off a flower, and your hands are as graceful as a white swam. Yet I must get across the Sea as far as no Swam can fly, walk through the Desert with no ponds in hundreds of miles around, clime up the Mountains where no flowers can grow. My fate is painful, but I have to find that wonderful Town of Scholars and the best Teacher to teach me the Truth.”

He was resolute. Nothing had stopped Him, nor the Sea, nor the Desert, nor the Mountains, nor even the tears of His Sweetheart. He had met the most famous Teacher and begged Him for the Scholarship offering anything in return. The Teacher was quite old and was pleased to find such an extraordinary and determined Student. The Teacher as if saw Himself young and was happy to give away all the Wisdom acquired during a long life. It was like all His life was reborn in this new Student...

Books themselves, even the thickest ones, don’t give any Wisdom. Neither they radiate warmth. Can they make anybody happier? Do they speak? They lie on shelves getting covered with dust, motionless and silent.

But when comes a Real Scholar everything changes; Books becoming alive. When you open Music Books with a bit of luck you can hear celebrated pieces. Poetry Books are constantly humming into your ear new rhymes. Even Mathematical Books with a cunning face rearrange their formulas. You can visit Ancient Greece, find your Juliet, or invent the Theory of Relativity. Learning is infinite. If you can make Books alive, it is an infinite Freedom. If you cannot, it is an infinite Prison.

The Student was reading thick books and manuscripts in Philosophy all days and nights, year after year. He was suffering much, but this sacrifice was in vain: the Books were dead... And He told the Teacher rude and evil words. The Teacher couldn’t stand it and His Heart broke. Teachers’ sacrifice is always much larger: they give away their Soul. In a great fear flew away the Student.

The world is great. There are millions of people, thousands of towns, hundreds of countries. And yet there were no place for Him to go, and He was getting older and older..

Take my heart away,
It brings me only pain.
I hear its beating every day -
Like drops of Autumn rain.

Like drops of Autumn rain
My tears, my thoughts, my eyes
My hands, my head, my brain:
Too heavy to fly in the skies.

Too heavy to fly in the skies -
My only chance to meet
The only love that never lies
The only lips like roses sweet

But there were no place for Him even after the Death. For said the Angel, “You built no House in the Heaven, and you will always be on your way in the search of Truth.” But the Oldster pleaded, “Please show me the Truth!”

As if veil was drawn away, and the Oldster saw His Mother. And She was young and sang a lullaby for a small boy in whom He recognised Himself. She was smiling at a remote Star and the song was light and easy as Moonlight. And there were no black colours in the Picture of Her Life.

“Look!” said the Angel, “For Her you are the nicest, fairest young boy that ever was born on under the Heavens. And This is Truth, for there is nothing impossible for the God if one has a grain of Faith. But in Her world there is no place for you - old and weary, unperfected as you are.”

Then the second vision appeared. He saw Himself but much younger embracing the happy Princess. And also there was the reddest ever growing Rose under the ever glowing Sun. He shouted to Her, but He left that world, and there were no ways back.

The third sight appeared. The Student and the Teacher were walking together, the Teacher was telling the stories and the Student was happily listening. Before then there was laying an endless bright path of Learning.

Then everything suddenly disappeared. He cried in despair, but He had no Mother to soothe Him. The Sea, the Desert and the Mountains were separating Him from His Lover. No Teacher could show him the way. He is still wandering somewhere trying to find the three visions, not quite believing that he has actually seen them...

The Truth is inside us. Every human being is a cosmos of ideas and desires, emotions and beliefs. Every such little cosmos, is unique, real and true. Because if you believe in something very much it will eventually prove to be true. Can one believe in something not evident? So every Truth is always “self-evident”. We can be even more optimistic: there will be Real Truths, as long as there are the Earth, the Heaven, and the People who live, love, suffer, and search for the truth.

Cambridge, 16-18 October 1996