Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Class of Truth and Reality

Two weeks ago I found myself back in the classroom. I sat five rows back from the front so I wasn't close enough to be a brown noser and I wasn't  too far back to be disinterested. I considered it to be more of a lecture than a class since there would be no tests, homework or grades so the pressure was off. The topic was about truth and reality.

I'll spare the stories and the chalkboard diagrams with all due respect to the teacher. However, I was sucked in, engaged and felt enlightened. If I had to narrow it down to its essence, make it fit into my life and write a blog about it where I compare it to a situation in my life, this is what we would have...a blog.

So fact is, for an example: the Titanic sunk. We all know there's a huge ship that is sitting on the bottom of the ocean and James Cameron made a film about it. That is a fact. Reality now has some variations and interpretations. In other words there may be a thread of facts linked together in the movie and a good enough storyline that it becomes truth. Thus, we have a movie called Titanic. There is enough facts in the plot to make it truth and enough truth to make it a reality. It boils down to a ship that sunk and the cause of its sinking, we know. But, what happened during the sinking and the emotions felt during that time can only be imagined.

Now I have fulfilled my duty with the first two parts of the blog; I described the class and wrote a blog about it. 

I am almost ready to tie this into my life with a comparison. This is how it fits in, within my recent trip to Cuba. The fact is I went to Cuba. The true reality of my experience of Cuba is the question. My dilemma is to visualize the truth or depict the facts. Everyone loved the movie of a gigantic ship crashing into an iceberg and hundreds of people drowning. It was a love story, a visual bonanza, a you know how it's going to end, edge of your seat two hour walk away melancholy, wish your life could end so confidently, type of feeling. 

Did I find truth in Cuba? No. Is the truth of Cuba; street scenes of old American cars from the 1950's zipping through streets? How about Cuban cigar smoke rolling out of your mouth as you mimic mafia hand gestures? Or maybe it's the pouring of the smoothest rum to your lips as your head dances to the words "Viva la Vida." Or is the fact that, the reason vintage cars zip around the island is because that is all they have? Does the story become a Twilight Zone episode? Does the cigar smoke that swirls around your head taste better because there's a sense of doing wrong by breaking laws in your own country? Does that make the tobacco sweeter? The rum that flows so cheaply is the only option because there's no room for competition because the government crushed it.

I sat five rows back listening to truth and reality as I doodled in my sketchbook. The truth is I was figuring out reality while drawing boats that don't exist in Cuba.