Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The Truth used to be out there.
The X Files became the longest running Sci Fi TV series and was deemed second only to Star Trek in terms of its cult status. At it's peak in the mid 90s it was hugely popular and over the almost ten years that the 9 series ran from 1993 was consistently innovative and often interesting. The main tag line was "The Truth is Out There" and the dynamic between the sceptical Scully and the open minded Mulder drove much of the character development and plot. The second movie is finally released next week and has been titled, to the dismay of many "Xphiles" or fans, "I want to believe".
The fans just think it is a rubbish title but the change in emphasis through the series and into the movies is noteworthy. "The Truth is Out There" spoke of empirical, observable realities. It said that through the confusion, the differences of opinion and the paranoia there was an ultimate, over arching truth which although not clear could in theory be accessed and was worthy of pursuit. "I want to believe" takes truth into a personal and subjective realm. The focus is less on the truth itself and more on the response of the individual.
The series of ideas which have become labeled as post-modernity would resonate with this progression. There is no objective truth which can be know, no meta-narrative or big story, no real meaning in words or ideas, certainly nothing external which can be accessed or referenced. Each must find their way in the darkness, every opinion valid and judgement entirely subjective and therefore irrelevant. And yet these ideas primarily have traction in the areas of morality, values, ethics and spirituality. Nobody seems that keen to take their car to a post-modern garage, have their assignments marked by a post-modern teacher or invest their money in a post-modern bank. Although post-modern doctors can be found and post-modern politicians may be desirable. The dialogue is central to much of the debate of 21st Century issues. Is there truth out there? Be it about global warming, poverty, ethics or the existence and nature of God or is it just a matter of sincere opinion from those who want to believe. Sincerity is no guarantee of veracity and wish fulfillment in the face of facts to the contrary is self delusion.
Katie Melua is not a renowned philospher but does have some valid perspectives on this issue.
There are nine million bicycles in Beijing
That's a fact,
It's a thing we can't deny
Like the fact that I will love you till I die.
THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE
We are twelve billion light years from the edge,
That's a guess,
No-one can ever say it's true
But I know that I will always be with you.
THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE BUT I DON"T KNOW IT ALL
I'm warmed by the fire of your love everyday
So don't call me a liar,
Just believe everything that I say
I WANT TO BELIEVE AND I WANT YOU TO BELIEVE TOO
There are six BILLION people in the world
More or less
and it makes me feel quite small
But you're the one I love the most of all
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THIS SONG IS THE HUMILITY ABOUT WHAT IS NOT KNOWN AND THE CERTAINTY OF WHAT IS BELIEVED. I WISH MORE OF MY COMMUNICATION COULD STRIKE THAT BALANCE!
WHICH TAKES US BACK TO MULDER AND SCULLY
Deep in conversation as usual. A believer with a scientific bent and a sceptic with a religious past. If the Poster for the new movie is any clue the intersection of their lives and love may provide the key. Although in a world where they know to "Trust no one" there may not be a happy ending.
Without truth there can be no love. Without someone to trust there can be no answers. Belief in the truth is the key. As The Truth says "All things are possible to those who believe" and the response is deeply moving "Lord I believe, help my unbelief". It is faced with the reality of the truth that the desire to believe is kindled. I wonder what Mulder and Scully would have made of that X File.