Saturday, August 11, 2007

Facts and truth
Say you are to be introduced to a person who you have never met. You will be given an extremely detailed description of how he looks, his mannerisms, and his personality. You will also be given all of his personal data: his age, his place of birth, his occupation... all the way to his favorite food and his pet's name.

You could be given volumes and volumes about this man. And it would be plausible to say that you somehow know him. But you have never met him. You don't know what his face looks like when he meets someone for the first time. You do not know what the verbal quirks in his speech sound like, the rhythm of his gait, the look in his eye when he is bored, etc. Unless you have met him, you know a lot of things about him, but you don't really know him.

And that is the difference between knowing the Truth and knowing facts.
My old rector, giving a talk on one of his famous Quiet Days, said more or less the same thing. Arturo Vásquez touches on the difference I describe here, and as P.J. O’Rourke put it the difference between information and knowledge is the difference between name-the-hot-star’s phone number and name-the-hot-star.

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