Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Verisimilitude

verisimilitude: noun-
1. the appearance or semblance of truth or reality; probability; quality of seeming true.
2. something, as an assertion, having merely the appearance of truth.
3. something that merely seems to be true or real, such as a doubtful statement

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.
~Abraham Lincoln

I am always just a little bit amazed (can one be a little bit amazed?) at how easily people will accept as truth something that they've heard or read. Most of the time they've only heard or read one side or one view of whatever it is. This is why I don't get into political or religious discussions (or politics and religion in general, for that matter). All those blinders make it impossible for anyone to know the truth when they see it. It's all verisimilitude.

I'm not against a sidestep from reality. But what gets me is people who insist on arguing their point without fully knowing their point. And people who get hostile about it all, people who don't even try to look at the flip side? Fie.

The truth is, there is very little that is true in this world. Even nature likes to fool us - animals and bugs camouflage themselves and trick us into thinking they're leaves or grass or whatever. I remember a day back in my 20's. I was spending time on the beach just south of Atlantic City. It was a hot day and I'd been sitting on a blanket reading for a while. I thought, "Ahhh... a dip in the ocean is exactly what I need!" Five minutes later I was running on water, trying to get away from the jellyfish. The ocean had tricked me with its gentle waves, had seduced me with it's clean salt scent. Mother Nature is the grand mistress of verisimilitude.

So, why are we so stinkin' trusting when it comes to mere words that have been uttered by someone else? Is it that we're too lazy to dig a little deeper? Too busy? Are we so impatiently in need of answers that we'll accept whatever comes along?

Because I believe, as Thomas Jefferson so eloquently penned, that the truth ought to be self-evident. Everything else is just a pale verisimilitude, no matter how real it seems or how comforting it feels.

What it comes down to is: question everything.



  1. I almost did this word for V too on the A to Z! And I have always loved that quote by Lincoln. Nice post. Can there be versions of the truth? :)

  2. I remember learning about this word in one of my middle school English classes. Thanks for helping me get reacquainted with it. :)

    If one questions everything, then there are many more possibilities.


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