A ditch in time. 30 days of biking, #24

This photo is a lie.

Well, not a lie—instead, it contains far too little truth. Just like so many photos, paintings, sculptures, essays, speeches, inscriptions, magazines, books, podcasts, blogs, databases, casual conversations, compilations, tattoos, and cave paintings.

What is truth? Truth is everything and everywhere. Truth is what we understand and what we don’t understand. Truth has everything to do with us and everything to do with that which is not us.

Truth is what happened before and what has yet to happen. But truth, while it can be understood in the context of time, is not constrained by time.

In short, truth is impossible.

But we should strive to move in the direction of truth because reaching for even a fragment of truth allows us to better understand our world, possibly to improve our situation and that of others.

So how does the picture at the top of the page fall short?

The lack of information it provides.

What’s the temperature? The wind speed? How does the rider feel about the ride? Or is the bicycle, captured so indistinctly, simply a prop? Why does the road curve here? Is there an intersection just out of frame? Is the road really a driveway? Or a culvert? The water seems real enough. Is there a chorus of frogs?

Imagine the camera pulling back and lifting up. The horizon turns from flat to curved; then one side of the globe is revealed, everything in sharp focus. The other side, hidden now, eventually rolls into view. Imagine all sound is captured and searchable. (Imagine this is not the fervid dream of Silicon Valley authoritarians—I mean opportunistic sociopaths—I mean rich children hawking shiny toys—I mean entrepreneurs.)

Even that ultimate multimedia big picture is not truth.

Let’s assume the bicycle is not a prop. Where did the rider come from? How did the rider choose this route? Where, exactly, did the coaster-brake axle fail that the rider fixed when a kid, and how old was the rider at the time: eight? ten? twelve? Where is that bicycle today? A landfill? Somebody’s basement? Holding up a table in the corner bar?

How long has it been since a turtle crossed this road? (If it is a road.) Is someone playing basketball in the house south of the ditch? (Is the ditch a ditch?) What’s the possibility the basketball player is listening to the Bay City Rollers on a radio?

Who are/were the Bay City Rollers?

The truth, by the way, is not found by posing questions. And yes, that means this essay is not moving anyone closer to the truth. But it is not taking us further from the truth, either.

Which is not to suggest this essay has a kernel of merit. If it does, that merit is an artifact of a flawed writing process employed by an opportunistic sociopath of limited means.

So what’s the point? Simply that we shouldn’t believe everything we see or hear. We should recognize when someone is actively discounting or disputing reality. And we should absolutely recognize when someone attempts to define reality as something other than what it is.

In that spirit, I offer the following statement, which is true: The bicycle holding up the table in the corner bar is not mine.

April 24, 23.75 miles.

About 16incheswestofpeoria

Former bicycle mechanic, current peruser of books, feeder of birds.
This entry was posted in #30daysofbiking, bicycle, History, Off topic, Report from the road and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A ditch in time. 30 days of biking, #24

  1. Pingback: Working in the margins. 30 days of biking, #25 | 16incheswestofpeoria

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