logic puzzles

I recently got trapped in that classic logic puzzle--the one about the labyrinth with two guards, one of whom always tells the truth and one of whom always lies. I know that you're supposed to use their stories to lead you to safety, but instead I found camaraderie with the guards.

I expected the guard who always tells the truth to be better company, but he was inescapably dull. He described the world without any sort of flourish at all. You know how a photographer can make everyday objects into a thing of beauty? A picture of a coffee table can be far more beautiful than the table ever will. The truthful guard could make a thing of beauty into an everyday object.

He meant well. How could he not? He could do nothing but wear his heart on his sleeve. I could put up with the boredom, I guess, but he was more than just dull. There's something profoundly unsettling about seeing the world through a lens which strips everything of its pretense and its airs, and actually describes things how they are. So much of human existence is about seeing things in any way except as they are.

No, I've been drinking with the guard who lies. He tells beautiful stories and the lens through which he views the world is comfortable and familiar. I don't believe a word he says but I don't really have to. Lies are not so binary as the logic puzzle would have you believe, and at least this feels like home. One of these days I guess I'll have to ask which path I should take to get out of the labyrinth. I just never figured it would be to escape hearing another uncomfortable truth.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Does the truth have to be dull? joyless? humorless? not compelling? Hmmmmm. Interesting story. Kathy