Truth is not a temporary thing bound in time or age or opinion. It does not grow from infancy or shrink at confrontation, does not fade evolve or unwind. There can be no one truth for you and another for me, no variations to suit our fashions and moods.
If truth is to have any meaning, then relativity can not be the single objective fact by which all else falls. Knowledge can not tell us we know nothing, and morality should not be the quality by which we ignore all moral inclinations. If reason concludes that reason itself is limited, it does not follow that nothing is known or knowable. The truth exists regardless, and limits are always from within.
A free humanity uses faith and love and art as tools of transcendence, and lives knowing nothing partial or halved. A free humanity is singing, smiling, dancing, weeping, and laughing. We do not linger in the secret nihilism of subjective truth, where at worst nothing exists and at best nothing exists as fully as can be imagined -- where nothing is good or bad and every action is as valueless as every object it affects. We do not malign ourselves with meaninglessness and the freedomless individuality of convenience. We have picnics on blankets trains and trampolines, and we take vacations on carousels.
We start with the self because that's what we are, indivisible individuals actual real and alive, and why should we give that up to the ugly unliving escapism that disavows truth? Instead we are daring and simple and deep. We assume the freedom and autonomy of the individual as an obvious and objective truth, and now the world can breathe. Now we are fully alive and now love exists in every possibility and beauty rests at every turn. Now we are individuals and free to be something more and something better. Now we are free to be something unique and something true, and maybe even something with a soul.
Here I mean life at its highest, the clutch of certain humanity, ecstasy and agony, terrestrial angels unchained. I mean the sound of mankind as it echoes through time and the conscious, unconscious, and subconscious conscience as a mark of the divine. You can find these living souls on every rounded corner of Earth, where art is made and love without pretense, with a determined sense of yearning burning madly loud and wild -- and the wilderness of man is civilization, (building and breaking and building again, tribe against tribe against family or friend) and as easy as it is to see havoc, chaos, war, still between the smoke are things which are beautiful and more: a nun that feeds the hungry while a beggar prays to God, and a doctor painting sunsets on a childhood of scars. Community like family is built on humanity (not theory) -- and not the other way around. See the homeless smile politely, notice mothers share a laugh, or then soldiers saving children from what will come or what has passed. Witness great musicians as they educate themselves, or the artisans of living making friendships just as well; there is shelter, there is daylight, there are poems on the wall. Feel a moment, know forever -- nothing partial halved or small.
Charity is proliferated everywhere humanity survives, and love abounds relentlessly wherever people are alive -- and each an individual, each one more than gathered parts. There are reason-based values in this world that are more than arbitrary assignments; they are the choices of individuals deriving meaning from truth. Life has meaning, and the soul has value. The dignity of humanity is not up for debate -- you either see it or you don't. It is a basic statement of truth; a revelation of reason on which this earth has worth or it does not. The dignity of humanity is the truth on which every nation must depend and by which all love affairs begin and end. It is the battle cry of liberty, and the width of every art. It is the muse of any charity, and the engine behind peace. It is the reason for compassion and care. Incidentally, it is only in a world of objective truth that it remains beyond dispute. Here it supports equality amongst people of difference, the individuals alive, and the creation of everything of value, from symphonies to universities to the phenomena of carousels.
Carousels, with smiling children spinnning much too slow for a thrill, the static grin of horses speared by golden rods, and parents who beam with mock enthusiasm but only the faintest memory of what it truly means to imagine. The carousel is usually built with an uninspired art that is perhaps more honestly called craft. In its finest detail is a creativity that is one part skill and part chance, but devoid of any expression or semblance of the sublime.
In an empty carousel there is no trace of anything but the carousel and emptiness, and no significance that speaks for itself. It is material and craft assembled as a moving monument to pointlessness. The thing itself makes no sense, not without the children, because in them is the place the carousel only signifies. In them is found the meaning which the thing itself is lacking. Add children to the carousel and you have suddenly an inexplicable beauty -- a great mystery to celebrate and enjoy.
I myself remember very much hoping to not be stuck with merely a horse. I wanted to ride a lion, or at the very least a frog. (It would be a magic frog, and that would be the point). The absurdity of the carousel ends when the impossible is actualized in the smile of a child. Not that magic frogs are suddenly real, but that the children in their imagining are more real than anything in the ruthless truthless unworlds of their parents.
At certain carousels, if you arrive for the last ride of the evening, you will see lovers as they ride it side by side. They too have created a world all their own, and in many ways this is a book about those lovers and the world in which they dwell -- but here the language fails. This is a book that takes for granted that their world is the real world actualized. It is the only world, where truth exists regardless of if you accept it. All other worlds are something a little worse than imaginary, and are inhabited by a people who are something a little worse than dead. We can wonder if their love is real, but the simpler truth is that it is occuring. It is happening before our eyes and also somewhere we can't see. What do we mean, is it real? It is, and that's enough. The ceaseless verb of their love becomes the boundless noun of their love, and not only is it a discernable reality, but for the lovers at the carousel it may be the only reality they can imagine.
This is a book that deals with truth and embraces humanity, and I am a person who believes that good things exist, and are therefore attainable. There are literally countless ways to transcend the merely obvious and arrive at the miraculously true, and this is a book that simply believes poetry may be one of them, carousels another.