Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Friday, April 27, 2007

Truth equals 1

I think that non-fiction, ultimately, is the same as fiction because of multiplication of decimals.

Let's say we have a non-fiction book about the history of the United States, and let's say we have a mathematical formula for determining the truth of any one event, based on eyewitness accounts, tangible evidence, prevailing social norms, and one million other things. Let's assign the number "1" to any complete truth.

Okay, so let's read about the Boston Tea Party through WWI in a book called Tea Party to Gas! Gas! Gas!, and let's say, using our formula, that the account of the Boston Tea Party is about 85 percent truthful (truth score: 0.85). Then let's read about the Revolutionary War, and let's say that the account is 65% truthful (truth score: 0.65). When we then consider that the Boston Tea Party (at least mythically) engendered the Revolutionary War, we must multiply the truths (0.85 x 0.65 = 0.5525). Let's string along some other causes and effects, each having a truth score of one (1) or less, continuing to multiply cause to effect, decimal to decimal, until we get to a truth score of 0.0000000001.

Now let's say we have a fiction book. Maybe John, the main character, goes to the dentist and steals the Dixie Cup that that the machine fills with water or mouthwash to be used when the dentist says, "Rinse," because it would fit his new pet, a baby toad. Maybe one John in ten thousand has done this (truth score: 0.0001). And maybe when John gets home, he takes the toad from the jar and puts into the cup, and the toad jumps out into his mouth and he swallows it. Maybe one in one million Johns have done that, and don't question me, you don't know for sure (truth score: 0.000001). Multiply the two.

Hypothetical truth score for non-fiction book about Boston Tea Party times Revolutionary War times...(n)...times World War I: 0.0000000001.

Hypothetical truth score for fiction book: John Goes to the Dentist: 0.0000000001.

Of course, the non-fiction book is more "truthful" by event, but, given a vision of eternity, neither is truthful.

Editor's note: I do not agree with this logic (truth score: 0.999991). People can't comprehend eternity (truth score: 0.999999999999...)


Blogger Jay said...

I like to say that I write "glamourized" non-fiction, because it's mostly true, but truth can always be gussied up a bit, you know?

9:48 PM  
Blogger amadea's world said...

This is far too difficult for me to understand.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe this is a theory to be published. I most certainly enjoyed the editor's note.

10:45 AM  

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