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Tonight I christened the new laptop by watching a movie on Amazon Prime, Big Fish. A really interesting movie that frustrates me as a philosopher because it seems to toy at some really interesting epistemological questions about the nature of truth. There's some competing definitions of what it means to be true, and only one of those is the common "describes the kosmos/external world as it actually is" definition a lot of people have for truth today. And I think it was on the cusp of something rather profound, without addressing it explicitly. So it felt muddled to me where it idn'thave to be, at that level.

(Still a beautiful, moving film, though.)

Thinking about all that, I was really struck by a connection I want to think more about: that southerners are both famous for being great storytellers and also more religious than a lot of Americans. I grew up surrounded by sories, some of them true in the sense of this-person-did-this-thing-on-this-day sense, and some of them which were only true in another sense. I'd hardly call them lies because no one took them to be literally true - that would have been to misunderstand what the story was about. It wasn't history, it was legend and rt and communicating values. It's kind of like when you're five years old and you think there's a fat man who lives at the North Pole and makes gifts and then flies round the whole world in one night. And then you get a bit older and you realize that what you thought was a literal description ... isn't a lie, precisely, but it's a truth of a very different kind than what you were led to believe. Or... something.

The thought is that a lot of southerners are more religious in prt because we're more used to thinking about truth as something other than descriptions of ho things are, the true-or-false of the scientific process. Story and art sort of requires that, because story is never going to be true in that sense, but I think great stories can somehow have a truth of their own. And religion, for me, at least the kind of religion I learned to practice in the south, is all about narrative.

Or maybe not. Southerners also tend to be fundamentalists, ones that are committed to theologica truth operating as a kind of scientific claim. And I'm not sure what to do about th, honestly.

I'd be interested, though, what other people make of this idea. Do you see nany connection between being open to a kind of spirituality that reaches beyond the literal, and being surrounded by good stories? ("No" is a perfectly acceptble answer.)   

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