The Thought for the Day/Robert B Parker

You don’t have much hope of getting the truth if you think you know in advance what the truth ought to be.
Robert B. Parker
Pale Kings and Princes

Robert B Parker (1932-2010) was an American mystery writer primarily known for the Spenser series of mysteries, though he wrote other things, too. We go a long way back with Spenser, though it wasn’t always easy because there was a period earlier this century when it appeared he was writing merely to fulfill a contract. Still, though, Parker offers a lesson for any writer: characters, characters, characters, because even when the stories were not very good, it was always nice visiting Spenser, Susan, Hawk and whatever consortium of friends, cops and thugs he had called in for help. Spenser books are funny and usually thoughtful, key because they are not the most technically brilliant mysteries you will ever read. Spenser takes a case, dives in, usually whining about how little he knows, people try to kill and he solves the case, a procedure that may, or may not, involve the police.  

We all have a truth we are working toward, a good life. Circumstantially, of course, that truth is different for each of us: we all grew up under varying circumstances and each of us was born with assorted and differing talents and ambitions. We are all searching for something different. It’s the way the world is built.

Intrinsically, however, our truths are the same: each of is trying to live a meaningful life, a life that, when our turn comes to die, can be looked back on with a smile and a nod because we made good use of our time on this planet. We are all searching for the same thing. It’s the way the world is built.

…if you think you know in advance what the truth ought to be.

Thinking we know what the truth ought to be is common when we are young because youth provides the benefit, or curse, of idealism and we spend a lot of time and effort trying to make the world yield to our beliefs. The years, decades, however, provide the lesson that ignorance is both common and OK because only when we truly realize how much we don’t know are we ready to truly learn.

Now, it is not easy to admit ignorance, and even more difficult to act in its clench because ignorance means the unknown and it is human nature to not like the unknown. However, our road is a long one and if we set out on it with preconceived notions about what should happen or how it should happen, we are cheating ourselves out of what could happen.

On the other hand, if we set out upon our path aware of what we don’t know, we are open to seeing and acting on what nature and circumstance put before us. When we do that, we are truly on our path.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Gaylon began stockpiling quotes in 1988.

Share Gaylon! Go!
This entry was posted in The Thought for the Day/2018. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *