I watched a TV show that debunks the claims of various historical legends. The host took great delight in pointing out that one of my boyhood heroes, Davy Crockett, didn’t actually die swinging his favorite musket ‘Ole Bess’ in the Alamo.
I grumbled. It seems that our scientifically oriented world continues to enjoy its own delusion that facts define reality. In so doing, it arrogantly shrinks life into that which is measurable, testable, and/or accessible by sensory experience or ‘knowledge.’
So what, you ask?
Well, reality includes facts, to be sure, but it also includes whole categories of immeasurable, untestable, inaccessible other truths. Beauty, poetry, metaphor, intuition and mystery are realities that confound scientific explanation. Limiting reality to factuality costs us the liberty to imagine, and with that comes the loss of possibilities, the joy of the story, the wonder of a painting, the rapture of a song…and much more. Enjoying the freedom to embrace realities beyond the ‘knowable’ is the invitation to be human; stretching beyond literalism brings life.
It may be a fact that Davy Crockett died a plain battlefield death, but the INSPIRATION fueled by imagining he and Ole Bess going down together remains a very real thing…at least to those of us who are still little boys at heart.