Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Stepping Toward Truth

After my post of yesterday I settled in for some Proust reading and came upon a passage that could not have been more timely:

If my parents had allowed me, when I was reading a book, to go visit the region described, I would have believed I was taking an invaluable step forward in the conquest of truth.
This passage comes toward the end of a long meditation on reading of which I am still teasing out the ideas Proust sets forth and which I hope to be able to put together some coherent thoughts on soon. But back to the passage. The narrator thinks that he would be taking a step toward truth because he would be taking a step from an inner world to an outer one. When we step into the outer world, we create experiences, the book is no longer in our intellect only. And of course, from experience we make associations and connections and memories which deepen the experience both of living and of reading and reveals to us truths about ourselves and the world. I can't say that my forays into Turkish delight and madeleines would qualify as steps forward in the conquest of truth, but they are memories that I will always associate with the reading of the books they belong to. And you bet your biffy I am going to make it a point when I get an opportunity to travel to read books that describe the region I'm visiting. One thing I do know for sure, Proust is permeating my life right now. It is kind of creepy but in a fun way. I can't wait to see where he turns up next.