Finalist, 2005 Kids Philosophy Slam
Lorien Brooks, age 14
"Truth or beauty? What is more
important in your life, truth or beauty?"
Truth or beauty? Which is more important? First of all, truth
and beauty do have some things in common. Truth and Beauty are
both subjective. Also, both truth and beauty usually have a standard,
which is a measure by which some things fall into a definition.
Another thing to consider is that truth is not always beautiful,
and what is beautiful is not necessarily true. According to Plato
and his dialogues about the three city classes, 'guardians', or
kings, should be wise. To be wise, you have to be a philosopher.
Philosophy is the pursuit of knowledge in order to come to know
truth. This, in turn, makes the guardian wise because truth is
the knowledge of all things.
What does this have to do with the argument at hand, you ask?
Well, if truth is the knowledge of all things, then beauty is
fractional knowledge, because beauty is not the knowledge of everything.
Because of this, beauty can be considered partial knowledge, because
and if something is partial then it is part of a whole. Truth
is the knowledge of everything, or of a whole, so knowledge of
beauty is part of the knowledge of truth. Knowledge is made up
of three things: truth, belief, and justification, or in other
words, knowledge is a justified true belief. Belief is epistemologically
natural - it can't be used to found other knowledge. But these
three components (truth, justification, belief) together are what
make knowledge what it is. Justification makes belief truth conducive.
Truth is important for knowledge because truth is what makes justified
belief knowledge. Without truth, you cannot have knowledge. Therefore,
truth is more important than beauty because truth is needed for
all knowledge. The knowledge of beauty is not
always true. This leads one to
draw the conclusion that beauty is a flawed type of knowledge.
Hence, truth is more important because all knowledge must
Now, pertaining to my life, truth is more important because my
life is based very much on knowledge. I rely very heavily on what
I know of the environment and the world around me. When I look
for friends, one of the main traits I look for is trustworthiness.
If two people cannot be truly honest with each other in a relationship,
and if each person is constantly deceiving the other, than true
intimacy is not possible. I would rather know if someone dislikes
me than not know where they stand. For me, that is the worst torture.
When I had depression, I was lifeless because I wasn't perfect
enough. My body wasn't perfect enough for me. No part of me was
satisfactory. I soon figured out that I was getting a distorted
self-image from many people, one that was not truthful
because their beliefs about me were not justified. This is why
I place so much importance on truth, because without it, there
is paranoia, uncertainty, and suspicion, which means you can't
trust anybody or anything. I view that as the worst type of personal
hell, because social and physical contact with other humans is
a basic need.