I trust that most of is have heard of, if not read the children’s book written by Carlo Collodi. This tale has even been committed to the screen by many which include that great plagiarist [sic] Walt Disney. It is the tale of a wooden doll and his quest to become a real boy. His quest does not concern us, however, but his interesting honker. His nose grows in length whenever he is under stress or he tells a lie. This was a curse by the blue fairy due to his inclination to exhibit rather brattish and spoiled traits. Ergo, whenever he makes a statement which he knows to himself to be untrue, his nose elongates.
I believe that Kind Mr Collodi must have been trying to teach those little Ninos and Ninas in Italy at the time the detriment stress of lying and that is noble… yet he was unaware that he had fed idle, agile minds like mine a paradox to ponder to madness.
As per the picture above, if you read the fine print below, when he says a lie or something he knows is untrue, the nose will grow. Now, if he says to someone “my nose will now grow”, he knows this to be untrue as noses do not grow on their own (unless you were hexed by a very powerful blue witch) so he is lying. Therefore, after the statement, his nose will grow, thereby meaning that he told the truth. This then defeats the whole Pinocchio character, because his whole gig was the lying and nose-growing.
Now, where he tells the truth, accidentally, knowing it to be a lie, has he told a lie or the truth? He must have known that the nose will grow after he lies and he wilfully lied by saying it would grow, which it did, thereby meaning he told the truth, accidentally. If one tells a lie from his heart, that eventually turns out to be the truth, is it a lie or the truth?
Picture this poser: A friend walks up to me telling me that he thinks he murdered his wife, because he woke up after a night of binge drinking and found her in his bed covered in blood and a knife in his hand. Acting as a good friend, I help him dispose of all evidence and call the police, trying to pin the crime on the creepy janitor. In the course of investigation, one smart ass police officer discovers the cover up plot and in so doing, professionally finds evidence that the janitor was the culprit all along. Now, the question is this: did we lie to the police, or did we just tell a delayed truth?
So, if the wooden toy’s nose can grow from a delayed truth, then that means that pending when the statement is verified (by a series of controlled circumstances), it is not a lie, but simply a delayed truth… or isn’t it?
I do not really think that Mr Collodi thought of this groundbreaking philosophy while he was hammering and chiselling our beloved boy into shape, but we are sure glad he formed such an insightful character that has opened our eyes to “delayed truths”.
Thank you for reading.