2005 — Most Philosophical 7th Grader in America:

Erik Johnson, Minnesota

Truth or beauty: which is more important in my life?

Because my parents have always told me to be honest, my first response to this question would be that truth is more important. However, I realize that the truth is often NOT beautiful and is often depressing, as in the case with the rapidly increasing population, global warming, etc. so I would say that Beauty is more important in my life than Truth.

Beauty is hard to define, but for me it is usually in nature. A waterfall, the ocean, a lake, the rain, the moon, a beach: things like these usually give me a sense of peace and are what I consider beautiful. They inspire me and fill me with a sense of awe.

But these same items, when looked at from "Truth's" perspective are almost meaningless (cold, lifeless, etc.). Consider the truth of a waterfall: a transparent, odorless, tasteless liquid, a compound of hydrogen and oxygen, H2O, freezing at 32 degrees F or 0 degrees C and boiling at 212 degrees F or 100 degrees C tumbling over a large mass of a vertical hard substance formed of mineral matter into a pool filled with the same liquid. It doesn't have much appeal. But when we look at it in a different way - cool, clear water cascading over a cliff into a large clear pond that flows into a small stream that throws up a fresh smelling light mist of water that moistens and turns everything surrounding it green - it turns into a thing a beauty.

The world is filled with cold, hard facts and after a day of reading, discussing, memorizing and being tested on the Truth, I need some Beauty in my life to keep my spirits up and inspire me to make the Truth more tolerable.

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