Finalist, 2005 Kids Philosophy Slam
Lorien Brooks, age 14
Cincinnati, Ohio

"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 be true.

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.

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