2005 - Most Philosophical 4th grader in America:

Nandan Raghavan, Minnesota

What is truth? This is a question over which philosophers have argued for several centuries. According to the dictionary truth is "the true or actual state of the matter, conformity with fact or reality, a verified fact or proposition, the state or character of being true" It is a state of mind free of wrong. The first thing to know about truth is that it is unchangeable; it is ageless and constant. Truth does not change person to person, it is the same for all of us. In this way truth unites the world.

Truth serves a very important purpose in our lives. For example I know every morning that I go to school on a particular route. Knowing that this route is safe, is important, the safety of this route is an example for how truth plays a role in our physical environment. It is also an important part of our mental state. Following the truth keeps our minds healthy. The mind has good decisions from which it must make important ones. If we were to fill our minds with truth and lies, it would generate a lot of confusion. At a time like this the mind makes bad decisions. These bad decisions are like a burden, and the mind starts to focus on how it may carry this burden. The burden of untruth makes us very miserable and makes it very hard to live our daily lives. Only the truth can reduce or rid us of this burden.

A famous poet called John Keats said in one of his poems "Beauty is truth, truth is beauty, "--that is all Ye know on earth, and Ye need to know. Truth is indeed a form of beauty. Beauty of the face and the body changes with the changing age of the person, and may disappear in old age. A lot of people undergo plastic surgery to preserve their beauty as they grow older. Truth however is lasting beauty, that never leaves the person, unless he or she chooses to give up the truth. It is the only beauty that one needs in life.

Beauty can make the person very rich and renowned. Beautiful people are always in the press or on television, and we all like to watch them. Their fame is usually short and may not for last a lifetime. I think of the famous leader called Mahatma Gandhi, who is certainly my hero of truth. More than 50 years after his truthful struggle, he is still the hero and the greatest architect of democracy. He is an example of how the truthfulness and determination of one human being changed the lives of millions of people. While it may not have given them riches, it certainly left them with a greater wealth-the freedom to live and rule under their own country.

Truth is a great virtue that has an important place in our lives. It is no wonder that the great astronomer and philosopher Galileo said, "All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them"- and I would like to add to live by them.

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