I've looked at life from both sides now,From win and lose, and still somehowIt's life's illusions I recall.I really don't know life at all.This song by Joni Mitchell perhaps sums up best what we callempathy. This song has appeared in quite a few movies and has aspecial something to it. It always manages to give me goosebumps. As with most of her songs or singers of her generation shemanages to touch common ground with a diverse group of listeners.Well enough with the music lecture what is special about this songis the carefully written lyrics. The title 'both sides is meaningful asthrows light on a deeper understanding of life and of ‘truth’. Maybetruth is too mythical a concept it would be appropriate to call ittruthfulness. Wilfred Owen once said,
"All a poet can do todayis warn. That is why the true poet must be truthful."
Owendoesn’t ask for the truth only truthfulness. The truth is oftendisputed and subjective and selective, truthfulness is honest itacknowledges the others point of view or truthfulness. Truthfulnessknows it can change over time, it knows it isn’t finite orunquestionable.Is truthfulness the same as a lie? No it isn’t. An undisputed truth iscloser in its constitution to a lie than truthfulness. A good exampleof this would be the rashomon effect.
is theeffect of thesubjectivityon recollection, by which an observers is ableto produce substantially different but equally plausible accounts of anevent. It is named afterAkira Kurosawa's film
, in which acrime witnessed by four individuals is described in four mutuallycontradictory ways. Each individual’s narrative is their own version ofthe truth.Similarly Joni Mitchell after experiencing an event isn’t certain or readyto state the truth. She rather keep her options open and allow herself tolearn and also experience the same event again. So often our beliefsare rigid and frozen with a few experiences life throws at us that werather not see things in new light. We are told to believe is good thathaving a strong conviction is good, yet if our convictions are too strongwe tend to hold onto them long after they cease to be useful.Mitchell wrote this song in 1969. Her candid uncertainty and hercourage to say she doesn’t know life at all take courage. Her courage