As innocent children, we all believed the world was good and clear of impurities. We trusted everyone and everything. Like English philosopher John Locke claims, each one of us was born Tabula Rasa; clean as a blank slate, letting our surroundings mold our lives as we grow and prosper. But as we grew, we started to see the world differently, in a new light. It’s disappointing though, because the new light that is shed portrays the world as a horrible, depressing place. Yet that is the truth.
This thought is also shown in Isak Dinesen’s “The Ring”. In this story, the main character Lovisa is first described as innocent and naïve. The author added that it wasn’t long since she played with dolls to hint to the reader that she is still childish. She and her husband Sigismund went to the sheepfold to see their sheep. When she leaves her husband at the sheepfold to care for some sick sheep, she decides to test his love for her by hiding away in a small alcove in the grove. There, she encounters the sheep thief her husband was talking about earlier. At first, she feels she’s in danger by this man, but after taking in her surroundings, she realizes this man must have been poor. She reasons that he must have stolen the sheep because he was desperate for food. Offering her wedding ring to him proved her reasoning, that he was not a bad guy at all and only took what he needed. Lovisa is the dynamic character of this story, she changes her view on life after this event. She realizes that life wasn’t as perfect as she originally thought it was.
Like Lovisa, we change our outlook on life as we grow up, influenced by outside impressions. Our parents tell us how the world is a dangerous place. They constantly tell us not to trust anyone; that the stranger on the opposite side of the street might not be who we think he is. We turn on the television and see breaking news, hearing about the tragic story of a family lost in a fire. We learn from stories that no one can be trusted. No matter how close you were to a person, there’s always a possibility that one day they might betray you.
We also learn that the world isn’t as carefree and happy as it used to be.
That’s why when my teacher Mr. T showed us the Latin phrase “In Vino Veritas”, meaning “In wine there is truth’, I thought it was really interesting. It tells us that people can’t be trusted, that’s just the way things are. We have to resort to other methods of exposing the truth, such as getting someone drunk. Getting someone so intoxicated that they can’t help but speak the truth, instead of willingly doing so when they are sober. And that’s just reality, believe it or not.
It’s also adds my perception on wine itself. When I usually think of wine, I think of a fancy concoction that’s drunk for celebrations, as well as an expensive beverage paired alongside elaborate meals to cleanse the palate. I also think of Dionysus, the god of wine. He is described as a god having a double nature.
“He was man’s benefactor and he was man’s destroyer.” – Mythology (60 Hamilton)
When associated with him, I see wine as both good and bad. It makes people lively and happy. It gives them strength and courage to do things that they normally wouldn’t do when they are sober. This type of freedom is described as being possessed by a supernatural feeling. However, it can also be frightening. The fact that they are possessed might led them to do things that aren’t necessarily good. It might lead them down a path to their downfall. One mistake can change their lives forever. Knowing that, I think the bond between wine and truth is quite understandable. Truth, as well, can be both good and bad. You’ll never know until you listen.