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Seeking Truth in a Country of Lies is a selection of essays. They reveal what stirs author Ed Curtin’s heart, his mind, and his path toward clarity. With each chapter he passionately reflects on the state of his country and what matters most to him. It is a compelling read.
The epigraph at the beginning of Seeking Truth in a Country of Lies, “In a dark time, the eye begins to see,” comes from Theodore Roethke’s poem “In A Dark Time”. Here the poet describes a state of disorientation and dislocation of identity. Roethke asserts this is essential to achieve clarity, insight and wisdom. In a dark time, one discovers the fragmented and broken state of things. With this fitting epigraph, Ed Curtin proceeds to alert his readers to the fragmented and broken state of things in America, and the task of its citizenry to begin to see more clearly.
The topics Curtin, a former professor at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, takes up are not original to him. But they are marked with his own articulate original stamp. One aspect of his novel contribution is that Curtin steps beyond standard frameworks of political analyses.
Three themes have permeated his attention from a young age: truth, death and freedom. He cites an excerpt from an interview with the poet Kenneth Rexroth who told journalist Lawrence Lipton in 1959 “Since all society is organized in the interest of exploiting classes and since if men knew this they would cease to work and society would fall apart, it has always been necessary, at least since the urban revolutions, for societies to be governed ideologically by a system of fraud.” Rexroth referred to this system of fraud as the “social lie.” And in Seeking Truth in a Country of Lies, Curtin takes on the task of describing the roots of the fraud, and its’ more recent manifestations. He also takes time to point out, despite the burdens’ society grapples with in an age of deceit, that beauty, art, love, and whimsy are among the qualities that persist as signs of grace.