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Should truth be given out in small doses, or should the truth—facts—be wholly available to each and every person? For how is it we actually come upon the truth of things?

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In most cases, a truth—especially a startling or upsetting truth—should be given in small doses. This is common wisdom: even when the police, for example, show up at a person's door to report a death, although the truth has to be delivered quickly in that case, their appearance at the door, their sober demeanor, and usually their prefacing statement about bad news to report will prepare the person for the startling truth they are about to receive.

Literature, one of the best vehicles for discovering truth, supports the idea of the wisdom of revealing the truth in small doses. We see the terrible effects, for instance, when Oedipus suddenly realizes the truth that he has married his mother and killed his father—he blinds himself in anguish, while his wife/mother commits suicide. A more gradual approach might have averted these tragedies.

Poet Emily Dickinson expresses the idea of gradual approach to truth when she says, "Tell the truth but tell it slant." Too much truth all at once...

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