The Truth, the Whole Truth

A Dutch woman – a teacher of one language and a speaker of three others – said to me recently that it would be better not to know about the evils of the world. This was in response to my saying something in passing about the Islamic State.

We were sitting in a tropical garden under an intensely blue sky where it would have been easy to put all that behind us and focus only on the toucan grouching in the tallest tree we could see.

I thought for a long moment, and then it occurred to me to say, “No, it’s better to know. If we don’t know the totality of the human condition, how can we become better people?”

And, if we don’t face squarely all the truths of our humanity, how can we write honestly about who we are?

© Sandra Shaw Homer, 2015

Photo by Marten Jager

Photo by Marten Jager


About SSH

Philadelphia native and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell, Shaw Homer has lived in Costa Rica for over 30 years, where she has taught languages and worked for environmental NGOs. In addition to writing for the local press, her fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry have appeared in both print and on-line literary and travel journals, as well as on her blog, Her travel memoir, Letters from the Pacific, received excellent Kirkus and Publishers Weekly reviews. Her most recent book is Evelio’s Garden: Memoir of a Naturalist in Costa Rica. She and all her books can be found at

4 thoughts on “The Truth, the Whole Truth

  1. Qenut Amen says:

    Excellent Sandy!! We ARE everything, the Yin and the Yang. We must look it square in the face to know ourSELVES and to realize our connection with everything in the universe. Look within…

  2. Katherine Masis says:

    Carl Jung wrote quite a bit about accepting and working with our Shadow. As Jungians say, “the brighter the light, the darker the shadow.” Spiritual leaders crash loudly and disgracefully to the bottom, political leaders’ private lives are food for horrendous scandals, etc., partly because people expect so much from them, and partly because their charismatic aura is so enhanced. We common folk are no different. Two excellent Jungian authors are Robert A. Johnson, who wrote *Owning Your Own Shadow* and Erich Neumann, who wrote *Depth Psychology and a New Ethic*. Bottom line: the more hidden from view our shadows are, the more they can control us!! They’ll pop up in so many clever ways before we can catch them. Families, communities, institutions, poltical and spiritual groups can also have collective shadows. Scandals and conflicts covered by the media partly reveal this shadow-popping. So acknowledgment of our shadows is crucial to our well-being.

    • SSH says:

      Very good point, Katherine, and thanks for the references. Without an understanding of the Dark Side, how can we be free to choose?

  3. Susannanell says:

    Very nice, and Marten’s photo is amazing.

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