“So that is what you believe.”

“What do you mean?” Aomame asked.

“That truth is strictly something observable and provable.”

Aomame pursed her lips slightly. “I’m not saying it is true for all truths, just that it happens to be the case in my professional field. Of course, if it were true in all fields, things in general would be a lot easier to grasp.”

“Not at all,” said the man.

“Why is that?”

“Most people are not looking for provable truths. As you said, truth is often accompanied by intense pain, and almost no one is looking for painful truths. What people need is beautiful, comforting stories that make them feel as if their lives have some meaning. Which is where religion comes from.”

The man turned his neck several times before continuing.

“If a certain belief – call it ‘Belief A’ – makes the life of that man or this woman appear to be something of deep meaning, then for them Belief A is the truth. If Belief B makes their lives appear to be powerless and puny, then Belief B turns out to be a falsehood. The distinction is quite clear. If someone insists that Belief B is the truth, people  will probably hate him, ignore him, or, in some cases, attack him. It means nothing to them that Belief B might be logical or provable.”

– 1Q84, Book 2, page 441

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