The Truth Behind the Veil of Facts

By Ortega y Gasset, Jose | UNESCO Courier, May-June 1986 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

The Truth Behind the Veil of Facts


Ortega y Gasset, Jose, UNESCO Courier


The truth behind the veil of facts

FOR centuries the sidereal facts of this world were set clear before the eyes of humans; yet what those facts meant, what they presented to man, what they made evident to him, was by no means a reality, but quite the opposite--an enigma, a profound secret, a problem before which man trembled in terror.

Facts, then, come to be like the figures in hieroglyphic writing. Have you ever noted the paradoxical character of such figures? There they are, holding up their clean profiles to us so ostentatiously; but that very appearance of clarity is there for the purpose of presenting us with an enigma, of producing in us not clarity, but confusion. The hieroglyphic figure says to us: "You see me clearly? Good--now what you see of me is not my true being. I am here to warn you that I am not my own essential reality. My reality, my meaning, lies behind me and is hidden by me. In order to arrive at it, you must not fix your attention on me, nor take me for reality; on the contrary, you will have to interpret me, and this means that in order to arrive at the true and inward meaning of this hieroglyph, you must search for something very different from the aspect which its figures offer.'

Science is the interpretation of facts. By themselves, facts do not give us reality; on the contrary, they hide it, which is to say that they present us with the problem of reality. If there were no facts, there would be no problem, there would be no enigma, there would be nothing hidden which it is necessary to dehide, to dis-cover.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

The Truth Behind the Veil of Facts
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?