I was first introduced to the purity of Truth that can be found in paradox through my training as an English major in college. And I remember when it all began. It was a day we were discussing a Toni Morrison novel and the professor had run us through a gauntlet of questions. Humanities classes at Chicago are all taught seminar-style but they are far from a simple "what do you think?" reflection time. The unspoken assumption was that you had better have something profound to say if you raised your hand, and that it should connect with a building path of ideas which the professor guided us along. I was just a freshman and taking an upper level class so I mostly kept quiet as I listened to the 3rd and 4th years dig deeply into the literature we were working hard to read.
At the end of the session our brains were beat, but our discussion was now focusing in on the final page of the novel. I can't remember exactly what the ending was, but I remember it was one of those endings that flipped the world upside down as it twisted a knife in your heart. The best kind of ending. It was hard to build just one path of ideas because the end was so deep and confusing. So much was happening. The professor was really getting us going though and he asked the big open-ended, what-it-all-meant, questions. Students began pouring in their ideas. It was love. It was hate. It was self-loathing. It was forgiveness. It was this and that. And I remember thinking as all the ideas were coming in, "What's he gonna say? Where are we landing on this one?" This wasn't a professor who normally deferred to student opinion for the sake of equality. He'd tell you what he thought and it was usually better than what you were thinking. So I was dying to know what he'd say.
And what he said - after all these conflicting ideas poured in - was, "Yes. All of that. Yes."
That's all he said. And we got it. Then he dismissed the class into the cool of the evening. And I have never been able to look at literature - or the world - in the same way since.