Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Try the ultimate personal truth test

IT has to be admitted that the human quality of truthfulness was a casualty last week and entered rehabilitation for an indefinite period.

Truth has been under severe stress in the modern era when men and women of many hues seek to fill the gap in their lives with the lust for the commodity called power.

All this is happening when lockdown demands the highest integrity of truth for all communities across the world.

We, the people, are perplexed while we wrestle with a number of new definitions of a spectrum of lying, such as spin, fake news, post-truth and alternative facts.

All are the most ingenious euphemisms for lies.

In a bygone age, we may have called such lies “porkies” and, with our typical British phlegm and humour, would have passed off explanations of faults or cover-ups in organisations, whether in business or government, as cock-ups.

Not so, it would appear, in more recent years with the increasingly appreciated conspiracy theories for local and world events.

Churchill’s warning thoughts on the above were well documented by: “A lie travels half way round the world before the truth has got its pants on.”

How perceptive but today the lie travels at many times the Second World War’s speed through social media.

Across the pond, a distorting president promotes conspiracy theories without apparent responsibility or awareness of their impact on American communities.

Such theories are in tandem with personal attacks on any person deviating from sycophantic worship or adherence to his party line.

The American media continuously fact-checks the president while the Washington Post gives his erroneous statements the Pinocchio test to score his untruths and educate the American public.

With apologies to Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953) who today might have written his Matilda verses:

Donald told such dreadful lies
It made one gasp and stretched one’s eyes
The public, who from their earliest youth

Had kept a strict regard for truth

Attempted to believe their Donald

But the effort very nearly killed them!

But do not believe that Donald Trump has not come across the Atlantic and contaminated our way of life; beware of UK copycats.

An overriding concern on the erosion of human values of truthfulness has to be how this “social lying” contaminates the individual.

We as a society have always placed a high value on the honour and integrity of the individual and especially at this time of remembrance, when we honour those who gave their tomorrows for our today. Long may that

At what point does the little white lie become a regular part of a person’s character and then extends into the bigger criminal lie? All can happen without the individual being totally aware.

In the darkened room at home can one truly come out and be truthful to oneself? Or does the self-deception continue from material life into spiritual life?

I trust this is why Joe Biden developed a slogan of “Restore the soul of America” and, by extension, the individual American.

If one is a Christian, then God is truth. A fundamental tenet of Christianity is belief in life after death when we shall reside in God’s house.

On our death bed shall we all believe this to be true? No lies, no alternative after-life, no spinning self-delusion — this is the ultimate personal truth test.

As Shakespeare’s Hamlet says:

This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Farewell: my blessing season this in thee.

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