Turning and turning in the widening gyre;
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world… – W B Yeats
I have always felt that William Yeats and Chinua Achebe were talking about the desecration of the truth by mankind and its consequences in the writing and interpretation, respectively, of this opening of the poem Second Coming. I also think I know why Achebe adopted it. He had a message for his people – ”a society is just as good as its collective approach to objective truth.”
One would assume that any member of the intellectual elite or the general public in any society would know that, 2 + 2 = 4. And we should acknowledge that they certainly do. However, the intellectual elite of my people, especially, would only accept, 2 + 2 = 4, if there is a (mostly) material or psychological benefit to themselves for doing so. I witness this happen on a daily basis done by innumerable different “brains” or “ordinary folk”. Well, it might be the case that the truth is not just bitter for my people, all truths that are inconvenient are to them are bitter.
Personalising objective truth is quite a colossal task and one filled with assiduous waste at least in the long run. The short run benefits are at best very temporary. It requires practitioners to run intricate snares, ropes, faux commitments of deception tightly around themselves which they cannot free themselves from when those frequents moments of reckoning emerge before them. To “restore” themselves as “objective” they simply create new persuasions that bind them into ever deeper levels of mental imprisonment and folly. Very often all that is left in the spirit and soul of such people is wit, frustration, anger and desperate deception.
Enter into the world of “deception as objective!” The practitioner of deception as objective especially as main mode of communication and persuasion is never a happy man or woman. Such people spend more time persuading themselves with little success than on others; one should wonder how successful they are at such and why? They come to fear any kind of truth terribly because it would expose them internally causing them psychic pain and they hate the loss of dignity and mistrust it brings them when others realise their ingenious but overstretched or mix-and-match deceptions.
The true liar does not really bother with desecrating the truth for the reason of convenience or profit, they simply replace truth with falsehoods. The true liar, unless pathological, knows his lies will be caught out one day and prepare in advance; many simply “leave town”. Those practitioners who fraudulently personalise truth make no such preparations and are forced to burden themselves with ever increasing unrelenting desperation to look and sound objective. It is not easy.
If the 4 produced by 2 + 2 means something specific that is inconvenient to a person at that time 2 + 2 = 4 becomes their dedicated object of assault. For example, the 4 produced by 2 + 2 is immediately replaced with 1.95 + 1.95 = 3.9 or 2.05 + 2.05 = 4.1. The simple reason for this shifting manipulation is that since meaning of 4 is inconvenient to them but the meanings of 3.9 or 4.1 are not, they become the new focus of their truth. At that same moment if you owe that same person £4000 but pay her £3900, 2 + 2 = 4, becomes instantaneously relevant again. In fact, 2 + 2 = 5, then becomes a very desirable truth.
Taking the 2 + 2 = 4 issue further, if the person is not happy with the (+) operator he or she simply dismisses the ‘operation of addition’. Among my people like all other people, addition and multiplication in their favour is the most desirable of things yet, in this case of, 2 + 2 = 4, which they do not like, addition is not worth its existence.
If the 2 + 2 = 4 as an arithmetic or Platonic truth can be savagely assaulted by the personalisation of objective truth by the intellectual elite of my people, what fate would far more intricate, highly complex or even difficult to approach truths suffer at their hands? Opportunity cost means you cannot eat your cake and have it. If you use a yard of cloth to sew a pillow you cannot use that same of cloth to sew a skirt or pair of shorts. I trust my people can also personalise such a simple but immutable truth. And it is not as if these people are versed in the arts of magic which they can perform at will.
Nevertheless, when my people (habitually and constantly) personalise truth they personalise justice, fairness, integrity, discipline, charity, goodness, industry, authority, power, service, equity, rights, outcomes etc. with the switch of full acceptance or desecration on their minds depending on the benefits of doing so. It has to be one way or the other and desecration of the truth is so much more popular.