When My People Personalise the Truth
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. – WB Yeats
I always felt William Yeats and Chinua Achebe were discussing how people desecrate the truth. And its consequences in the writing and interpretation, of this opening of the poem Second Coming. I also think I know why Achebe adopted it. He had a message for his people, “society is just as good as its collective approach to truth.”
One would assume that any member of the intellectual elite or the public in any society would know what they are discussing. Or that, 2 + 2 = 4. And we should acknowledge that they always do. However, the intellectuals among my people would only accept 2 + 2 = 4, if there is a material or psychological benefit to themselves for doing so. I witness this happen daily by innumerable different “brains” or “ordinary folk”. Well, it might be the case that the truth is not just bitter for my people; all inconvenient truths are to them are bitter.
Personalising truth is quite a colossal task and one filled with assiduous waste. At least in the long run. The short-run benefits are temporary. It requires practitioners to run intricate snares, ropes, faux commitments of deception tight around themselves. Traps which they cannot free themselves from when those frequent moments of reckoning emerge before them.
To “restore” themselves as “objective” they create new persuasions that bind them into ever more profound levels of mental imprisonment and folly. So often, all that remains in the spirit and soul of such people is wit, frustration, anger, and desperate deception. Lashing out becomes necessary as their frustration rises. Depression, too, may set it. Alcohol helps as well.
Enter the world of “self-deception as an objective!” The practitioner of deception especially as the primary 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 truth so much because it would expose. Such causes them psychic pain and they hate the loss of dignity and mistrust it brings. Others realise they are ingenious but overstretched or mix-and-match deceptions.
The real liar does not bother with desecrating the truth for the reason of convenience or profit. They replace truth with falsehoods. The real liar, unless pathological, knows we will catch his lies out one day and prepare in advance. Many leave town at the right time. Those intellectual practitioners who are fraudulent when they personalise truth make no such preparations. They get caught out always then burden themselves with unrelenting desperation to look and sound objective. It is not a comfortable situation. Those who know them well are ever ready for them.
If the 4 produced by 2 + 2 means something specific that is inconvenient to a person, 2 + 2 = 4 becomes their dedicated object of assault. For example, it is replacing the 4 produced by 2 + 2 with 1.95 + 1.95 = 3.9 or 2.05 + 2.05 = 4.1. The simple reason for this shifting manipulation is that since what 4 means 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 relevant again. In fact, 2 + 2 = 5, then becomes a desirable truth.
Taking the 2 + 2 = 4 issue further, if the person is not happy with the (+) operator, he or she dismisses the operations of addition. Among my people, like all other people, addition and multiplication in their favour are the most desirable of things yet, in this case of, 2 + 2 = 4, which they dislike, addition is not worth its existence. Diversionary questions they resort to save face but it never works. Logic and facts audit themselves.
Nonetheless, If the personalisation of objective truth can assault the 2 + 2 = 4 as arithmetic or Platonic truth by the intellectual elite of my people, what fate would be far more intricate or even tricky to approach truths to 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 yard of material to sew a skirt or pair of shorts. I trust my people can also personalise such an immutable but straightforward truth. And it is not as if these people in know the arts of magic which they can perform at will. They can be irritating time-wasters. Most people cannot stand them.
Nevertheless, when my people are habitual and constant in personalising truth, they do other things as well. They personalise justice, fairness, integrity, discipline, charity, goodness, industry, authority, power, service, equity, rights, outcomes etc. Hidden is the desire 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 more benign and popular.
When my people personalise the truth, and you catch them out, they become dangerous.