The truth around lies

Zamir  Ahmad

A fundamental difference between truth and falsehood, as per Georges Braque, is that truth exists and falsehood has to be invented. The times we are living in are often referred to as “the age of information”.

In this age, one could presume that the days of falsehood would be over. Given the ease with which statements of public personalities are recorded, reproduced and relayed these days, one would like to believe that lying would become difficult for those whose lives are in the public domain. But that is not the case. Falsehood is still alive and kicking. And it is thriving at places where it should have been ideally buried.

Inventing lies has now become a small enterprise as compared to manufacturing lies. Falsehood is so much intertwined with reality that it is difficult to differentiate white from black. The shades of grey are all pervasive in whatever we listen, watch or read. Truth has either become mummified or is cowering in the backyards of the rich and mighty. Not that truth has become powerless. It has not! But the mighty framework of institutionalised falsehood offers no foothold for the righteous. Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.

Manufacturing lies is no more an art. It has passed that scale. Instead it has become a highly evolved product available on demand, tailor-made for specific situations and vended in the open markets.

Gone are the days when a politician would retract his statement by saying that he was wrongly quoted. The Gigabytes of news recorded digitally everyday do not afford that luxury to the present day politicians. But that does not deter them at all from hiding the truth and feeding the public with blatant lies.

And once the truth is exposed somehow, the men in power do not even bother to present a clarification, not to speak of apologizing. The defiance is too obvious to be ignored. Day and night we are on the one hand sermonized about all things right and on the hand misled and misinformed by the same men in power. This insolence, impudence and utter disregard for the common people merits an in-depth research by social scientists. This phenomenon of taking public for granted may not be unprecedented in terms of occurrence but in terms of sheer size it surely is.

This dichotomy in conduct and character is taking a toll on our societies. Nobody is able to escape its ill effects. While as the opportunists are having a field day, the righteous are becoming either cynical or retreating deep into inaccessible intellectual confines. The young find this way of life as frustrating and stifling.

The exuberance of youth is, thus, either converted into waywardness or to radicalism. History offers an insight into such kind of situations. The French revolution is a classic example of frustration among the masses leading to political upheavals of such a magnitude that all the facades fall like a pack of cards. One of the main reasons behind that revolution was that the royal court at Versailles was seen as being isolated from, and indifferent to, the existence of the common people.

Globalisation and the resultant redundancy of physical borders is bound to create new revolutions of even larger magnitudes. That is what we are witnessing in the Arab world. The cry for change is getting louder by the day. New battle fronts are opened every day. The resonance is heard in the Indian Sub-continent as well. The divine verdict that falsehood is bound to perish may take time to fructify but it can not be deferred sine die.

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