Escaping the tyranny of our truths

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  • While knowing that it is easy for us to be fooled by truths more than lies

We are the preachers of truth. We teach our children to tell the truth. We expect our friends to be truthful. We believe certain maxims to be truth incarnate. We are willing to give our lives in the service of truth. We do all of the above as a mere lip service.

We do everything we can in the service of truth. We even tell it, when it serves the greater good of our cause. What we don’t do, neither plan to do, is to live the truth. Our age went beyond the binaries of truths and lies. Now, we have entered a post-truth age. The question is not whether something is factual or not. The question is whether what is said; be it an axiomatic truth or a blatant lie, is believed by the masses or not.

We are easily bored and prone to experience deadly ennui in the monotony of our everyday lives.

We need constant excitement, constant stimulus, and constant thrill. Scandal, sex, and scams sell because they break through the dullness of our lives. Whether they are true or not, we don’t care. The context in which a thing unfolded, we don’t care much. The background of and ongoing event is the least of our concerns. From getting bored of governments within a year to enjoying the fall of the once mighty, we relish in everything and anything which provides us a vent to let out our repressed frustrations, unaddressed anxieties and deeply-rooted fears. Of late, we’ve been alive and kicking and beating the war drums and celebrating and preparing to send another master to the gallows.

Our dilemma is that both our big lie and big truth demands us to know our boundaries and remain within them. We all are Orwell’s Winston Smith, some being taught the lesson, some about to learn the lesson, some spared because they have to teach a lesson to those who need to learn the lesson

There is an exclusive group of individuals from various influential institutions in the country that somewhat dictates what is the truth. This collection of people is often generally referred to as the ‘establishment’.

Escaping the tyranny of truth is easier said than done. Let us do a little thought experiment and ask ourselves. What is our big lie? Also, what is our big truth? We know what a big lie is. A big lie is a lie that is so mighty that everything else dwarfs in comparison. So, our big lie is not to question the ‘why’ behind certain happenings, certain phenomenon, certain accidents, certain mishaps. Our big truth is that a group of people believe they know what is best for the rest of us.

Our dilemma is that both our big lie and big truth demands us to know our boundaries and remain within them. We all are Orwell’s Winston Smith, some being taught the lesson, some about to learn the lesson, some spared because they have to teach a lesson to those who need to learn the lesson.

The tyranny of truth and the urge to escape from it allows for the same script to unfurl. Our fathers were lulled, by the one who hung a certain Zulfiqar Bhutto, with economic prosperity and abundance in their younger days. The price was silence and docility. They remained meek and mum. What they actually got is what we presently have: a precarious society and a state that no other state finds trustworthy. Beware of the one who snatches what you have on the prospect of what you will get once you part with it.

And as we struggle in life in a cramped place where food is getting scarce for many, for others misery is abound. As I have written before in these pages that in our age politics, once a serious, solemn business, has become entertainment. Entertainment, once a sideshow, has snatched the limelight and dances wherever it roams. Philosophy, once the domain of the genius and learned, is relegated to the fringes where it is both barren and inconsequential. Science, that once held the promise of emancipation from all woes, is playing second fiddle to technology. Religion, once the source of solace and satisfaction, is held hostage by charlatans and bigots.

We have, dear folks, after centuries of servitude to truth, facts and gospels are now able to break free of them. Locked in our echo chambers, floating amidst like-minded people, demonising those who are different, and smug in our own understanding of everything under the sun; we need to escape from the tyranny of our truths. And embark on a journey to understand the world and the universe from the lenses of those who hold different views and beliefs.