The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, is a phrase that is part of the fabric of our society.
We understand what it means and why it is so important to our idea of justice and yet we tamper with its simple meaning and treat it with utter contempt every day.
No day would be complete without every one of us straying from the truth in one form or another with either some fabrication as to where that report is for your boss or how long the queue was in the supermarket.
“Little white lies” or an “exaggeration” is how we justify it. They don’t really hurt anyone and consequently aren’t strictly lies are they? They’re the grease that lubricates the wheels of society and allows us to a rub along without constantly being in a state of conflict with those around us.
For example: “Do you like my new hairdo” is unlikely to elicit the response from the hapless partner, “Nope, it doesn’t suit you”.
This may be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth but is likely to result in several nights on the sofa and hard cheese for supper and so, in the interests of harmony and personal comfort, you lie through your teeth.
So, it seems that a very good reason for not telling the truth is self-preservation.
When push comes to shove most of us will gauge the situation, assess our options and adopt the path that will lead to the best outcome for us or our family or maybe our political party.
I love our letters page. This is always the page I turn to first and my chance to see what others are writing and thinking this week.
It amazes me how often I see a ‘new’ name in the columns after a particular article has provoked someone into expressing appreciation or outrage and there are the regular ‘one trick ponies’ who use the pages as a golden opportunity to relentlessly spout a particular doctrine or decry a particularly determined interest group on a town council.
All life is here but my guess is over the next four months we are going to be battered by increasingly desperate letters from those with an interest or even vested interests in either currying favour with voters or attacking political enemies.
Already the pace is hotting up and the tetchy tone surrounding the ‘“ping-pong” of letters from contributors with an axe to grind has been cranked up to “level 2” with an excellent sliver of vitriol (well, now I think of it, can you have slivers of vitriol?) from a contributor who would relish the demise of our ‘“cynical, mean-spirited coalition next May”.
Already I can imagine the mythical “truth police” sucking their teeth and asking themselves, “is this current coalition TRULY cynical and mean-spirited” or is this spikey comment merely misinformed opinion?
All I do know is it’s going to be a rough trip and hopefully truth won’t get lost on the road!
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