By George Davis
The Greek word for truth is aletheia. It literally means 'unhide', or 'hiding nothing'. Since the first use of the word, men and women have expended much energy sparring over how to assert, deny or counteract truth.
Christians relate how 2,000 years ago, truth was put on trial no less than six times in a day, before being nailed to a cross in Calvary. That's what men do to the truth. They hear it, dislike it, fear it and then seek to kill it.
Men of this kind continue to believe that by killing a body, a person, they've disposed of truth. They remain dunce to the fact that truth is the same, whether spoken by the most holy man in the land or by a mouth condemned to stink by the worst kind of halitosis. They'll acknowledge and accept truth, but simultaneously seek to injure the purveyor of truth.
Everybody loves the truth. But only when the truth isn't held against them. Some demand the truth of others and about others. But Heaven help those who dare speak the truth about them.
A man with a huge nose who looks you in the eye and asks whether his nose is big isn't searching for truth. He's only after a self-serving answer.
A man will agree with you that the country isn't producing enough goods and services. He'll also join you in kicking the rump of Government, blaming it for lacking the ability to grow the economy. But that same man will hate you for telling him the truth about how the laziness of his production unit or constituents has contributed to the problems of economic stagnation and low productivity.
SOCRATES WAS RIGHT
That same man will vilify you for speaking truth and, in so doing, prove that Socrates was right all along in observing that when the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.
In this country, we are afraid of truth. We accept truth only if it's spoken by our political party, party leader, party chairman, or minister of government. We reject the same truth spoken by the other political party. And only common decency prevents us from 'hawking' and spitting in the face of the 'other' party leader, chairman or member of parliament who dares to speak a truth similar to that from our political camp.
We accept the truth of the situation that the economy is in its worst shape since Independence. We also see truth in the statement that the Government will be forced into hard decisions as it attempts to grab the economy by the frock tail and drag it from the pit. But we're already preparing to rail against any tax increases or cuts which may directly affect us, conveniently ignoring the truth that these have to be made.
SECTORS NEED TO MAKE SACRIFICES
We accept the truth that every sector will need to make a sacrifice as we try to successfully negotiate and then navigate a new deal with the International Monetary Fund. Yet we are willing to block road and 'bun tyre', if in pursuance of this truth, the Government were to dare ask us to accept a wage freeze with no attendant non-cash benefits as a cushion.
In any society where truth is only partially accepted, acknowledged or appreciated, the erosion of values sets in. Jamaica, at 50 plus years old, is like a beach, losing a little more of its area on each day of high tide. It's a nation where lies and conspiracies bring the people together only for the truth to place them in their rightful factions and watch as they fight to either erase or elevate it to the level of the greatest truth ever spoken.
It's indeed sad to note how sweet, sweet Jamaica has become a land devoid of unity behind any common truth. Is it any wonder our politicians tell us so many lies? They are simply giving us what we are used to! I've never seen a country whose economy prospers under the weight of a rejection of truth and erosion of the national, as well as citizen, values.
But all is not lost. As long as we remain alive, the truth, I'm sure, will save us.
George Davis is a journalist. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.