Sometimes truth seems dead. Liars dress their lies attractively, deceptively, to fool us. Erroneous claims clamor for acceptance. Society screams injustices we can’t seem to fix.
But as intelligent beings, blessed with the ability to think clearly and critically, we are capable of discernment. If we are diligent in demanding truth of ourselves–in our behavior towards others, in our government, organizations, workplaces, churches, families, friendships, entertainment–we will defy all forms of dishonesty, inanity, preposterousness or squirrelly conduct. In other words, truth will not drown in deceit if we obligate ourselves to defending it, upholding it, working for it, exemplifying it.
Recently I’ve read about women starved, beaten, killed in WW II concentration/death camps. And about Native Americans lied to, cheated out of land, food, their religion and massacred. I am aware of the Iraq War that started under false premise ending badly with loss of lives and trust. I’ve followed Russia’s foolish on-going propaganda about its invasion of Ukraine. I watched the senseless attack on the U.S. capital January 6th, where police doing their job to protect our nation, were bludgeoned by irrational idiots ready to hang our Vice President and stop normal democratic election procedure. I viewed footage of men at traffic stops murdered by cruel police tactics justified as acceptable practices. I hear hatred spouted toward race, religion, or sex in absence of facts. Hate always starts when people believe lies. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
When I was 23, disturbed by events at the time–inequities in society, Vietnam, President Kennedy’s assassination to name a few– I sat down and wrote words I felt compelled to write after reading Henry Drummond’s little book, The Greatest Thing in the World. Turns out the greatest thing is love. Not a surprise to me today, but then it seemed revolutionary, for it suggested we could actually change things for the better through love. One simple little word lived could alter everything.
Yes, it was 1967. Hippies were abundant. But that was not my set of friends. I was far too straightlaced then for such a group. Their kind of love was not what Drummond was describing. Nor did his little book seem too religious or goody-two-shoes to be readily accepted throughout the world–if only everyone knew about it–never mind he wrote it in 1890! It simply seemed to be truth. Truth, I thought, few had really tried. So I wrote down my thoughts to enlighten the world, writing as “everyman,” wanting to meet folks where they were. Then I drove to the local newspaper where, without my normal shyness, I asked to speak to the editor. Afterall, truth had to be published! This was before personal computers–no easy email could be zipped off to some local columnist. I smile as I write about this today–what innocence, what audacity! I was only a second-year public school art teacher. I wasn’t a writer. But this Scotsman’s book was telling truth that gripped me, caused me to write about a truth I thought ought to be news shouted from rooftops in 1967.
The senior editor invited me into his office, looked at my article, What Is the Greatest Thing in the World?, asked me why I thought it should be published. We had a thoughtful chat. He had the paper’s photographer take my picture to accompany my article and published it within a week–8 tall columns with full-page headline. Letters to the editor followed as well as a couple of personal letters to me. Apparently, many lovers of truth were out there. I hope there are many more today.
Truth has the right to triumph at our hands. Moreover, it is, eventually, inevitable.
Artwork: Eventual Triumph of Inevitable Truth, oil and mixed media, 30″ x 30″ $1,200. Just finished this month, I love this piece–the abstract shapes and explosive energy suit truth; and if you hunt for them, there are words spelling out truth’s eventual triumph over evil.