After much discussion, debate, and research, Oxford Dictionaries have chosen ‘post-truth‘ ,as the Word of the Year 2016 – an adjective, ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. It is not just a semantic problem to ornament ‘the truth with an adjective ‘ which in fact make it an ‘oxymoron’, means the real meaning of ‘post-truth is ,’just untruth’ or plane lie .Truth can’t entertain such an oxymoron ornamentation – better word, giving the same meaning is ‘udayippu’ (ഉടായിപ്പു). I will be posting this blog to oxford dictionaries – with more details related to semantics , etymology of words etc above all coronation of ‘Post Truth’ as the word of the year 2016, is dishonest and immoral – Truth find its best expression in john 8:32 of Holy Bible “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”. Post-truth is just ‘Antonym ‘ of truth ;Untruth or lie. Magnificent myth. Or ‘Noble Lies’ (γενναῖον ψεῦδος, ‘gennaion pseudos’), which has been translated from old Greek as ‘brave false’. To understand ‘rationale’ behind the ‘Utopian Republic ‘ one has to browse through the historical back ground prevailed during Plato’s time in Greece ![around 424- 347 BCE ] . Great Principles of Democracy by Pericles(495-429 B.C.)and Democritus,of democratic Athens during her golden age (Ref:’Aristotle, Politika (Politics)and Funeral Oration’ by Pericles).Few words from ‘Funeral Oration’ by Pericles the great democrat of Athens in her glorious past ->
“Our form of government does not enter into rivalry with the institutions of others. Our government does not copy our neighbors’, but is an example to them. It is true that we are called a democracy, for the administration is in the hands of the many and not of the few. But while there exists equal justice to all and alike in their private disputes, the claim of excellence is also recognized; and when a citizen is in any way distinguished, he is preferred to the public service, not as a matter of privilege, but as the reward of merit. Neither is poverty an obstacle, but a man may benefit his country whatever the obscurity of his condition. There is no exclusiveness in our public life, and in our private business we are not suspicious of one another, nor angry with our neighbor if he does what he likes; we do not put on sour looks at him which, though harmless, are not pleasant. While we are thus unconstrained in our private business, a spirit of reverence pervades our public acts; we are prevented from doing wrong by respect for the authorities and for the laws, having a particular regard to those which are ordained for the protection of the injured as well as those unwritten laws which Ping upon the transgressor of them the reprobation of the general sentiment.”
Later this great concept of Democracy, ossified to anarchy and then, the Thirty Tyrants -trial and Magistricide of great Philosopher Socrates, recollect that Socrates was put to death by democracy!. Plato’s rhetoric and sophistry with ‘noble lies’, self appointed guardianship, advocating ‘Utopian Republic’, putting his thoughts as words of Socrates(Ref:Open .Society and its Enemies . – Karl Popper).
Great Greek tradition which produced ‘Epicureans and stoics ‘ made ‘Plato to name his ‘Utopian proposals’ as ‘noble lies’. During the present ‘Age of Unreason ‘, plain lie is getting ornamented as ‘post- truth’!. Another word in my language ‘Malayalam’ is ‘udayippu’ (ഉടായിപ്പു) which can be considered as a synonym for ‘post- truth’.
After running its course through Dark ages , ‘Age of reason’ enlightened the principles of liberté, égalité, fraternité, evolved in nearly three centuries, gradually succumbed to centralization and autocracy (Ref :Alexis de Tocqueville on French revolution “started for decentralization and ended with centralization”); slipped to Laplaceian (or Cartesian) determinism and finally to Fascism and Totalitarianism. Philosophical basis of the same has already provided by Hegel, the enlightenment counter part of Plato ‘the philosopher king’. New mutations of fascism in the name of faith and religion with nostalgic dreams of tribal past is in the making especially in Middle East and Indian subcontinent. Indian counter part of renaissance, offered a small interlude of hopes, and expectations; We have seen and continues to respect few ‘wise to be bold’ like Dr. C.V. Raman , Saha, Bose, Dr.Baba Sahib Ambedkar , Rebenadha Takkoor , Sharachandra , Nethaji , and good many from diverse disciplines! .We still remember them with gratitude and respect . Later our socio-political landscape degraded to misrule, politics of conspiracy ,dishonesty, ‘Noble lies’ ‘udayippu’ (ഉടായിപ്പു) and now ‘post-truth’. Just like ‘Wise to be bold ‘ (Sapare audi ) encapsulates the social thinking prevalent during the ‘AGE OF REASON’ , POST TRUTH rightly echoes the propensity of dishonesty during this age of ‘UN-REASON’ .
It is worth to quote Plato from his Republic’ advertising his ‘Noble lie ‘ which is just ‘the shameful the caste system’ that we are much familiar ! But ‘Manusmruthi’ introduce the same as ‘truth sacrosanct’ .
“[T]he earth, as being their mother, delivered them, and now, as if their land were their mother and their nurse, they ought to take thought for her and defend her against any attack, and regard the other citizens as their brothers and children of the self-same earth. . . While all of you, in the city, are brothers, we will say in our tale, yet god, in fashioning those of you who are fitted to hold rule, mingled gold in their generation, for which reason they are the most precious — but in the helpers, silver, and iron and brass in the farmers and other craftsmen. And, as you are all akin, though for the most part you will breed after your kinds, it may sometimes happen that a golden father would beget a silver son, and that a golden offspring would come from a silver sire, and that the rest would, in like manner, be born of one another. So that the first and chief injunction that the god lays upon the rulers is that of nothing else are they to be such careful guardians, and so intently observant as of the intermixture of these metals in the souls of their offspring, and if sons are born to them with an infusion of brass or iron they shall by no means give way to pity in their treatment of them, but shall assign to each the status due to his nature and thrust them out among the artisans or the farmers. And again, if from these there is born a son with unexpected gold or silver in his composition they shall honor such and bid them go up higher, some to the office of guardian, some to the assistanceship, alleging that there is an oracle that the city shall then be overthrown when the man of iron or brass is its guardian.” (414e–15c).
The allegory of metals is nothing less than a rationale for maintaining a caste system. Socrates(In fact Plato) suggests that if the people believed “this myth . . . [it] would have a good effect, making them more inclined to care for the state and one another” (415c–d). Thus the Noble Lie is “a contrivance for one of those falsehoods that come into being in case of need, of which we were just now talking, some noble one.” (414b–c).
In Europe ‘the philosophical frames prepared by Early Christianity has resisted the ‘noble lie’!. During enlightenment, Machiavelli again appeared with another pack of noble lies and dirty politics , (Ref: The prince or example ). Machiavellianism gradually doing its dirty tricks to mask the truth ! .Consider Indian political scenario in 1946 -India’s independence was only a matter of time. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was the president of Congress party at that time, natural choice as the first Prime Minister of independent India. Mahatmaji favoured Jawaharlal Nehru, non of the Pradesh Congress Committees(PCC) supported him, only few Congress Working committee(CWC) members favoured him. The majority support was in favour of Sardar patel and then to Acharya J B Kripalani . Coronation of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru as India’s first Prime Minister was a compromise to democracy. Mahatmaji feared ;Nehru could cause problems! if not chosen as the ‘super man ‘ of Independent India, was well aware of his relationship with Mount Batten; It marked the declining phase of Indian renaissance. It should be noted that Jawaharlal Nehru while praising ‘Chanakya’ (Kautilya/Vishnu Gupta–350–275 BCE) as the Indian- Machiavelli and commented “..bigger person in every way ,greater intelligence; humble adviser to any ruler”(Ref:’Discovery of India by Jawarlal Nehru, Page 124; Quoted words contain more meaning than given by any dictionary). Another admirer of Machiavelli ,Former US President Ronald Reagan openly admitted:- quote Reagan/
“It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.”
/unquote . As you know ‘ the first profession’ was prostitution!!.
In modern psychology, Machiavellianism just like the ‘Post truth politics’ is one of the dark triad personalities, characterized by a duplicitous interpersonal style, a cynical disregard for morality and a focus on self-interest and personal gain.Brexit , Donald Trump and Indian ‘demon-eti-zation’ are just the manifestations of ‘Post truth politics’ .