– Clarence Darrow
Once upon a time…in a neighborhood or village not too far away, we were just a bunch of kids. And if our memory behaves itself, it’s fairly safe to say we can all remember a time when we believed…well…everything.
Girls believed that some day their prince would come. Boys believed that some day they would save the world. And you could find a fair amount of both boys and girls hunting their closets with a bat and sticking their heads under their beds to scan for monsters. Monsters they believed existed.
But most importantly, us kids, we believed people.
We believed that what our parents, preachers and teachers told us may as well have come from the mouth of God.
Then came the day (we all have one) when someone lied to us; a neighbour, a sibling, a friend or a parent and it was not too long after, that we may have even fiddled with the art of lying ourselves. Some of us got relatively good at it, so good, that we started to believe our own lies.
I for one have never lied.
That is a lie.
And as we learned to lie, we also learned to stop trusting. Some of us tended to see more of the bad in people than the good because of it.
And if we consider ‘truth’ to be light and therefore the absence of it as darkness (falsity), then living in darkness meant that as we grew older, life got a little more scary, depressing, frustrating and lonely.
Meanwhile a chosen few tiny tots were granted the moral bounty of being taught that lying was “bad”, or “wrong”. So, instead of lying, some did something more socially accepting with that energy. They learned to exaggerate.
Everyone on this planet exaggerates.
No, no they don’t. That was an exaggeration.
Those of us that exaggerate (and many of us do) don’t necessarily realize how often we do it. We can be quite liberal and heavy-handed when we dress our sentences with words like, “love”, “hate”, “forever”, “never”, “always”, “impossible”, “incredible”, “genius” and “gorgeous”.
Then you have a select few who find the above personalities particularly annoying. They are the ones who swim against the Western cultural currant of exaggeration and take pride in making an extra-exerted effort to be “politically” correct. Try finishing a sentence in front of one of these characters without being criticised. Some might say this “politically-correct” stance carries with it an egotistical aura of, ‘Knowing it all.’ It is hypocritical, don’t you think? Considering none of us can really know it all, regardless of whether that “all” is absolute, relative, subjective or objective.
So what is truth?
Apparently this career of journalism depends on the seeking of it.
So how do you know that you know “it” (truth) in a world where there are those who lie, those who exaggerate, those who claim to herald the truth by living a standard of “political correctness”?
How do you know you know “it”, when scientific theories that we swore on and at times died for have later been proven false?
How do you know you know “it” when one man’s flawed perceptions means he views his reality much different to the man that stands right beside him?
It’s confusing, and spiritually exhausting.
We feel hopelessness when searching for the truth and it’s breeding an epidemic of contentment with falsity. Accepting without questioning what is around us is a kind of lethal laziness that often forces us humans to fall into a coma of apathy, which can be no better than partnering with injustice. This apathy leaves the doors of our minds wide open to invite lies, exaggerations and the ego of owning a monopoly on ‘correctness’ to sit beside us on a cushy couch, in front of the television set that reflects a public, that is guilty of causing it all.
So this “seeking the truth” journalist job? It just became a little trickier.
That would be an exaggeration.
But I do find it hard to believe that our prince of truth will magically appear and that we can save the world from the monsters of tyranny without putting in some hefty work into investigating. Investigating what we have been told all these years, what we think we know, and the motive behind every decision we make or action we take.
So maybe in a future not too far away, we will have no other choice but to get off this lazy couch of acceptance to investigate the truth with humility, courage and detachment from society’s ideals. Perhaps that will be the day when journalism would cease to be a job for just a few. Perhaps by then everyone would be their own journalist.
It could be the day when journalism may not necessarily mean looking outside, but digging deep from within. It will be the removal of all our attachments, cleansing ourselves of past knowledge; everything our parents, teachers, scientists, religious leaders have taught us and then finally purifying ourselves from all things related to image and ego…in the hopes of even beginning to see this “truth”. A reality that is a far cry from what we see being reflected of us in the media.
And it’s not everyday a television reporter would admit that.