Art, Truth, and Politics

art, truth, and politics

 

Harold Pinter (1930-2008) presented what, arguably, could be the most controversial Nobel Lecture upon winning his literature prize in 2005.

 

Excerpt:

 

Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture into any of this territory since the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.

As every single person here knows, the justification for the invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein possessed a highly dangerous body of weapons of mass destruction, some of which could be fired in 45 minutes, bringing about appalling devastation. We were assured that was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq had a relationship with Al Qaeda and shared responsibility for the atrocity in New York of September 11th 2001. We were assured that this was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq threatened the security of the world. We were assured it was true. It was not true.

The truth is something entirely different. The truth is to do with how the United States understands its role in the world and how it chooses to embody it.

But before I come back to the present I would like to look at the recent past, by which I mean United States foreign policy since the end of the Second World War. I believe it is obligatory upon us to subject this period to at least some kind of even limited scrutiny, which is all that time will allow here.

Everyone knows what happened in the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe during the post-war period: the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought. All this has been fully documented and verified.

But my contention here is that the US crimes in the same period have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognised as crimes at all. I believe this must be addressed and that the truth has considerable bearing on where the world stands now. Although constrained, to a certain extent, by the existence of the Soviet Union, the United States’ actions throughout the world made it clear that it had concluded it had carte blanche to do what it liked.

Dropping out: is it a wise choice?

Go to a college, work hard and play hard for three or four years, earn a degree, and get to work. Yes, that’s undeniably a normal facet in our lives, a spell-binding ‘must-do’ habitude that has long rooted in most of the societies in the last century. Either we ourselves or our parents – to a further extent, our distant relatives, uncles, aunties, grandparents, cousins, and whatsoever familial names you can make – have never ceased pursuing these goals, with all the audacity that we can afford to make great accomplishments suited for the curriculum vitae we are going to submit to these future employers.
It turns out the world is becoming increasingly uneasy for university graduates to secure a permanent job.
In a life process either before or after graduation – something that is intensely fast-paced, cut-throat, and savagely competitive, we are all demanded to secure great scores – or mention the least, good-enough remarks – to fill our resumes. We come and go by lectures after lectures. We have to learn to be independent. We have to adjust everything anew to our long-in-our-comfort-zone minds. We have to make new friends, leaving our families, or probably, childhood pals behind. And we realize maturing up is not something we have always imagined in our childhood.
There are some people who have this strong feeling about dropping out of universities or colleges: they are out of the blue startled to realize they are unhappy with the courses they are taking; that those ‘inner voices’, unceasingly coercing them to discover their ‘true passions’, or to ‘shed a new light in their real lanterns’; or that the ‘new friends’ are not thoroughly the ideal friends they are supposed to be. Then they face two similarly uneasy choices: either you proceed the studies you abhor so much no matter how well-qualified the lecturers are, or you face humiliation from your family, the discreet disappointment in the faces of your parents. That you choose not to live in accordance to what the societies demand, that everybody surrounding you thinks you are insane.
Or there are other segments of the societies who choose to cope with the entire hindrances facing them, attempting to re-adjust their mindsets, how they assume society and the reality themselves, and find themselves fully transformed, out of their Euclidean comfort zones, but with the consequences, possibly, of ‘losing their inner identities’, of getting lost in this vastless world.
Either you choose to drop-out or to carry on, remember one thing: it is, in the end, no more than Pascal’s wager. Either you win all, or you get nothing. There are myriad graduates, who, even with the curriculum vitae overwhelmed with achievements and awards, may still end up getting unemployed. There are even more myriad drop-outs who can, in their worst luck, end up homeless and need to hinge on government’s social security schemes to stay alive.
But there are also university graduates who eventually succeed in their careers and have happy families afterwards. Or drop-outs – if, and only if, you have immensely well-crafted talents like Bill Gates or Lawrence Ellison or Sergey Brin or Larry Page – who end up becoming billionaires. The truth is: either you choose to proceed to colleges or not to, it has little to do with our careers. In the end, everybody, as Stanley Kubrick once said, needs to shed light for oneself.
Two essays here present the pros and cons of dropping out from universities/colleges. Click the links to read more.