“I want the truth!”
“You can’t handle the truth!”
From the movie A Few Good Men
Truth. Everyone claims to want it. But in fact precious few do. Most people are more often than not searching to have their opinions, illusions, and deeply cherished beliefs re-enforced, rather than challenged. To hear someone speak truths that are contrary to our views is very difficult.
Part of the problem is that all of us perceive through such limited and limiting senses. As a result, truth can change sometimes, as we find new and better ways of finding things out. This is what has often resulted in explorers at the forefront of the sciences being punished for daring to speak of a truth different from what the religious leaders of the day held to be true.
Other times however, the truth has not changed one iota. But rather what has happened is that certain people have found it personally inconvenient for the real truth to be acknowledged. So they engage in that most ancient of arts, the one known as “Spin Doctoring“. Trying to convince us that what is true is a lie and what is a lie is actually the truth.
Take the current situation in Libya. One that has come about in part because of the world’s refusal for at least the past decade to do anything about that country’s dictatorial leader. And now that he has given up any pretense of restraint in his actions against the very people that he is supposed to lead, we now act as if we didn’t just months ago treat him as if he was a stellar part of the international community and always had been. To make matters even more bizarre in our attempts to back the anti Qadhafi forces now we are considering arming those in rebellion against him. To hear the news media tell it the rebels are a simple heartful people, unschooled in the ways of modern warfare. A good-natured, well-meaning, if slightly backwards bunch. Does this rhetoric sound familiar? Did they dust off the scripts used when they were trying to justify arming the Afghan people in their struggle against the Soviet Union?
The simple ugly truth is that the United States is becoming the kind of nightmare that one once thought only existed in well-meaning but overly earnest science fiction stories. A country in a state of perpetual warfare, where a narrow class of elites enjoy peace and plenty while the rest of us toil so as to permit them to continue to enjoy the standard of living to which they have become accustomed.
Once in a while someone will appear. Someone who speaks up and says the truly true things. The things that we do not want to hear. Not because they are not true, but rather precisely because they are.
And how do we thank such a person?
Do we kill him?
Oh goodness no. We have gotten ever so much smarter than that. We have learned that a big messy death, or even a seemingly quiet one, leaves too much potential risk for the deceased to become a martyr and from martyr to become an icon. So now we simply marginalize them. We ignore what they are saying to the best of our ability. And when they manage to become unignorable we ridicule them, or we claim that they are a dangerously delusional zealot. Or in some cases we simply jail them, or silence them in other ways.
But the important thing is that we are able to get them off the stage as quickly and cleanly as possible. So that we are able to return to our tiny little lives secure in the knowledge that all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.
One such person whom I wrote about earlier in the week was Joe Bageant. But another person who passed seventeen years ago now was Bill Hicks.
Bill spoke out against commercialism, and materialism, and the futility of politics as usual. He spoke of the potential locked within the human race and how to possibly unleash it. But more than speak of it he lived it. There exist no commercials of Bill hawking products, nor wacky sitcoms with him as the star. And how did we thank him for it? We ignored him. While attention was being lavished on the bland, safe, inoffesive comedy stylings of Jay Leno, Bill was left to languish. Eking out an existence, the major saving grace being his popularity in places like England, Australia, and Scotland.
Finally after an uphill struggle for recognition Bill made a fundamental mistake of being openly anti-Clinton, which further alienated people, since in the simple-minded dualities of the day there must be a bad guy and there must be a good guy, and many people had decided that Clinton was the good guy.
Finally far too early Bill died from cancer.
But now thanks to the internet and word of mouth the truth that he shared is truly finding the audience that it should have found well over a decade ago. Some might opine that it’s too little too late. But I’m hoping it will turn out to be more a case of better late than never. I’m hoping that things like the quote below will be heard and truly paid attention to. And maybe, just maybe, even acted upon.
Keep The Faith My Brothers And Sisters and Happy Bill Hicks’ Day!
“The world is like a ride at an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think that it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly coloured, and it’s very loud and it’s fun, for a while.
Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question – is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us. They say ‘Hey! Don’t worry, don’t be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride.’
And we…kill those people. Ha ha ha. ‘Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride. SHUT HIM UP! Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account and family. This just has to be real.’ It’s just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok.
But it doesn’t matter because: it’s just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings, and money. A choice, right now, between fear and love.
The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourselves off.
The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one.
Here’s what you can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defence each year, and instead spend it feeding, clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, for ever, in peace.”
William Melvin “Bill” Hicks (December 16, 1961 – February 26, 1994)
- Love All The People: Remembering Bill Hicks (trickygirl.wordpress.com)