“and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
– John 8:32
The stories we tell ourselves determine who we become so we have to be careful not to tell ourselves lies.
In the stories we have been telling ourselves lately, values like generosity and humility are sacrificed on the alter of the disease that the powerful call “winning.” Honesty and decency, two of the pillars of society, are devalued by choice when one of America’s two major political parties has turned their back on these values by elevating a man to whom they are anathema. Such choices have consequences. What was born as the party of Honest Abe is now dying as the party of Dishonest Donald. Because we have a president who is an unapologetic liar, and a party that has tied itself to his sinking ship, the future is up to those of us who still believe the truth matters. We have wallowed in our own filth long enough, acting more like slaves than free people.
They keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you’re so clever and classless and free
But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see
– John Lennon
Lies are not the only things that obscure a clear view of the truth. Drugs and disease can do it, so can fear and hate, and all forms of prejudice and preconception. Even otherwise-positive qualities like tradition and love can blind us to evolving truths.
With the eyes of a child
You must come out and see
That your world’s spinning ’round
And through life you will be
A small part of a hope
Of a love that exists
In the eyes of a child you will see
– John Lodge
We are not machines. For us, a completely objective evaluation of facts is not possible. A lifetime of experiences colors all of our perceptions. Our memories are recalled through our current state of mind. Any opportunity we have to take a fresh look at our perceptions is a gift that we should appreciate.
This turning of the page, the fresh calendar that greets us this morning, with the year 2020 at the top of every page, gives us a unique chance to write something true in the box of each day, to disregard the easy lies being fed us by the worst people in our world, and concentrate on the difficult truths, before we are swept away under the harsh sentence of history.
A new year, a new decade, a new chance to reverse the obvious errors of the early years of this new century and new millennium. Here’s hoping for a greater clarity in our vision this year, for telling ourselves better stories, stories of hope and humility, of generosity and justice. And for a clear-eyed, unblinking view of reality going forward.