When young I thought I might be an idealist. I read that young people are idealists, and I was young. I looked the word up in a dictionary. It said an idealist is a person with unrealistic expectations. My heart sank.
Are my expectations unrealistic? What are they, what were they? I was unsure. I know now, now that I am old. My hope and wish is for the truth to be, to hear and see it said, done and spoken. Where? Here and now, in real life. Is that unrealistic? Will it always be?
In what sphere do I wish for the truth? In the sphere called the Earth, the world, here and now and always and in all mediums and media, through all, with all and to all. Some hope.
Skilled liars are everywhere. Look no further than what we call the news. Listen to them speak. To each other, against each other. For themselves, not for the truth. And all spoken in the guise of the truth. The truth of a lie is that it pretends to be the truth, it is false, it is not the truth.
Does the truth exist? Yes. It is rare, but everywhere at the same time. What is rare is valuable. From the lips of a child or an honest man or woman in all walks of life. To be honest is to be told you are a fool. By whom? The liars and self seekers.
The truth is not self serving. It is as the mother of a child. The truth serves others. Does the truth teller benefit from telling the truth, doing the truth, being true? The truth teller does not care. But yes, the true person has self respect. And respects others. And all things.
As we say in Ireland, it’s a hard oul’ station. And getting harder all the time. The truth is like gold dust in this world. Rare and valuable, but held in honour and esteem.
You cannot reveal the truth without revealing yourself. At junior school we were told we are vehicles for the truth. I thought I don’t know the truth. I thought the truth was something said in words. The truth is nothing if not done. Words may be lies, actions never lie.
I believe what you do, not what you say. So said an old man. I am old, I quote his words. The older I get the less I believe what people say, the more I believe what they do, to quote his exact words. And so say all of us.
You can fool some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time but not all the people all the time. This too has been said. How true.
To an artist friend I said I want to change the world. You would have to change yourself first he said. There’s many a true word spoken in jest. Must the truth exist only in aspiration, hopes and dreams? I hope not. And believe not. And know it is not so. But why so rare?
Because the truth does not serve the self and self servers are everywhere. It was all said before. There’s none so deaf as those who don’t want to hear. The poet T.S. Eliot said the truth is what is most hated. A poem is said to encapsulate a truth. Poets speak the truth to power.
You get no thanks for telling the truth, so I have heard. A greater man than I could say this more tellingly, more convincingly. But where is he? In jail, an asylum or dead? Failing his presence I speak.
I say what every fool knows. I know, and I am a fool. Who is the fool? Listen to the fool.
At school we were told listen to madmen. They say wise things. Simple people know the truth. The truth is simple and profound. And known to all. Even me. And you.
So, am I an old idealist? Old, yes. Hope springs eternal in the human breast. May idealism be realised. And hope fulfilled. And idealism realise its dream, a true world.
Of all sad words of tongue or pen the saddest are these, it might have been. Words of a poet, Robert Louis Stevenson. So let it be. As it could be, as it should be, as it might be, as it can be and would be if we had the will. Or have it.
I’ll let it go at that. Don’t say no one told you. And the joke is you know all this already. So do I. Listen to a fool. Listen to yourself. Who’s fooling who? Tell me something I don’t know, you may say.
I am a poor poet in the poverty stricken sense and probably in the other sense also. Here I speak in prose. What is prose? Anything that is not poetry.
May the truth be realised, understood and acted on. Do I make myself clear? The world badly needs it. We can agree on that.
Dare to be true. Dare to be you. And allow others to be. That’s the how, as a teacher said. Why must it be spelled out? Even a fool knows that. I descend into prose to speak these words.
It must be spelled out because ignored, hated, despised and treated as non-existent. The truth is a way of being. A way of doing. If you want to know you do know. And you are not alone.
I was born for a better world than this. So were you. Hope lives on. It never dies. I am old, but not dead yet. Hope lives on. The truth is here. It never dies.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
This may be mad but I’m glad I said it.
13th April, 2018