MYTHS are powerful concepts in any society; they can provide connection and affirmation around a place, a cultural identity or a common ethic. Myths have also been used to deceive the gullible and the naïve. It’s said that repeating an untruth often enough with conviction, the majority will accept it as convenient and therefore a ‘true’ truth. So anyone who tries to bust a well established myth through analysis and logic is, likely to be considered anti-establishment and in a social minority.

This seems to be the prevailing attitude of our times; the ordinary person who tries to speak their truth to Power is generally ignored. If they persist they are ridiculed and taunted; if they continue to engage there’s a chance they will face outward hostility and anger; and if they are unswerving and dogged, their truth or opinion might belatedly be listened to or even accepted. Equally likely they could find themselves dead!

As Julius Sumner Miller used to ask his audience, why is it so, as?

It would be a simple truth to reply, ‘because that’s the way it is!’. I feel that understanding the working of ego within human existence is at the crux of this. When we have been convinced or persuaded or perhaps duped into accepting a particular proposition, something happens inside us — we actually ‘own’ the idea or the thought or the creation; it’s ours and we acquire it as territory. We become comfortable with that belief, idea or concept; it suits us. Then some know-all, so-and-so comes in and tells us differently!

What does that do to us and our comfortable territorial truth or myth?

Conflict is suppressed and revolution never occurs

The majority of humans would rather have others do their big-picture thinking and analysis for them. Under our so-called democratic system of governance, we give over this community responsibility to public ‘decision makers’ and politicians. In this societal model a few hopefully trustworthy, honest, ethical individuals become our collective conscience. We, the populous, are now mere reactive feelers, consumers and workers within the governance structure. Calming, feeding and controlling become important homeostatic mechanisms to manage the reactive body corporate. As long as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs are met then this governance is hopefully sustained and evolves slowly;  conflict is suppressed & revolution never occurs. The Romans knew all about this — Panem et Circensus. Give the masses bread & circus; today it might be Money and Entertainment.

When a very important socially accepted myth is found to be a mis-truth then the vast populous is faced with an ethical dilemma.  Even if we, individually or collectively realise that we have been seriously deceived by charlatans, the ability to react is strictly controlled by the processes of politics and social order — ‘the rule of law’. But there is a tipping point when the elites don’t listen and the momentum for change is organic and strong; situations when ‘People power’ takes on Powerful people. I’m sure we can all recall some successful spontaneous popular insurrections and some unsuccessful but courageous attempts in our own life time. These actions only work when sufficient committed individuals speak out and act up and therefore embolden others to follow suit. Politicians and their minders know this empirically and they do everything possible to ensure that the great mass of followers will hesitate before following a people movement. The job of the spin propagandists employed by the powerful is to convince the collective ‘us’ — “don’t you to worry about a thing”; “life is relaxed and comfortable”. If they fail in their spin then there could be a popular revolt! The powerful people and other controlling elites use their soothsayers to tell them how the people are fairing each day. Like chameleons they can change in a flash; go into appeasement mode and can back down on an unpopular policy, war, tax or systemic corruption.

Try to bust a well entrenched myth — the world-wide war on Terror; Australia’s policy on refugees; Tasmania’s clearfelling of old-growth forests; at a global or local level and you are up against powerful people who don’t mess with the likes of you or me. Logic and fact doesn’t usually persuade or convince; but there is always an “other-powered” organic element at play that can cause these myths to suddenly implode. on themselves.

We see examples every day where a well organised and executed effort to marshal the power of public opinion seems to get nowhere, and then all of a sudden, ‘the blink’ is on and the deal is off! The pack of cards comes down as if it never existed and we all move on … just in time for the next timely public myth to be peddled by the charlatans.

Please share your experiences of the Convenient Untruths versus the Inconvenient Truths.

David Obendorf

The majority of humans would rather have others do their big-picture thinking and analysis for them. Under our so-called democratic system of governance, we give over this community responsibility to public ‘decision makers’ and politicians. In this societal model a few hopefully trustworthy, honest, ethical individuals become our collective conscience. We, the populous, are now mere reactive feelers, consumers and workers within the governance structure. Calming, feeding and controlling become important homeostatic mechanisms to manage the reactive body corporate. As long as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs are met then this governance is hopefully sustained and evolves slowly;  conflict is suppressed & revolution never occurs. The Romans knew all about this — Panem et Circensus. Give the masses bread & circus; today it might be Money & Entertainment.