The lessons of Dante Alighieri for those who would manipulate the gullibility of others for their own social/political gain | Street Jazz

Monday, October 15, 2012

The lessons of Dante Alighieri for those who would manipulate the gullibility of others for their own social/political gain

Posted By on Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 1:12 PM

In Dante Alighieri's Inferno, which is part of his epic poem Divine Comedy, Falsifiers can be found in the Ninth Circle of Hell. Like most of the other circles of Dante’s Magic Kingdom, it is a pretty horrible place.

Where most of us see Hell as a fiery torture chamber, the residents of the Ninth Circle are encased in ice. One of the special lies (as opposed to the lies which land sinners in another part of Hell) that can lead to residence here is a betrayal of the ties in your community.

Breaking the bonds of trust which bind us all together.

And what better way, quite honestly in my opinion, than to make people doubt truth itself?

I read and hear every day about how some folks want their country back from the Marxist, Muslim devil in the White House - and from the millions of their fellow Americans who not only voted for him in 2008, but still support him. I read through scads of material online, and channel surf from everything though MSNBC to FOX to Daystar to CNN, whose only real claim as a real news organization is CNN International.

It’s sort of amazing - in a frightening way - how unwilling we as a society have become to stand up to those who would lead Orcs into battle, waving the banner of a missing birth certificate, fake job numbers or contempt for teachers over their heads.

We can sit back, sneer and talk about how stupid people are who believe this sort of thing, or honestly think about it, and maybe even address it.

It’s sort of horrifying to see how many variations of the word “truth” are out there. Oh, I laugh when I hear Stephen Colbert’s definition of the truth as having a well-known “liberal bias,” but it’s the sort of laugh you bark out just before you hit the iceberg.

The truth, or facts, if you will, are what bind us together as a society, even as a planet. Sadly, they aren’t as binding as gravity; try denying gravity and jump off a cliff sometime without a parachute.

Facts, though, are different. We can deny them to our heart’s delight.

And those who would benefit from our not not believing in reality are busy all around us, engaging in rewriting facts, history, the story of who we are.

Obama is a Marxist? Sure! No birth certificate? Sure!

The Protocols of Zion? Sure thing?

The Gay Agenda? You bet!

We could have “won” the war in Vietnam. Okay, there might not have been much of a country left when we were done, and we were propping up a corrupt regime to begin with, but hey . . .

Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass of destruction! Sure - what harm could that believing that do?

Believing that Mitt Romney is responsible for the death of Osama bin Laden, as some lost souls have come to believe? Yes, some folks in Ohio seem to believe this.

The president takes orders from the army? I’m sure the Truman/MacArthur dustup would be horrifying news for these folks, if they ever bothered to crack open a history book.

People choose to be gay? Sometimes, just for fun, I ask some of these folks when they “decided” to be straight . . .

Believing any sort of revisionist history, despite the fact that you actually have books (written by real scholars) in your house that contradicts the drivel being put out?

Slavery was actually pretty good for black people?

The guys who give us the weather on TV know more about climate change than actual scientists? Ironic how often this will come from folks who complain that the forecast that was presented yesterday turned out to be wrong.

Ayn Rand and L. Ron Hubbard are good writers. Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.

Talk radio hosts have keen insights into the human condition, no matter what sort of show they have. Politics, sport, family advice - they have have all seen too little and forgotten too much.

I’m not among the number who believe that Dante had an actual vision, any more than I am among that sad number who believe our Declaration of Independence or Constitution were divinely inspired, but you could understand why those who falsify facts would end up a place with others in that circle of Hell. Those who would manipulate reality, to cause others to doubt what is true threaten to destroy the very basis of civilization.

We become a race of intellectual Elohim, each of us at the mercy of any Morlock revising reality for their own social or political purposes.

Facts aren’t always pleasant. When they aren’t, they serve as the impetus for change, for activism, for people coming together. We don’t just close our eyes and imagine that the reverse is true, and try to con as many people as possible into believing so.

And when we see that history - facts - are beings manipulated, and that those in power are twisting the truth in order to manipulate those who don’t know any better, it’s the job of everyone to contend with that, because the fate of civilization itself is at stake.


******

Northwest Arkansas Times: Looking inside for the Page One story?

There is a joke with a lot of newspapers that you have to look inside to see where the front page story is. That was certainly the case today with the Northwest Arkansas Times, which ran the story of a Bella Vista man being charged with the Saturday stabbing death of a woman.

What was on the front page that might easily have been moved to make room for this story?

When Zombie Attack
New Attractions Make Paintball More Fun at Night

Adverjournalism at its finest, NWA Times.

Then again, I have the horrible feeling this may be one of the big stories on the nightly news tonight, as well.

*****

Quote of the Day - I wonder how loud they might be in Dante’s Ninth Circle?

We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves. - Eric Hoffer


sdrake@cox.net

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