There is a poem about a blind man touching the parts of an elephant. The blind man calls the abdomen of the animal wall.
There is also this movie about that dichotomy between good and evil and the villain says: Words—words are all that matter.
Put two and two together and we are headed to that slippery character of truth most especially when we refer to the truth being vended as some kind of a testament covenanting the politicians in the home country and the unsuspecting masses.
The truth as the politician’s commodity is packaged in accord with the highest advertising and promotional standards, with endorsers no less whose only claim to leadership is either their outright dash and daring to inflict pain and suffering on our people or their being heir to power once held by their notorious elders.
We need to translate here the meaning of the politicians’ capability of demonstrating outright dash and daring: shameless, walang hiya.
There is no reassuring rhythm in this endless social drama about our affections for the play-acting leaders. The lies tell us all what we can expect in the coming days: more play-acting, more charges and counter-charges, more suits and counter-suits, more media mileage and exposure, more call for sobriety addressed to us ordinary citizens even as we are bombarded with the inanity of the national situation.
Truth in the last few days has been the handiwork of public relations specialists and spin-and-spawn doctors—they who have been paid handsome amounts to re-make the image and public persona of their clients from the barangay to the Palace by the Pasig.
Truth in the last few days has also been in accord with the words of witnesses—and defenders--from both warring camps. Thus, we have become plain consumers of what these people have seen, heard, felt, tasted—but not necessarily known with integrity.
Knowledge we can hold on to with that sense of plausibility is what should be the net-effect of seeing, hearing, feeling, touching, tasting.
But we question whether we have this kind of knowledge in the number of witnesses presented by the actors of the social drama that is unfolding before us, a social drama with a sordid and bleak and grim and ugly quality.
Many of the testimonies we got to know from those who have seen and heard some of the backroom dealings of the power holders are sordid and bleak and grim and ugly as well.
The sordidness of these testimonies is grounded on the fact that they can be recanted after some time that we do not know whether some robots or zombies or parrots have the capacity to resurrect or take possession of the lips of these unreliable and unstable wordsmiths.
They are not unreliable and unstable because they use words.
They are unreliable and unstable because they do not respect words as word-becoming-world.
These witnesses have lost sight of the primordial nature of word as language, that universal instrument that makes it possible for people to think and think again, to know his world and know himself, to test his knowledge against the falsities of other knowledge.
In the social drama that has started to unravel, we see the oppositionists guilty of the same sin of omission and commission of the ruling power.
We learn of some tactics that is not only a case of black propaganda but desperate, with so much money changing hands.
Where does the grease money come from—the money that guarantees the robotization of the human mind of the supposedly human witnesses?
Who is preparing the script for these robots and zombies to sound and appear credible?
Are these witnesses not phantoms and ghosts and non-entities lurking in the dark shadows?
Are these witnesses the handiwork of puppeteers, the strings on their hands and legs extending invisibly but with mechanical predictability to their brains, lips, mouths, eyes that when put together can say, with correct pitch, tone, and timber that they love the country so much—their love for the country more than the love they have reserved for themselves—that they are compelled to say their piece that will save their country from perdition?
There is one solution to the unreliability and instability of the logic and language—the testimony—of these witnesses. They all should be subjected to lobotomy so that they will not have the chance to recant before the highest bidder.
We can only think of the connection between money and truth-making, between economic benefits and lie-telling.
This lie-telling phenomenon ought to be copyrighted and then transformed into one of the industries of the political and economic elites. The return on investment here is certainly high—and it will assure them of their seats in the chambers and corridors of power.
Before the regime of lies was the regime of truth.
In this regime, word was covenant: you only needed to tell you piece and that seals the social contract. No one can break that—the sacred word is the only thing that can break the seal.
This is witnessing—it is living one’s word.
The witnesses that have shocked our sensibilities do not seem to live their own word.
The truth of their word is seasonal, temporal, tentative and contingent upon what the sly master has to say, the master who thinks that the salvation of the world and the country is in his hands.
Because the witnesses—bribed and paid and coaxed or not—do not know anymore the meaning of the sacred in the word, they will continue to haunt us in the coming days.
But the Filipino people now know better—in the same way they have known that it does not make sense calling another EDSA because the oppositionists say so.
It is the same sense and reason the Filipino people did not do another EDSA not because President Arroyo asked them not to.
Theirs is witnessing of the higher order; there is living the sacred word covenanting them with the truth they have in their heart. As such, the future is with them, not with the incredible witnesses of false covenants and false testaments.
Published in the Weekly Inquirer, Aug 19/05