A paroxysm of bewilderment

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Dr Velon John

By Dr Velon John

Indeed, I was overwhelmed by a paroxysm of bewilderment when I heard these three utterances by the prime minister in very recent times.

They were:

  1. We (Homo Sapiens) have to co-exist with COVID-19.
  2. Colonialism has a conscience.
  3. The truth is what you believe the truth to be.

With regard to the first, what did he mean in its exactitude or inexactitude? The public response did not reverberate along the corridors of my mind. There seem to be a general acceptance as to its relevance and rectitude which left me somewhat perplexed.

As regards the second and third his surrogates endeavoured to explain away or imbue them with some dubious meaning of no consequence in order to protect him from himself.

In the first instance of disbelief, no one attempted to intervene or placate my linguistic sensibilities; or is it because I was wrong in the posture that I had assumed in relation to the content, context, grammatical meaning and implication of the statement made.

Was it a valid statement to be reassuringly embraced by a community in its pandemic mitigation endeavour? How can one co-exist with an implacable enemy whose existential justification is to effectuate ones’ terrestrial demise once an opportunity presents itself?

The march of the virus is inexorable towards human annihilation. It has no conscience, no sensitivity, no human element that could create a relational template for engagement.

COVID-19 has no soul, no heart, no empathy, no compassion, no remorse, no discerning comparative faculty and no value system.

As far as I am concerned – COVID-19 is death. On what level is it possible to co-exist with death? To co-exist implies a functional harmony in spite of differences in interest, ideology, modus operandi and modus vivendi. Is it possible for homo sapiens to establish a relationship when death denies a relationship, precludes a relationship and is anathema to relationships?

We may have to co-exist with the protocols, the vaccines that are coming into existence to deny the existence of COVID-19. Co-existence promotes the continuance of a different state of affairs or being; that in their diverse essence, aims and objectives are functionally and existentially compatible on some minimal but sustainable level. And so, whatever the level, COVID-19 is not compatible with Homo Sapiens.

The second perplexing utterance is that colonialism has a conscience. As I see it, colonialism is a pseudo refined extension of slavery. And that is from the perspective of the colonised masses. It is a geopolitical policy where one or more countries acquires full or partial control over another country, occupying it with settlers and exploiting its human and natural resources. The control has a certain quasi legitimacy since the colonised state acquiesces to the control under a dubious acceptance of its beneficial role in the exchange of goods, services and benefits.

But the pernicious aspect of this type of governance is that the colonial policy is geared towards the ultimate utilisation of that which is best for the coloniser; its own aggrandisement. The benefits to the colonised are at best functionally incidental and collateral.

This system or policy of colonialism has no conscience since its raison d’etre is predicated on greed and malevolent acquisition that is tempered with a spurious, superficial and contrived benevolence. There is no conscience just crass and opportunistic acquisition that is diabolically and calculatingly measured to gain a level of acceptance and tolerance by the colonised state. Thus, the colonised masses experience a veneer of social and economic justice under an imported system that simulates the rule of law.

Before the prime minister makes his political declaration to that which he perceives as the profane herd, he should with due circumspect assess the intellectual depth of his supporters and others, since some of them despite their patent sycophancy are quite astute and knowing. Incidentally, party hacks can be “degreed” individuals. But then a PhD in whatever area of human endeavour does not preclude stupidity and asininity in other areas of life including politics writ large.

So, colonialism has a conscience is the quintessence of stupidity. And when a minister of government in a disappointing endeavour to explain away, and to save the prime minister from himself, I would like to remind her that there were human beings who conceptualised, managed and operationalised the death camps at Auschwitz.

What must pellucidly be understood or made patently clear is that conscience is a function of our morality and it is the trigger that alerts our sensibilities as to the rectitude of human behaviour. It is a portal that opens up unto the spiritual and defines our relationship with our fellow homo sapiens. It puts a certain

value of consequence on our interactions with each other in a manner, and to a degree that the implications and intimations of our individual conduct are in conformity with expectations that transcend ourselves. And it is this transcendence that aligns itself with the spiritual composition of our being. And thus, its attempted association with colonialism is a spurious and macabre juxtaposition that gives rise to that which is irrelevant and devoid of meaning.

Colonialism is a construct emanating from man’s greed, whereas conscience is an abstraction that reposes in the hearts and souls of man. Finally and most importantly, racism is inherent in colonialism.

The third utterance, the truth is what you believe the truth to be. If that is indeed so, then there is no truth since what is truth, would have become an individualised universal commodity. Truth would have become relative and subjective, and the constancy of truth, and that is what makes it “truth”, would have become a figment of an illusionary imagination.

An opinion can be individualised, though it can be shared, accepted and internalised. Truth from a metaphysical perspective “ is”. Being is – its essence whereas “becoming” characterises that which can be categorised as opinion.

The truth is not the function of ones’ belief since ones’ belief system can be made up of a plethora of opinionated elements that do not conform to empirical reality. The truth can be your belief but your belief does not fall into the category of truth. I believe that the earth is round and some believe that the world is flat. Contextually, my belief conforms with truth; but for the other, his belief and the truth are worlds apart.

If your truth is what you believe the truth to be how can I have faith and place reliance on that which is individualised, subjective and goes contrary to an empirical reality?

Truth is “being” and opinion is “becoming”. Therein lies the metaphysical divide.

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