‘WE HAVE LEFT THE CAVE’

Dr. Asangba Tzudir

The 19th Century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer had very profoundly said about the three stages of truth, and it finds application in almost every field of human activity. “All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident.”

When something new or a new idea or concept is brought up, a lot depends on who brought it up. This happens in a context where someone ‘sneezing’ becomes breaking news. However genuine or great an idea may be, if it is also not clearly expressed it becomes a subject of ridicule, let alone being reduced to complete absurdity by people who cannot fathom it. 

Then comes the opposition, starting with the impossibility of its application considering it as alien to the normal. However, the truth about ‘becoming truth’ is such that people even worry if it does not ‘fit their bill’, and more so if it is something that is going to stay. While some may support, many will again oppose tooth and nail because it is often seen as a threat while pursuing their end agendas. 

In the midst of all the ridicule and opposition, in due course of time, a truth only becomes obvious without demonstrating or explaining. It is self-evident. The case of thinking and knowledge production over the course of human history attests to this fact of truth, that today, if someone says that the earth is flat, that person will be made an object of mockery.

Now, if one is to juxtapose the idea of clean election in Arthur’s three stages of truth, it seems to be in the second stage of truth where it is violently opposed. Opposed in the sense that clean election is not allowed to operate because it is a threat to those in positions of ‘power’ and authority, that, it is a hindrance in the pursuit of power. 

The various incidences of violence leading to the polling day and how the polling eventually turned out in this year’s NLA elections attests to the difficulty of clean election. This paper also carried a front feature with a banner headline that read: Nagaland Elections: A festival of proxies.  This is a sad reality that it was not only unclean, but also unfair and not free.  

Often it becomes a very difficult proposition to think that clean elections will succeed in Nagaland. But it is still in the second stage of truth and which is a time taking process of creating inch by inch change process moving towards the third stage of truth of becoming a self-evident truth. 

Elections are over for now but the clean election movement should continue and not just awaken during election. The movement should move into the deconstruction process of cleaning the system including the human moral system and thereby making it into a “self evident truth” that cannot be opposed or ridiculed or falsified, and then become a normal part of everyday life and living. 

Within the diversities and complexities, we have all left the cave and whenever change is sought at any level, there will be those that will ridicule and will be opposed because of the very nature of change and the various effects of change. Even under normal circumstances, even if it is for better, change becomes hard to accept. Skeptics and those who oppose will always be around but they are a necessary part of the process for truth to pass through and reach the third stages.

(Dr. Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to The Morung Express. Comments can be emailed to asangtz@gmail.com)