Archive for October, 2011

Sober voices from Israel – Professor Barry Rubin

Why there isn’t peace

Barry Rubin is a foremost expert on the Middle East and terrorism. He is a professor at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel and the director of its Global Research in International Affairs Center (GLORIA). A prodigious writer, his incisive articles on Israel and the Arab world have appeared frequently in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Jerusalem Post, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New Republic and many other authoritative publications.

He is also the author of a number of books, including Political Islam (Routledge), The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-MacMillan), The Future of the Middle East (Sharpe, in press). Edited works include Iraq After Saddam (Sharpe, in press), “Global Survey of Islamism” (Sharpe, in press), and an eight-volume introductory book series to the Middle East (Sharpe, in press).

Here we present a modified version of an article published in The Jerusalem Post on the day before Gilad Schalit’s release after 5 years of captivity in Gaza, titled: “The Simple Truth: They Want It All.”

The Simplest Thing in the World to Understand:

Why There Isn’t Israel-Palestinian Peace

By Barry Rubin

Media, “experts” and governments find it very hard to understand an amazing phenomenon. No matter what the Palestinian Authority (PA) is offered – even if it includes money, concessions, and steps toward statehood – the PA says “no!”

I wouldn’t even bother to write this since the answer seems so simple, but a lot of people who are paid to deal with this stuff don’t get it. So let me elucidate:

The PA wants everything, an independent state on all the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem with no restrictions, no recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, no serious security guarantees, no limits on militarization, no agreement that this means an end of the conflict, no insistence that Palestinian refugees be resettled in the state of Palestine, and nothing to prevent them from pursuing a second stage of wiping Israel off the map entirely.

Now, one could say that it is common for people to want everything and to give nothing in exchange but certain factors – missing in this case – push toward compromise. These factors include:

♦ Knowing that they cannot get a better deal. The Palestinians know that the West will always offer more if they are intransigent.

♦ The impasse favors your adversary because your intransigence will gain it international support. In this case, the more intransigent the Palestinians, the more Israel is blamed.

♦ Economic pressure to change the situation. Since the PA is almost completely supported by foreign aid that is not threatened by its hardline this pressure does not exist.

♦ Public opinion pressure to change the situation. In this case, Palestinian public opinion is relatively radicalized and ideological and does not demand a compromise settlement.

♦ Concern that your political rivals will “out-moderate” you and win by offering to make a deal. In this case, the opposite is true: rivals “out-radicalize” and threaten to destroy you politically and perhaps even physically if you make a deal.

♦ Belief that time is not on your side. Due to religious and nationalist ideology, along with misperception of Israel, the PA (and even more Hamas) believes that time is on its side; that waiting a couple of generations and many decades doesn’t matter.

That’s not a complete list. But the point is that the world in general, the United States and Europe, the UN and Arabic-speaking states and Muslim-majority states have created a “perfect” system in that it is pretty unbreakable. Here’s a brief description:

♦ The PA has no incentive to make peace and won’t do so.

♦ The world insists that “peace” is an urgent top priority.

♦ The only variable is Israel, which must be made to give way. But Israel won’t do so because of past experience and the fact that the risks are now too high.

Deadlock!

Nothing will change. There will be no peace process; no Palestinian state. No “progress.” You can read this article in two or three years and it will still be completely up to date. If you don’t understand the points made above it is impossible to comprehend the Middle East. There will be thousands of e-mails, hundreds of articles, scores of expensive conferences, dozens of foundation grants, and tens of peace initiatives that are all meaningless because they are based on false premises.

This is neither a left-wing or right-wing perspective, but merely an explanation as to why all the schemes and theories of those who do not see these facts never actually take wing. It is not politically correct but factually correct.

Now, you might ask, do I just criticize or do I have constructive policy advice? I do. Here it is:

When the Palestinian Authority rejects the Quartet proposal for negotiations, the United States, European Union, and anyone else who wants to go along tells them, “We’ve tried to help you and you don’t want to listen so since we have lots of other things to do we will go do them. Good luck and if you ever change your mind and get serious about making peace you have our phone number.”

The previous paragraph would send shock and rejection throughout policy circles, right? But why? If you cannot solve a problem and – let’s be clear here – the problem doesn’t need to be solved immediately, then you work on other problems. And there is no shortage of those!

We are left, however, with the following problem: Those in positions of political, media, and intellectual power don’t get it.

Solution: Please explain it to them or take their place.

Barry Rubin’s blogsite:  http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/

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October 20, 2011 at 8:10 am 1 comment

Apartheid in the Arab world

How can the U.N. turn

a blind eye?

FLAME is an acronym for “Facts and Logic About the Middle East,” which is a non-profit organization, based in San Francisco, California, that tries to set the record straight about the Israel-Arab conflict. Its purpose is to expose false propaganda about Israel and the USA. And false propaganda is largely the rule, produced and promoted by people all over the world, many of them knowing that they are lying, but most believe that the misinformation that they spread is the truth. Their readers and viewers believe this too.

Flame combats this calumny by publishing articles in major publications such as U.S. News and World Report, The New York Times, The Nation, The National Review, The American Spectator, The Washington Times National Weekly, and The International Edition of the Jerusalem Post. Flame’s articles also appear in over 50 small-town newspapers, all across the United States and Canada, covering an important segment of the population that might otherwise not have access to mainstream media.

Flame was founded by GERARDO JOFFE in the mid-nineties. Here is a recent, slightly modified article that has appeared in the media all over the world.

How can the U.N. turn a blind eye to hateful, state-sponsored discrimination

While apartheid – the legally-sanctioned practice of segregation, denial of civil rights and persecution because of race, ethnicity, religion or gender – has been eliminated in South Africa, it continues to be practiced in many parts of the world, particularly in the Arab Middle East and Iran. Why does the United Nations Human Rights Council continue to attack free, democratic Israel, yet refuse to condemn these flagrant crimes against humanity?

Apartheid has been practiced in Middle East nations for decades, yet it has managed to escape the scrutiny and condemnation of most of the world, including the United Nations Human Rights Council. It’s time to denounce these discriminatory laws and customs and declare them illegal. Here are a few examples:

One of the world’s most deadly examples of racism is in Sudan, where native black Sudanese have been enslaved, persecuted and slaughtered by Muslim Arabs. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the “Darfur pogrom is part of a historic continuum in which successive Arab governments have sought to entirely destroy black Africans in this bi-racial nation … The reason for the atrocities committed by government-supported Arab militias is the racist, fundamentalist, and undemocratic Sudanese state.” Since 1983, more than two million black Sudanese have been killed, displaced or exiled.

Few ethnic minorities in the Middle East have suffered as much repression as the Kurds. In Syria in 1962, hundreds of thousands of Kurds had their citizenship taken away. In 2008, the Syrian government issued Decree 49, which expelled Kurds from the country’s so-called “Arab Belt” and dispossessed them of rights to own land. The Kurdish Union Party called this an “ethnic cleansing decree … aimed at ending national Kurdish existence.” In Iran, following the Islamic revolution, the Shiite majority denied the Kurds a role in defining the new constitution, and in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini declared a holy war against Kurdish political organizations: Entire Kurdish villages and towns were destroyed, and thousands of Kurds executed without due process.

For some 40 years Palestinians have been denied citizenship in Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Palestinians have been expelled from many Middle Eastern countries, including Kuwait, Jordan, Libya and Iraq. In Lebanon, Palestinians must live in designated areas, cannot own homes and are barred from 70 occupations. These are all copy-book imitations of classical Apartheid perpetrated against Palestinian Arabs.

By contrast, Palestinians in the West Bank (often tendentiously called Occupied Territories) are self-governing. They have their own government – the Palestinian Authority – hold elections (albeit irregularly) and run all aspects of civil society. It is the same with Hamas-run Gaza.

Persecution, discrimination and attacks against religious minorities, especially Christians and Jews, are rampant in the Middle East. Pressure by radical Islamists has become so great that in the last 20 years some two million Christians have abandoned their Middle East homelands. Christians in the Palestinian territories have dropped from 15 percent of the population in 1950 to just two percent today. In Egypt, two Coptic Christian churches were burned down over the past year, and Egyptian police commonly stand by and watch as Copts are physically attacked by Islamist vigilantes. In Saudi Arabia, Christians and Jews may not be citizens at all. Over 800,000 Jews have been forced out of Arab nations, effectively extinguishing the Jewish population in the region, except in Israel, the world’s only Jewish state. In the disputed Palestinian territories, Jews are the victims of hate-motivated murders and, according to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, Jews will be banned from any future Palestinian state.

Apartheid also applies to women in Arab lands. A 2002 United Nations report states that “women in Arab League countries suffer from unequal citizenship and legal entitlements often evident … in voting rights and legal codes and from inequality of opportunity, evident in employment status, wages and gender-based occupational segregation.” In Saudi Arabia, women must walk on separate sidewalks, be covered from head to toe, and are not allowed to drive or vote in municipal elections. Women in many Middle Eastern countries are commonly forced into marriages, the law usually requires absolute obedience to husbands, and millions of girls must undergo genital mutilation.

Only Israel, among all Middle Eastern nations, guarantees equal civil rights for all its citizens, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual preference. Israel is the only country in the Middle East in which the Christian population is growing. Some 1.4 million Israeli Arabs enjoy more rights than citizens in any Arab country.

Isn’t it time for the U.N. Human Rights Council to stop exclusively condemning Israel – one of the few non-apartheid states in the Middle East, and demand immediate sanctions against all countries that commit such crimes against humanity?

See more in Flame’s website: www.factsandlogic.org

October 16, 2011 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

THE ROOT OF EVIL – 3

Continued from: https://truthandsurvival.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/the-root-of-most-evil-%e2%80%93-2/

Politics and global survival

Based on talks by Ralph Dobrin

Author of “How to avoid Armageddon”

Available through Amazon

Click: www.amazon.com  type: how to avoid armageddon

More than with most other topics, politics and ideology tend to bring about cognitively dissonant attitudes such as denial, automatic rejection of anything that doesn’t fit current perceptions and stubbornly clinging to old ways and ideas, no matter what new information emerges. So, whenever any issue with a political bearing is discussed, often even normally level-headed, intelligent, honest people can have their ability to think objectively and comprehensively, noticeably diminished. Right wing, left wing, liberal, conservative, centrist, it doesn’t matter. Intellectual honesty and rational thinking are often seriously compromised. Not always, not with everyone, but all too often. It’s amazing to see even wonderfully intelligent people, time and again over their entire adulthood, stick to the same old positions regarding ideology, politics and their various philosophical viewpoints, no matter how the world around them changes.

A classic example of cognitive dissonance – albeit with only a marginal bearing on politics – can be found in the story of Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian doctor in mid-nineteenth century, who tried to convince fellow-physicians and nurses to wash their hands with disinfectant and sterilize their instruments before treating women giving birth in the maternity ward where he worked. Not a big deal, one might think. Plain common sense and standard practise for all medical treatments. Well, not then. At that time between 10 to 30 percent of women giving birth in hospitals died from childbirth fever, clearly due to the lack of hygienic conditions that prevailed.

Even though Semmelweis empirically and repeatedly showed how sterile working conditions could dramatically lower the mortality rates of mothers giving birth in hospitals to less than one percent, he was ridiculed and rejected by most of his fellow doctors in Vienna and elsewhere, because his observations conflicted with the established medical opinions of the time. It needed another 20 years before the medical establishment accepted Semmelweis’ simple solution to save lives. Meanwhile tens of thousands of women died agonizingly and unneccesarily because of the automatic rejection of any idea that didn’t fit people’s perceptions, no matter what new information so readily emerged.  

By the way, I’m not saying that every old idea or way is necessarily faulty and must be changed. But whenever we automatically close ourselves off to anything new or different, or to anything that doesn’t tally exactly with our perception of things, we should check to see whether we are really facing all facts and factors with complete honesty. Because the consequences of not doing so, can be pretty grim to say the least.

Semmelweis reached his conclusions through empirical deduction. Let’s take a more political example, utilizing empirical deduction, while showing other forms of cognitive dissonance. Many people in this Israel and all over the world say that Israel should agree to all of the Palestinian demands and then there will have peace with them – demands that include Israel’s withdrawal to the 1967 Armistice Lines. But if we want to be absolutely honest about the situation, irrespective of our political leanings, surely we should also consider what happened every time that Israel withdrew its forces from areas in the West Bank and Gaza. Time and again, especially following the 1993 Peace Accords, withdrawal would soon lead to an escalation of armed attacks against Israeli civilians. In Gaza, even after removing every single Jewish vestige from Gaza in 2005, the response was an immediate and prolonged escalation of rocket attacks that lasted for years and was checked, only after a serious military incursion by Israel. There wasn’t any sign that Israel’s withdrawal had helped bring peace any nearer. On the contrary, Israel’s withdrawal pushed peace further away. So, empirically, it would appear rather unlikely that agreeing to ever-more Arab demands will, at the present time at least, bring about real peace.

On the other hand, there are people who call for an end to any negotiations with the Palestinians because they are not to be trusted, that Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria justly was won in wars of defense – of physical survival actually, and that Israel cannot afford to cede territory of vital strategic significance, especially in a time of turmoil in the entire Arab world.

But have these folks honestly considered the following crucial questions? How long can Israel rule over a people that doesn’t want its rule, that in fact hates this rule? And if Israel annexes the entire West Bank, how long will it be before the Arabs in Israel combined with those in the West Bank would form a political bloc that could sway or even dominate fateful national decisions? Mind you, Israel could simply defranchise them, which would mean that Israel could no longer call itself a democracy and would be taking on an electoral feature of the apartheid state, which would deepen even more its international isolation; which would mean more boycotts and a lot less commerce, as well as a further erosion of political support in the United Nations, even the possible loss of America’s support.

By the way, the many countries that choose to downplay the perils facing Israel, while blithely calling for its full withdrawal to the indefensible lines of 1967, are also ignoring fateful facts and factors that could have a bearing on Israel’s very survival. By ignoring these issues they are actually pandering to falsehood; the immorality of this is greatly compounded by pressuring Israel to do what might well lead to its very destruction.

Many people say that Judea and Samaria is Israel’s God-given land, that God is on Israel’s side (the Muslims also believe that God is on their side!) and that Israel will prevail even if the entire Muslim world faces us on the battlefield, even if the United Nations joins in. After all, Prophecy talks about such an eventuality. How wonderful to believe! But then, empirically, we might remember previous times when God was expected to intervene – like when the Jews rebelled against the Roman Empire, believing that their leader Bar Kochba might even be the messiah, only to face destruction and their long exile; or the question of where was God during the Holocaust? On the other hand, one can point to the incredible victories of 1948 and 1967. Although they might have been due to smarter planning, better training and a lot of luck. Or maybe they were truly miraculous … the hand of the Almighty. No matter what I want to believe, I cannot honestly know.

But I will say this about the totally unfathomable factor that we call God: I believe – and again, that’s not really knowing, but I believe that to receive divine backing, Israel needs to be worthy, truly worthy. And surely that demands more than the observance of the Sabbath and the kosher laws. Surely worthiness demands a strong inclination towards honesty, integrity and truthfulness by Israeli society. In fact, from a purely pragmatic point of view, the only way Israel can prevail against the demonic odds being stacked against it, is through developing a society, in which the dominant characteristics are honesty, integrity and truthfulness. Only this way will Israel be able to build up a nation with the trustworthiness and competence nation necessary to survive.

Whether we look at the situation from a religious or a secular point of view – it seems that Israel and indeed the whole of humanity is now facing an enormous test, a test that will very likely determine humanity’s fate. We have already listed the perils that confront us all, perils the like of which, humanity has never faced. And the test is … the universal practise of truthfulness. Failing this test is simply not an option. Certainly not for Israel. It’s primarily a practical, pragmatic imperative.

How are we to succeed in this test? What must we do to promote the tenets of truthfulness among Israeli society … and throughout the world? The answer: on an individual basis, not a great deal. No need to make any heroic effort or drastic changes in our present lifestyles. We can start by doing a little soul-searching about our own level of truthfulness. I must ask myself. How truthful a person am I. Do I sometimes exaggerate things and to what extent? Do I sometimes fib and why? Do I twist the truth, cheat – even from time to time, deceive anyone? Do I lie? And please we shouldn’t be too upset by what we reveal about ourselves. I bet that everyone, or just about everyone, from time to time does indulge in some from of falsehood. The thing is to understand this, to recognize our own shortcomings and endeavor to the best of our ability to become as truthful as we possibly can. It entails a daily review.

At the same time we should also question the validity of our notions – especially notions with a political and ideological connection. And together with all this we should confront any form of falsehood that we encounter, no matter where … in shops, with people who provide service, clerks in municipal and government offices, etc. But we should be very cautious before pointing out any twisting of truth, so as to scrupulously avoid accusing anyone of lying if they haven’t lied. But when we do encounter cases of undeniable falsehood, we should make it clear that it has been exposed and that it harms us all. But do this quietly and without overt hostility. The aim is to enlist people into the cause.

By the way, we should realize that by leading our lives in a normatively honest manner we are already advancing the pursuit of national and global truthfulness. We must understand that this will be a long-term endeavor, which we must win.

Also, what has to be done is to form a group of people that will start the ball rolling. There are practical ways that we shall spread the message – through the usual methods that ideas are promoted. For more information please e-mail me: friendlysting@yahoo.com

To order “How to avoid Armageddon” click:  www.amazon.com   type:how to avoid Armageddon

October 14, 2011 at 9:12 am Leave a comment

THE ROOT OF MOST EVIL – 2

Continued from: https://truthandsurvival.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/the-root-of-most-evil-%e2%80%93-1/

How to handle lies?

(Based on talks on the subject of global survival)

 By RALPH DOBRIN

Author of “How to avoid Armageddon”

Available through Amazon, Click:  www.amazon.com   type: how to avoid armageddon

A problem that we all face is how do we know when what is being said or claimed is really the truth? How can we be sure that something we read or hear is factually correct? That it’s not a mistaken assumption or an outright lie? This is an immensely important question. And there is no foolproof answer. While I don’t think that we should always automatically be cynical or skeptical about everything, we should be sensitive when half-baked claims are made; we should be able to detect disinformation and other forms of falsehood no matter who or what is the source. That means recognizing demagoguery and glib propaganda, especially when it’s used to promote political or ideological interests. We should pay attention, not only to the appearance and style of the speakers, but to their actual words – what is really being said, what is omitted, what is inconsistent with previous statements, what doesn’t really make sense, what appeals to our sense of wishful thinking? Above all, we must be critically honest with ourselves. And if we do identify any form of falsehood – if it is obvious that someone is lying to us, we must expose it. Granted, this is a very complex expectation. But it is very important.

Often, the best we can do is simply assume the validity or falsehood of what is claimed. We might be able to assess the likelihood according to a scale of credibility, ranging from probable – I can’t be absolutely sure, but it’s probable that such and such is the case … or … there’s a possibility that it’s so … or there’s a slight possibility, or no way!

This scale of credibility can help us think more clearly. It can help us make sensible decisions and value judgments on just about every aspect of our lives – family and work matters, as well as issues of a wider social, national and even global significance.

Let’s take global warming, for example. Many scientists warn that it’s the extensive use of fossil fuels and other pollutants that is causing global warming and climate change, and that could well lead to widespread disaster, unless drastic changes are made … now! But there are other scientists, albeit a minority, who argue that the whole issue of global warming is really a hoax and that fossil fuels have little or no bearing whatsoever on climate change.

So what am I to believe? This is a very serious issue. But I don’t know much about chemistry, meteorology and other related environmental sciences, so how can I reach a fair conclusion? Well firstly, I can get a layman’s grasp by reading material on the subject, including opposing viewpoints, while trying to keep an open mind. But in the end I can only rely on my common sense and intellectual integrity, which might enable me to come to a conclusion one way or another, or at least an assumption on which I can base my stand on the issue. An assumption based on the scale of credibility.

Whatever conclusion I reach, should have little to do with whether it matches the stand of whatever political or ideological movement I follow. If it matches, then well and good. If not, I need to consider the issue on its own merits. And there’s another parameter that I can use to assess the credibility of something. Simply ask the question: Does it make sense? Does it make sense that pouring millions of tons of carbon gases into the atmosphere won’t have any effect on the climate? Does it make sense that pouring millions of tons of waste matter into our rivers, lakes and oceans won’t cause dreadful damage to the ecological balance? The questions often become rhetorical and therein can be found our answers.

An important aspect of thinking clearly is how we relate to disagreement. When someone disagrees with us, do we see it as a challenge to be met and won at all costs, or as a personal slight that must be firmly righted? This is how most people react to disagreement, whether it’s on a trivial subject or something of definite personal, ideological or professional importance.

But this kind of response to disagreement is seldom productive and can be disruptive to say the least. Now I’m going to say something that might sound strange to many of you. I’m going to say that we should welcome disagreement and see it, not necessarily as an argument to be won … at all costs, but rather as an opportunity to clarify something. Perhaps the other person really knows what he or she is talking about and is able to put us right about something. If that is the case we might have gained something through this other person’s disagreeing with what we had said, and we should always be ready to admit that we had been wrong and even respond with something like: “Thank you for putting me right.” Especially if it is something that might help us in our lives. Losing an argument shouldn’t be seen as losing face – but rather as an opportunity to learn something.

I’m not saying that we should always readily agree with what other people say. Of course not. If, for example in the course of a discussion or an argument, the other person seems to have a point, but we are not fully convinced, we can still continue reasoning with each other. We can see it as a joint search for correct answers. We might even find that additional argument and counter-argument will help substantiate our point of view; that yes, we might even see that we had it right all the time; that what we had thought, was indeed the case. And if the other guy can’t get it he’ll be losing out, whether he realizes it or not.

The tendency to argue, that is so common, is often a case of choosing to ignore readily observable facts or even discard the rules of plain logic. This tendency to try to always win an argument, to never admit that the other person might have a point, is actually pursuing denial and twisting facts. And no matter how honest we might generally be, when that’s what we do in the course of an argument, we are in fact pandering to untruthfulness.  To be continued.

To order “How to avoid Armageddon” click: www.amazon.com  type: how to avoid Armageddon

October 12, 2011 at 4:53 pm Leave a comment

THE ROOT OF MOST EVIL – 1

It isn’t necessarily money

Based on talks by Ralph Dobrin

Author of “How to avoid Armageddon”
Available through Amazon
Click: www.amazon.com  type: how to avoid armageddon

We all demand that people not lie to us, even though we all occasionally engage in some form of untruthfulness towards other – through exaggeration, half-truth and other forms of twisting of the truth. Note how indignant we become when someone lies to us. We loathe hypocrisy. Friendships – even long-lasting friendships – are sometimes terminated on the spot if we feel that someone has hidden the truth from us. And with family, lying and any form of deceit hurts even more, because the trust that should be even more inherent and forthcoming, has been betrayed.

Our aversion to falsehood might be an instinctive thing, something like the disgust and revulsion caused by … exposed excrement. I think that our revulsion from exposed excrement stems from our innate knowledge, alerted by the smell, that uncovered and exposed, it can be a source of disease. Our instinct tells us that it poses a danger and therefore must be avoided or effectively disposed of. In a similar way, falsehood in any of its various forms, is perceived by all people as a threat in some way or another. Untruthfulness might not reach our olfactory senses, and although most of us might not be sensitive to its perniciousness when we ourselves lie, we instinctively recognize the potential for harm and detriment when lied to – even when the issues are quite innocuous. The saying that, “something stinks here,” when talking about deceit might be more apt than we realize.

This brings us to a question. Aren’t there times when twisting the truth or telling a little white lie might be preferable to telling the absolute truth? I think that, like just about every principle, there are exceptions to the rule. Depending on circumstances. In a life or death situation, like during the Nazi era for instance, lying about one’s ethnic roots made perfect sense if you wanted to stay alive.

But let’s take a less drastic situation – like if we’re visiting friends for dinner and the hostess asks us whether we are enjoying the casserole that she served up. But if the casserole tastes like burnt rubber, should we be honest and answer, “Oohh, it’s awful!“ Or is it better to lie and say that it’s very tasty, or pretend to have toothache or indigestion. Which is worse from a moral point of view? Either tell the truth and hurt someone’s feelings … or tell a white lie so as to spare her feelings. It’s a form of value judgment that we would have to make. There is often a third alternative and that is by simply nodding with a non-committal smile, which is more or less the same as telling her that you don’t like her casserole. Just you’re not being blunt about it.

The outright lie is not the only way that people deceive each other. People also use half-truths, which can be even more deceptive. And many of us also deceive ourselves. Through wishful thinking and denial we often choose to ignore pertinent facts that might be staring us in the face. This is closely related to yet another form of self-deception, which is when we stubbornly cling to old ideas, ways and attitudes, while refusing to consider events and developments that don’t fit our perceptions, and by doing this we can come to wrong conclusions and make disastrous decisions. It’s all part of what’s called cognitive dissonance. Actually it’s a form of lying to ourselves! And most of us – if not all of us – have this tendency from time to time.

* * *

In any human framework, no matter how large or small, when truthfulness and integrity are the factors that determine the general tone, you can be pretty sure of mutual trust and respect, appreciation and cooperation. Whether it’s in the family or any kind of business or organization, such an approach makes the smooth flow of information and sensible decision-making far more likely than when deceit and lying prevail. No doubt about it whatsoever – integrity, honesty and truthfulness help create a far more pleasant, efficient, productive and successful entity in any human framework.

Problems that arise will be more openly discussed and worked out and people will tend to concentrate on doing whatever they are supposed to be doing, to the best of their ability, instead of doubting orders and data, or expecting to be double-crossed. And it would be the same in any form of local or national government.

And the same goes for international relationships. When there’s deviousness on the part of one or more parties, there’ll be no mutual trust, and that can lead to all kinds of serious problems that needn’t have arisen, and which can have awful consequences, as history has so often shown. On the other hand, when there is mutual trust, brought about through openness and honesty, most issues between countries can be more readily and satisfactorily dealt with, which means better commercial and cultural exchange and cooperation, and far less likelihood of tension and conflict, all to the benefit of people everywhere.

But let’s keep things in perspective. These positive qualities – as essential and commendable as they are – won’t solve all problems. Truthfulness won’t prevent an earthquake or ensure success in everything we do. But it will lead to more objective reasoning, less delusion, less suspicion, less mistakes and far, far less corruption, and therefore a much better chance of success in any human endeavor. Actually, if we do keep things in perspective, we might find that truthfulness … is indispensable if we want to redeem our planet.

After all, things are becoming far less manageable than ever before. There are too many people on the planet. Too many stomachs to fill; too many mega-tons of human and industrial waste to dispose of; too many automobiles spewing out noxious fumes, adding to the immense pollution caused by industry and power stations, all fueled by insatiable commercial and political interests. We keep subjecting our planet to unpardonable abuse. There have been clear warning signs for almost a generation that unless we change course, all life on this planet will be harmed and might even go the way of the dinosaur and the dodo. Not tomorrow or the next day, but some time in the not-too-distant future. To compound all this cynical disregard for the future well-being of our world, is a crazed and vicious form of religious fundamentalism, craving the End of Days as a portal to Paradise, and that is now to poised to acquire nuclear weaponry.

What all this means is that humanity must begin to face facts. Every thinking person must begin to face these facts with a maximum degree of honesty and then act accordingly. We are courting peril if we fail to do so. 

Continued: The root of most evil – 2 (https://truthandsurvival.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/the-root-of-most-evil-%e2%80%93-2/)

To order “How to avoid Armageddon” click: http://www.amazon.com type: how to avoid Armageddon

October 11, 2011 at 2:57 pm Leave a comment


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