Friday, December 19, 2008

False Witness

Exodus 23 states: "Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness." In western common law, we are considered 'innoscent until proven guilty' however in French legal tradition there is a presumption of 'guilty until proven innoscent." Hence the famous French writer whose "J'accuse" echos through history. On face the significance of the latter is found in the unwillingness of individuals to make 'false reports' or false accusations. In the French tradition, if you cannot "prove" the accusation then the accuser must bear the penalty of the crime. There is no free lunch there. Increasingly however here we are seeing the alternative system of "totalitarianism" being applied.

"You can't imagine what it was like living under communism," she told me. "Everyone can accuse you of anything and the very act of accusing makes you a friend of the state. You never knew who to trust. Even your family and friends could be awarded financially or with priviledges for testifying against you. And there was no defence. It wasn't as if there had to be any paper or anything like that. Any person could say you were saying things that were objectionable and anything could be objectionable depending on how it was taken."

There is no threat to false accusation, here. All manner of government service encourage neighbours to 'testify' against neighbours promising anonymity. An argument between two mothers not uncommonly is followed by a visit from Family Services.

Just as there is no whistleblower protection here when the whistleblower correctly exposes true crime, there is almost total protection in anonymity for those who bear 'false witness'. In this way what is literally gossip and character assassination is 'institutionalized' and as such given credence where none is deserved. All too often outright lies are cloaked in the most innacurate and nonspecific of languages the 'doublespeak' of beaurocratese too.

Once a statement of lie was significantly demonstrated then the individual was called a 'liar' and the information that followed was deemed equally untruthful by design. There was never a need to 'prove' each and every lie because the court called upon the individual to 'tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God". Yet today, a judge told me, 'everyone lies' in court, and "frankly I can't do anything about it."

At a legal conference doctors were told not to diagnose 'malingering' so that no longer could a physician report that the patient who claimed to be paralysed from the waist down ran out of the room. Well, perhaps he could report it, but heaven forbid he draw any conclusion about the behaviour.

Somehow it has become offensive to describe the offender thus, no matter how offensive the offender is. It has become important to 'validate' the liar as if validation itself was now removed from the very truthfulness of 'validity'. Lying meanwhile is principally done for personal gain.

Where this occurs "might is right' becomes the'truth' because truth is no longer arrived at by logic or scientific investigation or even closed ballot consensus. No one is considered of 'good character"either because 'good' like 'truth' has fallen in the cesspool of 'social relativism". The basis of character was once thought to be truthfulness and veracity, even though it was always recognised that truth without compassion could be deemed cruelty.

The courts perhaps, the state, the beaurocracy for sure, and certainly the criminals especially liars all stand to gain by this proposition. Those groups alone that are part of all totalitarian regimes otherwise institutionalized gangsterism, have the most serious conflict of interest when it comes to the assessment of truth for truth sake and clearly would not promote punishment of false witness. I won't even comment on politicians.

When the Bible was removed from government and court tradition it seemed truth went as well. I personally don't suggest the Bible return but indeed would suggest that perhaps courts and beaurocracy go further along the bizarro path they've thus far embraced. Remove all penalty for lying so all of us can collectively gain from the new deceit called "my truth".

Honestly there are crosses burning in Prince George. I'm sure I heard him say, what was that thing you told me was the most offensive thing, yes that's it. He said that and shes' one of those too.

"I'm tired of lying in court," she told me. "I didn't mind doing it at first for friends. But after a while you think a person should get paid for that sort of thing. "


detourcy said...

DH Lawrence

>The Evening Land

Oh, America,
The sun sets in you.
Are you the grave of our day?

Shall I come to you, the open tomb of my race?

I would come, if I felt my hour had struck.
I would rather you come to me.

For that matter
Mahomet never went to any mountain
Save it had first approached him and cajoled his soul.

You have cajoled the souls of millions of us,
Why won’t you cajole my soul?
I wish you would.

I confess I am afraid of you.

The catastrophe of your exaggerate love,
You who never find yourself in love
But only lose yourself further, decomposing.

You who never recover from out of the orgasm of loving
Your pristine, isolate integrity, lost aeons ago.
Your singleness within the universe.

You who in loving break down
And break further and further down
Your bounds of isolation,
But who never rise, resurrected, from the grave of
In a new proud singleness, America.

Your more-than-European idealism,
Like a be-aureoled bleached skeleton hovering
Its cage-ribs in the social heaven, beneficent.

And then your single resurrection
Into machine-uprisen perfect man.

Even the winged skeleton of your bleached ideal
Is not so frightening as that clean smooth
Automaton of your uprisen self,
Machine American.

Do you wonder that I am afraid to come
And answer the first machine-cut question from the lips
of your iron men?
Put the first cents into metallic fingers of your officers
And sit beside the steel-straight arms of your fair women,

This may be a withering tree, this Europe,
But here, even a customs-official is still vulnerable.

I am so terrified, America,
Of the iron click of your human contact.
And after this
The winding-sheet of your self-less ideal love.
Boundless love
Like a poison gas.

Does no one realise that love should be intense, individual,
Not boundless.
This boundless love is like the bad smell
Of something gone wrong in the middle.
All this philanthropy and benevolence on other people’s behalf
Just a bad smell.

Yet, America,
Your elvishness,
Your New England uncannyness,
Your western brutal faery quality.

My soul is half-cajoled, half cajoled.

Something in you which carries me beyond,
Yankee, Yankee,
What we call human.
Carries me where I want to be carried . . .
Or don’t I?

What does it matter
What we call human, and what we don’t call human?
The rose would smell as sweet.
And to be limited by a mere word is to be less than a hopping
flea, which hops over such an obstruction at first jump.

Your horrible, skeleton, aureoled ideal,
Your weird bright motor-productive mechanism,
Two spectres.

But moreover
A dark, unfathomed will, that is not un-Jewish;
A set, stoic endurance, non-European;
An ultimate desperateness, un-African;
A deliberate generosity, non-Oriental.

The strange, unaccustomed geste of your demonish New World
Glimpsed now and then.

Nobody knows you.
You don’t know yourself.
And I, who am half in love with you,
What am I in love with?
My own imaginings?
Say it is not so.

Say, through the branches
America, America
Of all your machines,
Say, in the deep sockets of your idealistic skull,
Dark, aboriginal eyes
Stoic, able to wait ages

Say, in the sound of all your machines
And white words, white-wash American,
Deep pulsing of a strange heart
New throb, like a stirring under the false dawn that
precedes the real.

Nascent American
Demonish, lurking among the undergrowth
Of many-stemmed machines and chimneys that smoke
like pine trees.

Dark, elvish,
Modern, unissued, uncanny America,
Your nascent demon people
Lurking among the deeps of your industrial thicket
Allure me till I am beside myself,
A nympholepht,

‘These States!’ as Whitman said,
Whatever he meant.

D.H. Lawrence, Baden-Baden.

detourcy said...

The blog can be a solitary event- like most "writing"- or a communal exchange.

Or, as in this town atm, it can be two warring blogs, with intermediaries dashing betwixt & between. carrying the bullets that blogger A forged, to blogger B & indeed, to other parties.

Perhaps , in that context, it is a nice return to good old-fashioned stone age warfare, in which only the messenger died of heat exhaustion from all that running? And the sky was clear of smoke from muskets, incendiary devices, napalm & even mushroom clouds.

It being very late here, I can even take the image further, into imagination even, and postulate that whilst waiting for the runner, both General A & General B, had sufficient time inter-bellum, to look at the galaxies at night & take notice of their own relative insignificance in the whole scheme of 42 & reflect that maybe it would be better just to trade the odd voluptuous woman or two & forget the whole silly business.

I did hear, this very week, that Susan Faludi, (she's a one, is she not?) saying that the US male had been greatly shamed in his own recent past, by the fact that his wives & daughters had been carried off into the pagan enclaves of Red Indian Warriors & that 80% of said females were never rescued! That was before John Wayne of course. Moreover, she claimed that some women beat off the Red Indians themselves, with their own guns & knives, whilst many others- imagine the horror!- preferred to remain with their captors in connubial bliss!! Astounding!

blog, meanwhile, is an unfortunate word, rhyming as it does, with bog & log.


haykind said...

I loved the poem and did not know it for D.H. Lawrence. Thought it some obscure poet from france or turkey you'd come across in your mad woman search of web. Maybe something something your daughter had recommended from that nether generation of hers where nothing original is freshly resurfaced to make us green with envy. And here's it's the old Women in Love romantic. I so enjoyed him when I was young. Indeed I convinced a college english classmate that this reading of Lawrence was bogus and wouldn't she rather come back to my place for some honest laboratory time. I was lost for the arts and soon skipped to the sciences for more hands on encounters though my memories of the Arts grow even fonder with age.
Thank you.
The blog meanwhile is a kind of public diary or writer's book which moves one from the solitude and privacy of so much of the writer's craft into the public domain. Here we can mercilessly lift the ideas of others and believe that someone is interested enough to be taking our ideas and no doubt dressing them in such a way as to make the fortunes the scribblers envy but are too unwilling to admit reflect a kind of conformity and intuition with the group mind. They are the essence of niche. B-L-O-G. Be love oh God (since any alternative is frightening indeed). The machine america. It's to writing what u tube is to movies. Everyone is communicating, and as you say they can be dialogue or argument. But it's a global 'party line' phone. A million bottles of messages from the tropical islands of individual minds. Maybe adam and eve were about the snake from another galaxy and the need to meet with the alien race to know one's self as reproductive and creative. The image of the multiplicity of gardens and suburban houses for couples and children and the snake of hollywood with parental controls because frankly the medium is the message. Play stations are replacing the inactivity of receiving the american message. Perhaps without this we'd all be telepathic believing in ourselves more than cell phones.
Meanwhile I'm on call here in the hospital doing 'real doctoring'. You'd be proud of me. I've written ideas of reference all day long. Met Noonan and Cotards and was near to capgrass while talking with the energy being. I did forget how far away people afraid can go and how gently one must coax them back when really the 'system' is n't too sure they want them back. Lovely people to work with. The doctors and nurses and such. Good food. Pretty town. You'd be proud of me. I did almost slip derailing an apparently clinical question talking duped research results by asking 'who stands to gain' from that answer and suggesting that one 'follow the money trails'. Was science ever so banal or is it just this last decade? I found it hard to challenge the orthodoxy but was glad to know that the inquisition had not sent it's priests too deeply here. Humanity prevails. There's a wonderful kindness all about. The factory you and I both encountered doesn't live as well in this country. There is the strange sense that people remember this is someone's sister or son or brother not just an errant brain. I'm eatting too much with the holidays and my sprained ankle makes exercise problematic. The michener balloon I will no doubt float home a bloated think partly turkey by the end of the holiday. I was thinking of buying expandable pants in preparation for the rest of the week.