Sucking Lemons

You can download the new volume of Cynefin Road’s Audacity zine here. This is my editorial for April 2017’s issue 2:

Have you ever sucked a lemon? Bitten on tinfoil? Extreme sensations which bring about an equally extreme response in most cases. Natural reactions. The truth is the same thing, more often than not, and the reason for this is simplistic: the truth is rarely what we want to hear.

What we want to hear is a heartbeat on a monitor. That we are still loved. There isn’t bad news. This isn’t really happening. We want to hear everything is okay. Rosy. And this is why the truth is often described as being something which hurts. Also why we tend to avoid it as much as possible, fragile creatures that we are. 

Truth, however, isn’t bound by the rules of our wishes, nor confined to the possibilities of what should happen. Mark Twain was right about it, so was Oscar Wilde.

This is why lies exist. This is why alternative narratives have become necessary. The fragility of the human mind, its inability to cope with hurt and the self-defence of emotion, have made the truth an enemy as we have all become less able to cope with pain.

This hasn’t happened overnight though. It’s taken a couple of generations, during which there has been no real pain to suffer, no real experience of the non-metaphorical falls and broken bones truth brings. And the dark seeds which were once kept from the privileged, the shielded alone, are now held back from all. A world without consequence of action breeding in the absence of the hurt which makes humans kinder.

The world around us has become a riddle of lies and deceit, the truth avoided at all costs, and it spreads because people are lying to themselves too. Accepting a first lie, lying to themselves in doing so, and then becoming so afeared of the damage undoing the lies will do they become risk averse to the truth.

Those of us who face the harsh truths, who receive and accept the pain even though we don’t want it, look at this new world differently. Not through jaded eyes, but through frustratingly clear ones. And because we see the truth, understand it as easily as Galileo suggested, we see the cost of lies laid bare. Rail against the accruing debt to be paid by many. We cannot accept the absence of truth in the smallest of matters and certainly do not trust those who peddle it with the important ones.

The fear of the truth, the trembling before the anticipated pain of it, is the disease. The truth itself? It’s the hard knock, the break, the tear, the rip, the cut, the wound. The truth is the magic bullet and its delivery is going to sting, more than a bit. 

The real mastery of the truth isn’t about manipulating it to make it more palatable or suited to your own needs, it’s about owning the searing agony and letting it heal to a scar.

This curation is a collection of truths, some personal, some broader. Some incomplete, some whole. The important thing is that there’s no shying away, no alternative facts. This is sucking a lemon and biting on tinfoil.

This is real. This is human. This is healing.

Audacity Zine #2

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