Mandela, Truth Philosopher

Mandela IS An Example to All. He will live on as a shining beacon forever. Not less because he brought to the fore, and showed that both the Dark Side, in combination with Truth, was how to make wisdom triumph. This is a lesson that had escaped Socrates himself.

In his entire life, Mandela did only one thing really wrong: he served a single five year presidential term, instead of two. He could have used the second one to say a few uncomfortable truths he had the stature to present, defend and implement the remedies they called for.

Human Rights: True, Thus Strong

Human Rights: True, Thus Strong

Told, when president, that some youth protested about the absence of enough social change, Mandela lashed out that they should go to school instead. Mandela had a temper. But he knew how to use it for the best. As a ram to tell the truth.

It’s because Mandela could call onto the Dark Side, as needed, that he was able to do all he did. Mandela was a master, not a slave. He preferred to take a chance and die fighting than thrive on his knees.

From kingly lineage, he became a lawyer, and struggled against the racial terror system in South Africa. Then the Apartheid plutocrats resorted to extermination, Mandela responded to the escalation in the only way, the only appropriate way. He brought a bigger  mob to handle the guys with the bigger guns. Mandela switched to physical violence and high explosives.

That, dear pacifists of the morbid type, is how one handles Nazi-like characters. Not by turning the other cheek, but by turning to violence that wins them over. As nothing else will.

That was the inescapable power logic of France’s attack against Hitler, and of the nuclear bombings over Japan: confronted to ultimate violence, only a fiercer violence can dominate… for the better.

Mandela’s armed struggle was the one and only correct decision: only confrontation can beat infamy, submission is collaboration.

Arrested, Mandela risked the death penalty. But the satanic servants of horrors opted for a wiser course, and that’s why 9% of the population of South Africa is still “white”.

It was a tentative des-escalation on their part. And a very wise one: as it turned out, Mandela was the one and only who could reconcile all. And that’s why 9% of the population of South Africa is still “white”.

(Although there was more mixing than generally admitted: the eyes of the otherwise very “black” Desmond Tutu, another Nobel Peace prize who deserved his prize, are… blue. Winnie Mandela’s skin looks also rather white these days, to the point I could not recognize her…)

Things could have still evolved for the worst, as they did, say, in Algeria. But Mandela, once again found the perfect dosage of Enlightenment and Dark Side to knead and transform his jailers’ previously rigid minds.

Mandela refused to call his jailers “boss”. But he learned their language, Afrikaner. He refused to be freed, until his conditions were met.

Mandela knew how much he owed to the Dark Side. He insisted he was not a good man, but real tough and mean. To prove this, he rolled out, a few years ago, that he had beaten his first wife. He insisted, too, that he was no Gandhi.

Gandhi was a pacifist, Mandela was not. Gandhi played saint, Mandela was one. Gandhi played the saint so much, he came down to believe in his all encompassing goodness. He could do not wrong, he thought.

Just as a pilot who thinks he cannot do wrong, and he had just to fly straight ahead, Gandhi crashed into a mountain. A mountain that he had erected himself, by being too much of an Hindu nationalist: the division of the subcontinent along religious lines, in a blood bath that killed millions, several times, and could cause a nuclear war. Relative to this, what he fought against was nothing. Gandhi turned something that was easy to do, and was going to happen anyway, into a disaster.

Mandela did the opposite: he turned something that was nearly impossible to do, into a total success.

Mandela knew people could cause mass mayhem, just by making mistakes, and thus that, in the situation he and De Klerk were, it was crucial to avoid the smallest mistake. And he said so, pointing out De Klerk’s “mistakes”, strenuously, firmly, but, deep down, kindly.

Mandela set-up the Truth & Reconciliation Commission: in exchange for the truth, the worst of the worst were forgiven, and reconciled. This stays a model, a new solution for political situations of this type, where either both sides have been very wrong, or when plutocrats give up power and are forgiven in exchange for explaining how their satanic powers were exerted (the latter revelation automatically disarms them, not just tactically, politically, but also, and most importantly, philosophically).

This is indeed exactly what Socrates failed to implement; big time philosophy in action, for the better, in a war, and racist context.

The Truth and Reconciliation strategy was a gigantic progress, philosophically speaking. Mandela’s contribution to philosophy may have been greater than any made by, say, Socrates, Plato, or Aristotle.

Mandela implemented the highest and most important principle: truth is more important than anything else. Horror, first of all, is enabled by lies.

Truth as the ultimate exercise of power: something for all to meditate, and implement.


Patrice Ayme

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17 Responses to “Mandela, Truth Philosopher”

  1. Paul Handover Says:

    Powerful and compelling tribute to a great man.


  2. Paul Handover Says:

    Mark Mardell, the BBC’s North America correspondent wrote an essay in tribute to Nelson Mandela ( see here ) from which I quote the following:

    “When I shook hands with Mandela, a reporter covering Chancellor Gordon Brown’s visit to South Africa, he was already frail and it was already, for all of us, like visiting a shrine.

    Mr Obama, quoting the man himself, said: “I am not a saint unless you think of saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

    It is as good a definition as any.

    For many, Mandela is the closest the world has to a secular saint.

    Over the next few days we will see his canonisation, and there will be very few who will want to play the part of devil’s advocate.”


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Paul : thanks for commenting. I approve of Mandela at nearly 100% (and DISapprove of Gandhi at nearly the same ratio!)

      Yet the devil’s advocates are already playing on university campuses. And they have a point (that I alluded to). Maybe Mandela was already too frail to do a second presidential term, and too frail to being disgusted enough by the rising corruption to do the something VIOLENT about it that was needed (like prosecuting some of his allies and would-be successors).

      Mandela early on was fully knowledgeable about the theory of Marxism and the like. He was a saint of equality, but he did so to serve the best ideals (the aristocratic ideals: aristo means best). There is little doubt that he was shocked and disapproving of what he saw evolve. But he ran out of life.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Saints are always sinners, because, should they not realize this, they can’t be saints.


  3. Old Geezer Pilot Says:

    The world has lost a great man, but the world was lucky to have had his leadership. The TRC is perhaps the greatest thing ever done by man, for it prevented a gruesome civil war.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Right, OGP. However the percentage of “whites” went from 18% down to 9%… In 20 years…
      The guy who fixed the Obamacare website (supposedly) is immensely rich but he is married to an even richer South African mining plutocrat. And the immensely rich Elon Musk (SolarCity, PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX, etc…) and his sibblings are also from South Africa.

      The fat lady has not sung yet in South Africa, and I don’t think it’s Zuma. Although…


  4. Patrice Ayme Says:

    For what made Mandela deeper than Socrates:


  5. Alexi Helligar Says:

    Good article. There is an problem with repetitious text: “Arrested, Mandela risked the death penalty. But the satanic servants of horrors opted for a wiser course, and that’s why 9% of the population of South Africa is still “white.”


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks Alexi for detecting this! I corrected it right away. Sometimes there are formatting problems that are infuriating. After correcting them, they self correct later, mangling the text anew. Please don’t hesitate to signal such problems and even unhappy mumbo-jumbo (that I am perfectly capable of producing on my own without electronic help!)


  6. Martin Lack Says:

    I think the high point of this post was its opening paragraph. I am afraid much of the rest was very predictable (especially your managing to mention Nazis).

    The BBC’S tribute to Mandela, ‘The Fight for Freedom’ is well worth watching if you are able to (find it on YouTube)… Amongst the most memorable bits were video footage of (1) that Truth and Reconciliation Commission; and (2) an Afrikaaner in the 1950/60s claiming that the misunderstood term ‘Apartheid’ was essentially “good neighbourliness”…!


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks Martin. I think:
      0) You mentioning the Nazis was also very predictable. In the context of what Mandela fought against, racial violence is the most natural thing to mention, and failing to do so would be therefore unnatural, and even less natural it is to be indignant about it.

      1) The main point of the post was that Mandela put truth and reality above everything else, and that had curative properties. This is what Gandhi failed to do, with disastrous results.

      2) The inventors of apartheid were completely entangled with the systems of minds that created Nazism (among similar racisms). Not to mention this would be a logical, not just emotional failure.
      The racist movements that peaked in the 1937-1945 period killed more than 6% of humanity. Today, that would mean 400 million plus killed. Something worth contemplating.

      And it could well happen, once the coming climate apocalypse puts pressure on civilization.

      I do not think that putting truth above everything else could have been predicted to be so beneficial in South Africa. It was a stroke of genius.

      However, I must admit that me doing so, putting truth above everything else is, indeed, predictable! ;-)!

      Today’s essay with explore the principle of deliberately committing errors, so that people can be bound together, with their special brains… That’s why racism so so popular!

      So thanks for your feedback, it helps feed my idea machine…


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      The main violent white army (supported by the Zulus) against Mandela had for symbol a three legs Swastika, complete with the usual red, white, and black. That 70,000 warriors movement was headed by Eugene Terre Blanche (!). He was ultimately killed (and his assassins judged and condemned), but the war with the Zulus killed many thousands.


      • Martin Lack Says:

        As others have noted, Mandela’s greatest success was in preventing civil war between the ANC and the IFP (Zulus). Both ‘Communist and ‘Nazi’ are labels that polemicists devalue by over use; and certainly not words a great man like Mandela would have used in pursuit of truth or reconciliation.


        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Martin: You say:”Both ‘Communist and ‘Nazi’ are labels that polemicists devalue by over use…” Correct, especially as they are generally used as insults, or red herring, such as when the plutocrats accuse their friend Obama to be a “socialist”. However that does not prevent to use them appropriately. The opposition to Mandela used a three-branched Swastika, and they espoused all the important theses of Nazism, explicitly.

          Mandela’s greatest success was to prevent in South Africa what happened in Algeria (15% of the population fled, and hundreds of thousands were massacred).

          This being said, he left the social order just as he had found it, demonstrating that plutocracy does need old fashion racism to reign.PA


  7. Mandela, Algeria, Zizek, Truth | Some of Patrice Ayme's Thoughts Says:

    […] wrote an essay celebrating Mandela using truth as hammer with which to pulverize hatred. This was Mandela’ s primary […]


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