No Reconciliation Without Better Truth

Can we have true peace without truth about the conflict it is supposed to put an end to?


An excellent example is World War One. It caused World War Two, because the war did not expose the truth. Instead the lousy peace of 1919 nurtured bigger lies, and tolerance for horrendous war crimes. On the German side. The mistake was not renewed in 1945. In 1945, truth was allowed to crush a lot of (German) lies. (Lies made in the USA, or UK, were allowed to prosper, though…)

On August 1, 1914, the fascist German dictatorship headed by the so-called “Kaiser” Wilhelm II, had attacked, by surprise, the world in general, and the French Republic in particular (knowing full well Britain was going to declare war, but hoping to crush France before Britain could raise an army, and before Russia against which it had declared war to, became a problem).

In 1919, the Peace Conference in Paris brought no prosecution for the so-called “Rape of Belgium” (it was worse than rape, as it involved, well documented examples of the most atrocious crimes, such as deliberately Prussian troops killing Belgium toddlers, after an immensely costly counter-attack of the French army, which had strangely infuriated the Teutonic invaders).

After attacking France, Luxembourg and Belgium, the German empire proceeded to deploy a whole panoply of war crimes (the Allies answered in kind for gas attacks, but only for gas attacks: the first gas killed thousands of French troops and would have caused a hole in the front, had the Germans been more ready for it).

This lack of prosecution for German war crimes was not just a lack of prosecution of criminals, but also a lack of pursuit of truth.

All what German military personnel retained from the non-prosecution of their horrendous crimes, starting with war of aggression, was that the Allies did not mind war crimes. Adolf Hitler himself wrote that the Armenian genocide had been well accepted, and that the will of democracies and Christians was too weak to do anything for this sort of things.


One of Gandhi’s Errors:

Most of the following quote is entirely correct. Yet it is poisoned with an insidious error. Contrarily to what Gandhi thought, the truth is not about “You” always. The truth is not just about “being you“. All sorts of fanatics were very much about being themselves all too much, throughout history. Sometimes, being “You” is a disease. And a contagious, lethal one.

Gandhi Was Confused: “Being You” & Being Correct Are Not The Same.  Yesterday's You Is Not Necessarily Tomorrow's Truth

Gandhi Was Confused: “Being You” & Being Correct Are Not The Same. Yesterday’s You Is Not Necessarily Tomorrow’s Truth


Truth & Reconciliation Commission Saved South Africa:

Mandela’s stroke of genius was to enable the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. Truth & Reconciliation allowed South Africa to defuse great racial exploitation and its attending hatred, and the potential for terrible vengeance. (Contemplate Rwanda, or Shri Lanka for a different approach: terrible war and crushing victory.)

How did truth do it in South Africa? How does truth reduce aversion?

Whenever truth is revealed, and comes to rule, minds are changed. However changing brains requires energy, thus effort, pain. And any system of truth is related to a socio-economic order, a hierarchy. New and improved truth threatens existing hierarchies. They often resist, using whatever it takes. Thus the rule of new and improved truth often brings blood, sweat, and tears.

Thus we see that truth can (momentarily) augment aversion, emotion, even passion. So how can it improve matters? By changing “You”.

Some specialists have claimed that a terrible civil war such as seen in Cambodia (superficially caused by a sort of left wing fascism), was facilitated by a (Buddhist inspired) aversion to truth.

Therefore any mentality which privileges aversion to aversion above anything else, will see no reconciliation with truth. Searching for better truth is a war against one’s own past and present perception of reality.

However, if one is not reconciled with truth, one keeps strong aversions inspired by past tribalism, something antagonistic to a globalized world.

The truth is that racism, the aversion for people of different color or origin, is not just unjustified, but a source of harm.

In the case of South Africa, the USA, people had to learn that truth. Forcefully. And fast. How does one learn the truth? By being exposed to the truth. Generally people who have done something wrong, or who are wrong, have a strong aversion to truth, as it will expose them to loss of privilege, or punition.

The Truth & Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, removed the element of punishment, and thus the main reason for NOT telling the truth. So the truth blossomed.

Truth Saved Germany After 1945:

When Germany got denazified after May 1945, a similar process was engaged (this time by an exterior agent, the occupying Allies). The Germans themselves, in the following decades, learned to embrace the process of finding the truth about Nazism.

I am glad that, in an exchange in Scientia Salon, “SocratesGadfly” found me “not all wrong about Gandhi“. However he cautioned that “even if these gentlemen, Jesus, MLK, etc., weren’t perfect, they still stood out above the general crowd, and there’s still things to learn from them.”

What about things NOT to learn from them? Although I have no complaint about Martin Luther King. Jesus, though, apparently willing to teach violence for no good reason, has also things to teach us NOT to imitate.

Nowadays, at least 99% of people in the West do not think that killing people just because they are not Christian is justified, so we have got out of the Jesus trance. However, in the Middle Ages, the (“Christian”) establishment thought “heresy” (“exerting a choice”) was worthy of the death penalty.

What I reproach to Gandhi was to view the minor problem (getting the British exploitation of India to stop) to be major, whereas obviously the major problem was the 1,000 war, inside India, with Islam.

Confusing a major problem, and hiding it behind, a minor one, is a primordial cause of aversion. That Gandhi and his followers may only understand when nukes start exploding over South Asia.

In general, as the quote from Gandhi above shows, Gandhi failed to realize that truth starts, first as an effort against oneself. Finding new truth is never about protecting one’s old self.

Patrice Ayme’

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7 Responses to “No Reconciliation Without Better Truth”

  1. gmax Says:

    Philosotruth? I wrote a comment but it got lost… Here in the good ol’ USA, people don’t kid with religion. Touch Jesus, Islam, Gandhi, Buddhism, and they feel you are toxic. Pretty sick IMHO


  2. Kevin Berger Says:

    Ok, in no particular order, a few questions (real ones, not disguised snark or rethorical ones).

    “Truth Saved Germany After 1945”
    How real, how deep was denazification, really? Both internationally (case in point, the USA) and domestically? Is today’s “German mindset” that far removed from yesterday’s (case in point, Germany’s recent conduct in the EU)? The Nazi’s enablers are still here, untouched, unpunished, how can there be truth?
    Hell, I’d even say that as WWII fades more and more into History, it becomes a mythology, if not a religion, a onction divine if you will (case in point, the system below, its drivers, its collaborators and its parasites). Where is the truth, where there is myth only?

    “What I reproach to Gandhi was to view the minor problem (getting the British exploitation of India to stop) to be major,”
    What about TINA? The “major” problem is not the above-mentioned Islam in this case, but the global (Anglo, it never can hurts to point out) exploitation system you rail against, which is triumphing overall (and thus exhausting itself, along with everything else).
    There is no jumping out of the runaway train, because, well, TINA, as the cunt said so nicely, so… what, then?

    “whereas obviously the major problem was the 1,000 (years) war, inside India, with Islam.”
    En Français, puisque l’on parle de la famille, ici… Quid de la France, donc? Et de ses nouvelles populations et nouvelles religions?
    Une guerre de mille ans en vue, avec création à terme d’un Pakistan, breton j’imagine? En sachant que la France n’est pas l’Inde, et n’a ni son coussin démographique, ni son étendue.
    Quoi, alors, le Brésil? Les USA? la Russie? Mais l’on change alors de civilisation, toujours sans le confort d’une superficie étendue.
    L'”empire intérieur”, qui fait cohabiter puis fusionner des peuples différents? Accouchement dans la douleur, il faudra se faire violence de part et d’autre, le modèle “Français” qui croque et digère l’altérité avec tout ce que cela implique de violence morale infligée et subie (“vergogna”, je crois que c’était le terme) et d’abandon du cadre mental actuel (càd de ce système global, qui est la maladie systémique interdisant la pensée même de la guérison) – et probablement de violence physique au moins occasionnelle ou résiduelle en retour ou en appui.
    Uniquement de mauvaises solutions, d’inconfortables à fatales, dans les pires conditions à venir,… et tout ça pour…???


  3. Kevin Berger Says:

    Sorry, I was just trying to be cute : TINA is the neoliberal “there is no alternative (to their dogma, to their policies)” mantra, made popular by Thatcher I seem to recall (Dominique II will correct if necessary).
    And, yes, the upcoming free trade agreements across the Pacific and Atlantic, are perfect illustrations of that.
    Small wonder a significant minority, both on the left and right, is rooting for the BRICs, Putin, the late Chavez in his time,… because if there indeed is no alternative, then grasping at straws and dotting on Vladimir and lending him (his public personae) all sort of moral and even spiritual qualities suddenly makes lots of sense. An imaginary alternative is better than none, I’d imagine.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks Kevin… “TINA”… Sort of nice. My name for it is Intellectual Fascism.
      I answered (some of your) questions in a small essay yesterday. Rushed, because I have little time. No essay today…


  4. Patrice Ayme Says:

    [Sent to NYT, June 2.]

    What should be discouraged is the telling of lies. How to discard lies? By rolling out theories. “Theory” means actually, point of view. Thus the rolling out of point of views ought to be encouraged.

    However, when something is certain, say the deliberate assassination of most of European Jews by the top leadership of the Nazi Party in a semi-secret program, it should be labelled officially as a truth.

    So there is a need for an official agency giving various shades of truth and truthiness. A bit such as, but generalized to all fields.

    The “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” in South Africa worked because, before being reconciled, in depth and permanently, one has to build from reality. The reality of what happened which was injurious, and what led to it. This is what has to be generalized.

    One absolutely cannot use the “feel good factor” as the way to find the truth. Why? Because finding the truth is brainwork, therefore it always requires work, an effort, it’s guaranteed to be always painful. Those who refuse, at the outset not to pay the price, not to do the work for truth, those who confuse reality and feel-good-now need to understand that being driven by their comfort zone makes them intrinsic enemies of truth. They can be, but they do not deserve more respect than drug addicts, as they work from the same basic principle.

    Love of ego is not love of truth.


  5. All We Need Is Truth | Patrice Ayme's Thoughts Says:

    […] So what’s the philosophy we need? No reconciliation without better truth. […]


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