Occupying the mind 12

Thursday 5th January 2012

KARL Marx, clever chap though he was, does not, in my opinion, hold all the aces; nor do Einstein, Shakespeare, Jesus Christ, Darwin, Da Vinci, Aristotle, or the Large Hadron Collider. The sum of human knowledge is exactly that: a sum.

Nobody has a monopoly on the whole truth, nothing but the truth.

It is disappointing, however, to note how slipshod we’ve become about it; how ham-fisted and lackadaisical. We’re in danger of giving truth a bad name.

For three and a half months, I have been paying close attention to the Occupy movement: news reports, eye-witness accounts, online blogs, Facebook threads, and countless commentaries. I have discussed the issues with friend and foe, grappled with macro-economics, re-visited the works of distinguished political theorists and historians.

Ask me almost any question on matters ranging from thermal imaging to pepper spray, from jazz hands to the Remembrancer, and I could bend your ear for a good hour or two.

What you would hear would be as authentic and informed a reply as I could muster. It would be a sort of truth – mine – but no more than that. There is too much evidence to sift and the hours in each day are too few.

Archaeology, I’m beginning to realise, is one of the more honest endeavours, undertaken by a different breed of truth-seekers.

Their aim is to solve, not dissolve; to extract not dilute; to find that one single grain of sand in the bucket that illuminates rather than blurs knowledge. There is a purity to this science that has been long overlooked by those for whom ‘the facts’ mean merely whatever interpretation best suits them at the time.

It will be for later generations, not ours, to determine the significance of Occupy, for it is, as yet, but a fledgling, squawking its way along the shore’s newest tide-line, finding its feet among the jetsam of a world too perfunctory in its search for understanding, too slapdash in its rush to crush truth under bulldozer and bulletin.

But the sands are forever shifting.

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