Sunday, January 24, 2010
Of Paradox and Big Winners
Last week, Jason Veron Francisco received negative label from his fellow housemates in Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) Double Up, the most popular reality television show in the country today aired over ABS-CBN. You may click here for PBB’s website. He lied most, they say. So, he’s the liar in the house.
Jason, an avid fan of Robin Padilla, born October 11, 1987 in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro is one of the strong contenders so far for the current edition of the show’s “Big Winner”. We are both born in this island called Mindoro. I cannot imagine what would happen if I declare this philosophical paradox : “All Mindoreños are liars.” ?
Before I get the ire of my fellow Mindoreños and Jason’s million of fans and followers (including his Argonauts) and the PBB in general, allow me to share you a story behind the above-mentioned paradox. This is known as the “Paradox of the Liar” usually attributed to Epimenides although it was actually devised by Eubilides. Epimenides, who was a Cretan, was supposed to have said, “All Cretans are liars.”
The problem is : Is he telling the truth or not? It seems that if the sentence is true, then it is false. But if it is false, then it is true. A tempting way out is to suppose that the problem is to do with the notion of self-reference, that Epimenides was referring to himself when he said “All Cretans are liars”. After all, the most favorite interpretation of the paradox is, “This sentence is false!” But if we try to analyze, we would find out that the sentence is not true or false but meaningless. It proves nothing for it is void of any meaning. On its surface, it may appear to make sense but in reality it is something of no use so better not said at all. Forget about of philosophy and showbiz, let us go to local politics.
Honesty in politics is something you will rarely find, they say. Elections are just few sleeps away so lies are, more than ever, occupies every spaces of our social life as fatal as an airborne virus. But sad thing is,- at least on the outset, lies are accepted by the majority of the people here in our province. Do our people really like to be willing victims of liars with their lies? According to Hannah Arendt, author of the book “Lying in Politics” : “Lies are often much more plausible, more appealing to reason, than reality, since the liar has the great advantage of knowing beforehand what the audience wishes or expects to hear.” From what I have observed, I think there’s a widespread acceptance of political lying and deceit here in Occidental Mindoro where truth is falsified or misrepresented.
When truthfulness is no longer among political virtues and lies have been regarded as justifiable tools in political dealings, then we are all in deep shi.., err,- septic tank. Because when society loses sight of the distinction between fact and fiction, truth-telling and lying, all of the conditions of democracy are rendered trivial and reduced to a collection of dull or nonsensical remarks, which in turn breed moral indifference and political meaninglessness. And the rest is by and large, a moral disaster.
Our politicians are sending a message to our youth that any lie is okay or permissible as long as it accomplishes our province’s “progress” and “development” (read : infrastructures and other social services) and all that conditions that the liars set. So, lie by saying you respect life and then applaud your boss even he’s the co-author the Reproductive Health bill. Lie about being a pro-environment advocate and then allow the company you manage to promote mining operations. Lie about being friendly to your critics in the media and badmouth them at any opportune time and place. Lie about the information you feed to your patron about your fellow journalists and then agitate him to lambast them. There are too many cases I wish to cite but because of lack of space, and I am just presenting four particular issues or incidents. With these, what messages are we sending to young Mindoreños from this west coast side when we lie to the gums?
Majority of the people accept and love to hear lies, but they do not believe them. They believe in the opposite of what the liars say. That is what I believe.
And at the end of the day, they will hail the most truthful politician (or housemate?) and declare him or her as their “Big Winner” …
(Photo of housemate Jason Francisco from PBB Double Up Website)