Truth versus Power

POETRY FORMAT, 24 February 2014

John Scales Avery – TRANSCEND Media Service

Henry David Thoreau said
“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth”.
Why did Thoreau prefer truth to all else?
Does not money deserve to be worshiped?
Does not fame deserve to be worshiped?
Does not power deserve to be worshiped?
I think that I agree with Thoreau,
Except, that I might sometimes prefer love to truth.

But to me, power seems ugly,
Because power means coercion.
It means making another person do something
By force or by threats.
The power of armies is ugly.
The power of governments is often ugly,
When they are not guided by ethics,
When they are not guided by truth.

A good friend said to me,
“What power do NGO’s have?”
I answered. “No power at all
They only have truth.
And NGO’s must criticize governments,
When they are not guided by compassion,
When they are not guided by ethics
When they are not guided by truth.”

A good friend said to me,
“Is not truth often painful?”
I answered “Yes it is often painful,
But pain can be our friend,
Pain tells us to withdraw our hand
So that a fire will not burn it.
Pain tells us to withdraw our folly,
So that our beautiful world will not burn.”

A good friend said to me,
“Believe this and you will be happy,
Believe this or you will suffer,
Believe this or you will be punished”
I answered, “Where is the evidence?
I answered, “Where is the logic?
If there is good evidence and logic,
Then I will believe it.”

A good friend said to me,
“Believe this because everyone believes it”
I answered “I am myself.
I have my own truth.
Crowds often have been wrong.
Multitudes have rushed down false paths.
I will not follow them.
I will be guided by compassion and truth.”

A good friend said to me,
“You are standing alone.
You are only one person.
You have so little power!”
I answered, “I am not alone.
Many people can see the truth,
Together we can change the world.
In the end, truth and love will win”
________________________________

John Scales Avery, Ph.D. is a member of the TRANSCEND Network and Associate Professor Emeritus at the H.C. Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is chairman of both the Danish National Pugwash Group and the Danish Peace Academy and received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London. He is the author of numerous books and articles both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. His most recent book is http://www.learndev.org/dl/Crisis21-Avery.pdf.

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 24 February 2014.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Truth versus Power, is included. Thank you.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider a donation to TMS and click here.

Share or download this article:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.


Comments are closed.