The Truth, Obscured

“A lie told often enough becomes the truth,” said Lenin.

But what happens to the truth when it’s repeated often enough?

The first time someone said, “Smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone,” the words must have had quite an impact. The freshness of the phrasing, the newness of the thought must have been profound, quite capable of inducing an epidemic of epiphanies.

But now, years later, the words have become worn and tired from overuse.

The internet, by its capacity to repeat lies often and loudly, catalyzes the transformation of lies into truth. But in some kind of reverse alchemy, the internet also transforms truth into cliche – profound statements transformed into blog posts, then viral emails, before finding their way into the mainstream media, and public consciousness, after which, it’s only a short ride into a hallmark card.

So, here it is then, Mr Lenin: “A truth told often enough becomes a cliché.”

April 2, 2009 | 10:08 am | By Dr Shyam Bhat