Truth, Fake and Fiction

Truth is a slippery one where it really shouldn’t be; but the trouble is that we are humans, not machines.  Most of what we say when we ‘tell the truth’ is from our memory.  And our memories are conditioned by our emotions.  Very few of us like to hear or even admit ‘home truths’; we prefer a slightly sanitised version of ourselves.  Self-justification which is a facet of self-preservation is one of our primary instincts.  But some things are surely un-deniable truths – aren’t they? Having always loved History I have noticed that revisions (of even recent History) are constantly happening so we cannot even be sure of Historical facts, current values seem to affect the past.  But being truthful, or as truthful as you can allow yourself to be, is obviously a good thing – but the most important is to be true to yourself, no matter how hard that can be.

Fake however is far more sinister.  The deliberate alteration of photographs and videos to present a ‘different’ truth is like a cancer in our society.  There is barely an image in ‘style’ magazines which is untouched, presenting impossible ikons for our youngsters to both try to emulate and feel depressed when they cannot achieve the impossible.  The internet, unfortunately, is full of ‘fake’ news purporting to be real.  And we, the uninformed public become more and more confused as the likes of Trump accuse the ‘official’ media of themselves peddling fake news.  Another aspect of fake I have always been interested in is ‘fake’ Art.  Much of which is incredibly well executed and as beautiful and interesting as the original might have been.  To my mind it simply exposes the nonsense ‘values’ put on Old (and many newer) Masters, many of whom died without being rewarded for their skills. The whole ownership of Art is ridiculous.   If something is beautiful does it matter if it really was by Cezanne or Monet, or if it is simply a beautifully painted ‘fake’.

Fiction is the most interesting.  I write fiction and to me nothing could be nearer the truth.  By wrapping my words in the voice of ‘made-up’ characters and narrators I can actually lose my own, sometimes guilty, conscience.  I can then tell the truth.  I have read ‘fiction’ all my life, and have learnt far more about human nature, love and desires and emotions and our frailties than from ‘real’ life.  I have never read a really truthful autobiography, it is almost impossible to separate the truth from our connection to events, we always try to paint a better picture.  For me, fiction is simply a device for telling the truth.