As the sun has set on another decade, we retain the memories of past years and bank them for the future when we will need them to remind us of a life we have lived honestly and to the full. We also look forward to what the future will bring. A future which we can and must shape for the benefit of all, a future in which we all can make a difference and reverse what has been lost in our society.
It seems the biggest casualty of recent years has been the truth, and with it honesty and integrity. We have seen a disregard for the truth manifest throughout our society, where being honest in both words and actions no longer seems to matter. Where integrity is no longer of value and is something that is infinitely pliable, to be manipulated in trying to convince others that what is said is true. This distortion in what is actually true, destroys an individual’s ability to trust. Indeed, who can you trust if all around we are fed information through the media purporting to be true, even though the originators of the message know it is not. Recent political campaigning is an example of how the truth can become warped to try to attract support, to try to convince, saying what people want to hear rather than what is truthful or indeed realistic.
When information is spun, exaggerated, distorted, or elaborated to convince others or to deliberately manipulate a situation, to cover up, distract or hide what is true; we are on a slippery slope to a society where trust gets lost.
What is of greater concern is the thinking of those motivated to compromise on the truth or to promote alternative ideologies for personal gain? What values drive their actions and to what vision of society do they aspire? Dishonesty breeds distrust, it creates division and leads to a culture of falsehood. It destroys families and communities and enables cynicism and scepticism to flourish. So what can we believe?
The values we hold are based on what we believe and they inform our behaviour. Lack of belief, particularly in the power of humanity, gives rise to inconsistent values and behaviours which are self-interested and as opposed to being in the interests of others. There is also a great risk that those values will give rise to delusional views, which in turn enable those espousing them, to justify their own rhetoric or lies.
It is time for those who seek truth, honesty and integrity, who believe in the good that can be found, to hold those in positions of authority to account. To encourage everyone to speak the truth, to build a culture of trust, to believe, to hope and to create a society where selfless actions will make a difference. A society where the kindness prevails, where we can accept what are told and where our learning is inspired by those who are true to themselves.