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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Saying the Truth in this Era of Information Management

Written by: Muoka Chibuzor G

Sophocles an ancient Greek tragedian writer, and Gautama Buddha a teacher who founded Buddism, the worlds 4th famous religion, quite had ideologies that contrasted each other.

Sophocles said, "Not all things are to be discovered; many are better concealed." Then Gautama Buddha said, "It is better to speak unpleasant truth than to tell lies."  This two great scholars Sophocles and Gautama are correct to certain degrees of reasonability. However, the essence of this article is not to relegate nor tarnish the relevance of the truth, but rather to re-examine and question the position the “truth” should occupy in this modern era of insatiable yearning for information management. Whether one instigates falsehood or champions the truth, the most obvious fact to bear in mind is that information is being passed across at the moment, and this information should not be divulged for the destruction of mankind, but rather it should be disseminated within the confines of morality for the wholesomeness of mankind.

One may ask, what does "Information Management" mean? According to the Wikipedia, Information management (IM) is the collection and management (proper use) of information from one or more sources, and the distribution (dissemination) of that information to one or more audience. This sometimes involves those who have a stake in, or a right to that information and not just to anyone.

Clearly, the above definition emphasized the fact that not everyone is entitled to some form of information be it the truth or lie. The gross mismanagement of information in this era of digitalization has exposed man to unanticipated conflict. Furthermore, it has been one of the causes of warring and disharmony in the world today. People can even say the truth with several ulterior motives, maybe to primarily satisfy selfish interests that might be of no benefit to others. They first seek for the weaknesses of a man, and they finally use it to pull him down, while concealing their weaknesses.

Beyond comparison, the truth stands as a form of information and has been the ancient liberator of mankind. Saying the truth is one of the ways to avert injustice. Thus, the saying that "Only the truth can set one free" wasn't a child's play in the first place. According to Franklin D. Roosevelt, “The truth is found when men are free to pursue it.” The truth is not to be feared nor condemned; it just requires adequate understanding and maturity to be able to handle it. It’s a general desire and an inherent character of man to seek after uncovering the truth. This (the truth) as its name sounds is a hidden fact that should be told or expressed as information, so as to create some form of excitement or relief to the beneficiaries. Telling the truth to make one sad is often better than telling a lie to make one smile, and to some extent, there are reasons to agree with Gautama Buddha.

After several questioning, it was revealed that the truth normally emerges in loneliness from the shackles of secrecy. The truth is often held like a pitiable prisoner within the hearts of men; it often took great courage and resolves to release the truth, the sole prisoner of living consciences. The dead don't give information, although spiritualism claims they do. Hence, one may wish to willingly grant this belief the benefit of doubt, and avoid living in a fool’s paradise.

One of the reasons why the truth is always in secrecy is that of its enormous powers to unsettle even the tiniest pebbles lying beneath the oceans, and in the course awaking sleeping eyes and ruthless empires that must have accumulated enormous powers to exert enormous influence and change. Another reason for the truth being enclosed in secrecy is because some individuals are incapable of handling classified secrets, they talk with both sides of their mouth, gossiping a lot and mistakenly or consciously they release secrets in the guise of doing a favour to their friends who could immediately turn into their enemy assuming what was said wasn’t in their personal interest.

We should be willing to tell ourselves the truth, and that is, no man, not even God Himself is devoid of secrets. A scholar once asked, what’s the secret of God’s power? And everyone suddenly kept mute, as its a secret hidden from mankind. Therefore, every man has a secret. It’s not evil to have secrets, these secrets are information that we can only give to highly trustworthy ally(s) if necessity calls for it. Having secrets becomes evil when its continuous hideousness from light only causes nothing but troubles and darkness, becoming destructive rather than constructive. Christians may pause at this juncture to reflect on why God warned Adam and Eve about the tree of knowledge of which they were forbidden to eat from, else they die. In essence, the tree was an embodiment of secrecy of which God kept Adam and Eve away from.

It is obvious that most religious books advocates for the truth to be told in any situation, for secrets to be revealed at all cost, but a few or none speaks about the several factors that often hinders the truth in the first place, or under which conditions should the truth be withheld. From deductive reasoning, if there is no secret, there is no revelation. If there should be any sort of revelation, it should be for people who are matured enough in mind and character, and not just for anyone. People who would use the information the right way, and not the wrong way. At this juncture, one may seek to agree with Sophocles's ideology of information conservation. Christians may also want to reflect on the relevance of the last book of the Bible (New Testament), the Book of Revelation (Apocalypse) as probably written by apostle John while in the island of Patmos, off the coast of present-day Turkey, and why its content still poses a mystery to Christendom.

Naturally, life keeps man in perpetual awe by exposing him to perennial discovery. These discoveries were present right from the inception of life, but they were hidden from him. The Christians may also love to recall at this moment, what the Snake said to Eve to be able to lure her into eating the forbidden fruit. The Truth often becomes a scarce commodity when people decide not to release some information which they often consider as being too powerful to be handled by another.

Inasmuch as the truth must be told, it would be foolhardy to disregard the fact that some ears are totally too weak to hear it. Some eyes are also clearly so dim to see it and some hearts are dangerously so violent to bear it. There are some ears that should not hear the truth because more harm than good would result from their acknowledgement of the truth. It’s now left for us as individuals based on our respective personalities, to make our priorities on whom and whom not to leak information to. This fact is so true and in one way or the other, the reader must have acknowledged that it’s not everyone that he or she easily opens-up to.

This could be related to the recent escalation of drug abuse in Nigeria when the youths discovered from several chemists, pharmacists, and doctors, the hidden truth about the pain-relieving effects of drugs like codeine and tramadol. They decided to start taking these drugs in alarming amounts without prescriptions and unconsciously nosedived into drug addiction. They became societal deviants, causing nuisances in the society as drug addicts. To curtail the ill-repute brought by medical information mismanagement, the contemporary Nigerian government had no other option than to put an embargo on the importation of these drugs and restrict their usage to only stringent conditions under professional supervision. While instructing security agencies to arrest anyone found possessing these drugs illegally.

Interestingly, there are even some sorts of truths that can even evoke a 3rd world war, assuming powerful nations get to learn about them. Albert Einstein said, "I know not with what weapons the World War 3 will be fought with, but World War 4 will surely be fought with sticks and stones."
This means that the world has evolved so much that the eruption of a war probably as a result of information mismanagement can possibly bring unbearable sorrow and unforeseen extermination of mankind by rendering the earth inhabitable. Looking back to the past, during the Second World War (1939 to 1945) in which Britain, the Soviet Union, the United States and France fought Germany, Italy and Japan. The United States unleashed their nuclear bombs on two Japanese cities - Hiroshima and Nagasaki and caused irredeemable damage to these cities, of which till today, those cities never remained the same. Even the USA military who released the nuclear bombs could not believe the aftermath of their actions.

When this horrific event occurred, almost every sovereign nation hibernated in fear and proceeded with the unmitigated audacity to produce and preserve their own nuclear weapons of mass destruction, having seen the bloody glory and its incomparable destructive effects. If we are to verify the approximate amount of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in the world today, both the ones we know about and the ones built and kept in secret for the doomsday, one would discover that it would be enough to eliminate billions of people and put an end to the existence of humanity. A great tragedy it would then be. And then, the lonely survivors of such mayhem would sit in sorrow to ask themselves, the essence or benefits of the revelation of the secrets (truths) that destroyed the world and left it in irreparable devastation.

Even in personal relationships, we should be careful what we say to one another. One should not speak because he or she has a mouth. One should only speak what needs to be said to the right people at the right time. And not to the wrong people at the right time nor to the right people at the wrong time. Several people have suffered injustice not because the truth wasn't revealed but rather the timing for the revelation of the truth had made the truth lose its potency and efficacy. According to Peter Shepherd, “communication is the solvent of all problems and is the foundation for personal development.” Always say the truth for when it is needed, but don't say what you cant fully stand behind.

Also, unimaginable destructive events have taken place beyond human expectations because the truth was revealed probably at the peak of an already existing conflict. Therefore, timing is of great importance in information management. In addition, how information is presented also plays a great role in averting or escalating wars. That has to do with the motives behind its presentation. That's why a medical doctor will always beat about the bush, trying to examine the patient and relatives, estimating their level of competence to handle information, before blowing the horn of unexpected results especially when the medical result is totally annoying and disheartening.

In conclusion, the bitter lesson about an experience is not learning from the experience itself. If we can adopt the ethics of information management, the possibility of a society devoid of clashes and chaos would be a close reality, bearing in mind that a world totally free of conflict is a mirage. If we shall decide to speak when asked and say the truth when it’s needed, so many looming crises occurring in the world today would be nipped in the bud, and only then would the idea of information management be perfectly justified. 


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