But 'ang on a minnit Guv, as they say in Her Majesty's Prisons, which still occasionally incarcerate perjurers. Has our world view of social mores changed so dramatically that lying is to be regarded as normal?
Or is Campbell trying to win his day in court with a shower of clever verbals? This book is certainly clever. It starts with neo-Darwinism, on the grounds that birds, bees and butterflies were the original great deceivers. Then we are off on an intellectual gallop from the sophistry of the ancient Greeks to the linguistics of President Clinton.
Campbell also takes us over the jumps of enlightenment, Romanticism, structuralism, deconstruction, modernism and postmodernism. So this is not a paperback for the beach or the airport bookstall. Yet Campbell includes several plums of human interest to enliven his sometimes rather stodgy philosophical cake.
Aitken's ruin ends in prison.
Take, for example, the anecdote of Immanuel Kant, the 18th-century sage of Konigsberg whose iron reverence for absolute truth as the core value of human nature defeated many a dialectical opponent. Towards the end of his life, Kant discovered that his manservant of 40 years' standing had been systematically stealing from him. So the manservant was dismissed, only to turn up later with the brass neck to ask his former master for a reference of good character.
Kant wrestled with his conscience and his kindness. The manservant went away with a favourable reference, but one whose mendacity broke the rules and principles to which Kant had dedicated his life.
Conscience rarely gets mentioned by Jeremy Campbell, yet it is surely of crucial importance in answering his thesis. Ever since Adam and Eve, men and women have told lies. Yet it is only comparatively recently that important and previously trusted centres of public communication such as some newspapers and official press offices appear to have become such conscience-free zones that lying no longer matters.
Swept Away by History
Discussing this phenomenon in a recent article in The Spectator, Charles Moore, the editor of this newspaper, perceptively observed that conscience was being replaced by compliance as the modern yardstick of honesty. Let me support that view with a reflection drawn from my own experiences.
At no time have I ever complained, or even thought of complaining, about the price I had to pay for committing perjury over who paid my bill at the Ritz hotel in Paris seven years ago. That was because eventually my conscience told me that what I said on oath and elsewhere about it was a serious moral wrong.
ogozoqosolym.tk: Atul Uchil: Books, Biography, Blogs, Audiobooks, Kindle
Call that a statement of the obvious if you like, but at least my conscience was the driving force in belatedly recognising my wrongdoing and pleading guilty. Uchil is an entrepreneur, business-owner and award-winning author embodying almost three decades of management and consulting experience. Prior to founding The Uchil Group and Uchil, LLC in , Atul spent over nineteen successful years in a variety of senior management roles for several large multinational corporations.
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