We don’t want to get used to it. Nor make lite of it. We don’t want to shrug and say, “He’s just being who he is!” as though that was both excuse and pardon for behavior and speech that is . . . troubling . . . and unfortunate.
According to James Murphy’s translation of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”:
“In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.”
The text continues:
“It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.”Cheslaw Milosz wrote:
If among pairs of opposites which we use every day, the opposition of life and death has such an importance, no less importance should be ascribed to the oppositions of truth and falsehood, of reality and illusion.
Only if we assume that a poet constantly strives to liberate himself from borrowed styles in search for reality, is he dangerous. In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot. And, alas, a temptation to pronounce it, similar to an acute itching, becomes an obsession which doesn't allow one to think of anything else. That is why a poet chooses internal or external exile. It is not certain, however, that he is motivated exclusively by his concern with actuality. He may also desire to free himself from it and elsewhere, in other countries, on other shores, to recover, at least for short moments, his true vocation - which is to contemplate Being.
(--from, Czeslaw Milosz - Nobel Lecture, 8 December 1980)Saying truth is elusive mirrors Heidegger’s saying that truth conceals as much as it reveals.
In letting beings as a whole be, which discloses and at the same time conceals, it happens that concealing appears as what is first of all concealed. Insofar as it ek-sists, Da-sein conserves the first and broadest undisclosedness, untruth proper. The proper non-essence of truth is the mystery. Here non-essence does not yet have the sense of inferiority to essence in the sense of what is general (koinon genos), its possibilitas and the ground of its possibility. Non-essence is here what in such a sense would be a pre-essential essence. But "non-essence" means at first and for the most part the deformation of that already inferior essence. Indeed, in each of these significations the non-essence remains always in its own way essential to the essence and never becomes inessential in the sense of irrelevant. But to speak of non-essence and untruth in this manner goes very much against the grain of ordinary opinion and looks like a dragging up of forcibly contrived paradoxes. Because it is difficult to eliminate this impression, such a way of
speaking, paradoxical only for ordinary doxa (opinion), is to be renounced. But surely for those who know about such matters the “non-” of the primordial non-essence of truth, as untruth, points to the still unexperienced domain of the truth of Being (not merely of beings).
Man errs. Man does not merely stray into errancy. He is always astray in errancy, because as ek- sistent he in-sists and so already is caught in errancy. The errancy through which man strays is not something which, as it were, extends alongside man like a ditch into which he occasionally stumbles; rather errancy belongs to the inner constitution of the Da-sein into which historical man is admitted. Errancy is the free space for that turning in which insistent ek-sistence adroitly forgets and mistakes itself constantly anew. The concealing of the concealed being as a whole holds sway in that disclosure of specific beings, which, as forgottenness of concealment, becomes errancy.
Errancy is the essential counter-essence to the primordial essence of truth. Errancy opens itself up as the open region for every opposite to essential truth. Errancy is the open site for and ground of error. Error is not just an isolated mistake but rather the realm (the domain) of the history of those entanglements in which all kinds of erring get interwoven.
(--from, On the Essence of Truth, by Martin Heidegger. Date of original version: 1943)Perhaps the real estate salesman turned president is become, for us, a meditation on errancy and concealment.
But we are not as opaque as Heidegger, nor as poetic as Milosz.
We are simple creatures intent on imprinting what we experience, as Conrad Lorenz studied:
In the latter part of his career, Lorenz applied his ideas to the behaviour of humans as members of a social species, an application with controversial philosophical and sociological implications. In a popular book, Das sogenannte Böse (1963; On Aggression), he argued that fighting and warlike in man have an inborn basis but can be environmentally modified by the proper understanding and provision for the basic instinctual needs of human beings. Fighting in lower animals has a positive survival function, he observed, such as the dispersion of competitors and the maintenance of territory. Warlike tendencies in humans may likewise be ritualized into socially useful behaviour patterns. In another work, Die Rückseite des Spiegels: Versuch einer Naturgeschichte menschlichen Erkennens (1973; Behind the Mirror: A Search for a Natural History of Human Knowledge), Lorenz examined the nature of human thought and intelligence and attributed the problems of modern civilization largely to the limitations his study revealed.
(--Konrad Lorenz, AUSTRIAN ZOOLOGIST )The question could be posed: Are we, the citizens of the USA, imprinting the chief executive of the executive branch of government? Or, is he imprinting the citizens of this country -- himself a creature of the culture he so unawaredly foists himself and his opinions upon -- to the consternation and paralytic unbelief of the majority of the voting populace?
The final numbers:
Clinton received 65,844,610 votes, or 48.2% of the total vote.
Trump received 62,979,636 votes, or 46.1% of the total vote. (That's a difference of 2.86 million votes.)