the naked truth

We haven’t forgotten the wisdom of The Emperor’s New Clothes

I often hear that story referenced after a leader states a naked lie as fact.

Good—but let’s not lose this important detail…

No one dared to mention the emperor’s nakedness, because if he did, he’d be declared unfit for his job…

Yes—people kept quiet for financial reasons.

A cynic might say: the child who spoke the truth had nothing to lose.  Okay, point taken.  However, plenty of modern-day whistleblowers are willing to speak up, though they know they might lose their jobs, their careers, their houses.  Often, they end up filing for bankruptcy.  They receive death threats.  Whistleblowing is hazardous to your health and well-being.  And yet people still accept the risk.

Ironically, our whistleblowers often start out as “true believers”…

They believe in the integrity of their company, their organization, their governmental agency.  They believe in the righteousness of a cause.  They believe in their work…

So when they discover an ugly truth, they can’t just shrug and say, “that’s the way of the world—everyone does it”, as a cynic would.  No, they feel the wrong must be righted.  Integrity must be restored.  So they speak up…

And as a result, often get nailed to a cross—to borrow a symbol from another well-known story.  Another whistleblower story.  Like whistleblowers of other eras, Jesus spoke truth to power and paid the price.

I like to imagine, if faced with a choice, I’d speak out—no matter the risk.  Maybe I could surmount my fear by reminding myself: Jesus rose from the dead.

Which is to say: I could emerge from the ordeal a better man.

A cynic might claim: whistleblowers are foolishly naive.  But I say naiveté has its place—it can open our eyes or it can blind us.  Because she was naive, the little girl spoke the truth and thus, freed the townspeople from their pretense.

That’s what I call “good naive”.

Of course, not all who claim to speak the truth speak truthfully.  Unlike the child, they often have a secret agenda, or else, they’re driven by neurotic fear.  That’s bad naive.

Such folk are lost.  But they can find their way again—if they’ll allow a child to lead them.  That is: their own clear-eyed inner child.

Some may say that’s a fool’s hope…

But I’ve seen it happen.  I’ve seen people reverse course.  So I don’t think I’m being naive.  But if I am, it’s good naive.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: a poetry book


About Michael Patton

I am a poet, novelist, and fabulist...A new mythologist, a peace miller, a dream worker...I don't qualify as an illustrator or photographer--I just "make pictures"...I have thirteen books available at amazon... I currently reside in northwest Arkansas, but have lived and worked all over the United States... I'm self-taught, for the most part--which is like searching for the right door in the dark. It's an on-going process.... I don't want to write MY story, I want OUR story, so that's what I'm studying: the human story: past, present, future, in its many aspects--including the spiritual. I'm proceeding at a slow crawl.... I don't see the inner world and outer world as separate. By learning about myself, I learn about others, I learn about my world.... Conversely, as I struggle to understand what I see OUT THERE, I learn about myself.... But to be clear: I don't claim any special understanding. I'm still purblind, still only half-awake.... After frustrating experience with the publisher of my first novel, I've published on my own, beginning with e-books, with plans to move into print and audio. Even video.... Along with a second novel, I've now published eight books of poetry. Each poetry book focuses on a theme. For instance, the collection GLORIOUS TEDIOUS TRANSFORMATION is about the slow difficult wonderful process of change.... In that book, as with all my work, I try to be accessible to a general audience, while also striving to achieve a certain literary quality.
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