Art, Truth & Politics: The Nobel Lecture by Harold Pinterhttps://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_priz...
As we are waiting to see if the world ends over the next couple of weeks, what better way to spend your last few days on earth than reading Pinter on US ‘full spectrum dominance’ and the lies and appeals to nationalism that turns entire nations to ashes.
The horrors detailed here in Pinter’s speech upon receiving the Nobel prize for literature ought to shame us all. We have been constantly lied to, yet we constantly believe these lies, hundreds of thousands die, and, if we truly belong to democracies, then we are responsible. You might think we would one day learn that bombing people hasn’t proven to be the most effective way to make the world a safer place – but for some reason we seem incapable of ever learning that lesson.
This lecture suffers from being written while Bush II was acting-king of the US. Obama promised so much before he pulled the sword out of the stone (or whatever it is the US does to anoint its short-term kings) – he promised to close the US torture site in Cuba, for instance, (yes, it is still open for business and those there still have not had a fair trial) he promised to move toward nuclear disarmament and then delivered an extra trillion dollars upgrading the US nuclear arsenal. That is, he actually made things worse.
Today, with Trump wearing the hollow crown, the US is unquestionable the greatest threat to world peace in human history, in fact, the greatest threat to our continued existence. The world is becoming increasingly terrifying and our only hope, it seems, is that other nations will capitulate and prove more sensible than the lunatics running the world’s most powerful nation. Just because North Korea backed down (and if you really think that was the obvious outcome in that case, you are infinitely more perceptive than I am) doesn’t for a minute mean Russia or China will – and Trump seems determined to play chicken with both.
If you can bring yourself to believe in a god or gods, perhaps now would be a good time to start praying to them or making sacrifices or whatever it is you need to do. Otherwise, contact your local elected official and demand No more wars.
Art, truth and politics
The minute videotaped lecture was projected on three large screens in front of the audience at the Swedish Academy , in Stockholm, on the evening of 7 December Speaking with obvious difficulty in the lecture while seated in a wheelchair, Pinter distinguishes between the search for truth in art and the avoidance of truth in politics 5— He describes his own artistic process of creating The Homecoming and Old Times , following an initial line or word or image, calling "the author's position" an "odd one" as, experiencing the "strange moment … of creating characters who up to that moment have had no existence," he must "play a never-ending game with them, cat and mouse, blind man's buff, hide and seek" during which "the search for the truth … has to be faced, right there, on the spot. Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture into any of this territory [of the artist] since the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives.
Harold Pinter had both an arrogance and an intense anger towards most of those who hold power and whose main interest is in maintaining that power. This was evident in his actions — in the movement against the war in Iraq and in support of the Kurds, for example — and in his political plays, such as Mountain Language, and, above all, in the impressive way that he set out his political vision in his acceptance of the Nobel prize for literature. In it he made clear that driving his contempt for the majority of politicians was their contempt for the search for truth and the language that such a search produces and requires. His determination was infectious, inspiring and immensely practical. Red Pepper probably would not exist without it. In its difficult early days, he made our first editor Denise Searle and I feel that, however mad it seemed at the time the mid s, when neoliberal politics seemed the permanent order of the day , we had to make the magazine work — and that we could.
English English [pdf]. French French [pdf]. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false. I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?
Art, Truth and Politics is the Nobel Lecture delivered on video by the Nobel Laureate in Literature Harold Pinter.
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