Playhouses show “Shakespeare.” Schools assign “Shakespeare.” We can be sure there had to be a manuscript, maybe a series of manuscripts, by Shakespeare at some point, but the point at which we had access to such a manuscript passed out of reach by 1616, the year of the author’s death: and we have no idea whether even he had them by then.
Churches, politicians … hypocrites quote God, Jesus, the Bible. The religious act as though they have God’s original manuscript; but scholarship shows archives of mistakes, mis-hearings, alterations … frauds … human self-congratulation …
Does God keep his original manuscript in heaven? Will we ever see it? Will we ever be able to examine it, to test it?
When scientists talk about a “meter” there’s an actual objective correlative they’re referring to. When French intellectuals wanted a new abstract unpolluted non-nonsensical unit of measurement, not “feet” please, they invented the meter. They sketched it as one ten-millionth of the distance from the Earth’s equator to the North Pole. [Since revised to the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum in 1⁄299,792,458 of a second.] Once they defined their unit they built a rod, they keep it in a controlled-environment vault, they called it the “meter”! What’s a meter? That‘s a meter!
No other discipline has such a thing, do they? For Shakespeare, there is no author-authorized original. We have no manuscripts of Shakespeare. We have a gazillion printed versions but their authority is a matter of scholarly-detective guess-work.
When the fed tried me for “extortion” (“rape” is what the keptocracies are now accusing Julian Assange, the Wikileaks, guy of), they destroyed what I’d written and substituted the FBI’s rewrite: and called it mine! Telling them they were thieving slanderous liars did no good: they all knew that already: that’s how they got where they are.
In the movie Agora Saint Cyril reads from 1 Timothy, the passage denying Christian status to women, and says, “This is the word of God! Kneel before its truths.” The movie should have paused right there and introduced scholarship on the New Testament known for two hundred years now: 1 Timothy is a forgery. Not only is 1 Timothy not the word of God, it isn’t even the word of Saint Paul! Indeed, Paul’s writings are contradicted by the forgery: Paul acknowledged women to have high status in Christ.
But the Christians were revising their beliefs: revolutionaries become reactionaries, and making up their evidence as they went.
When the guy with his finger on the trigger is a liar and a fraud, what are poor human beans to do?
OK. Sabotaged, railroaded, impoverished, I’m now content to dismiss all possibility that anything supervised by humans is at all trustworthy — the claim that Hamlet is really an ad for Macdonald’s will get the poker champ’s share of funding. But I still insist that truth must be real. Maybe there’s no uncorrupt objective God, but there still must be an uncorrupt set of fingerprints somewhere. If only there were an uncorrupt objective sentience somewhere to read them!
In other words:
The Jews have a Bible. Good. Now: where is God’s manuscript for that Bible?
The Christians have a Bible: a stack of claimants. All those claimants trail slime redolent of corruption: where is God’s New Testament.
How, at Judgment, will God show us that his red letter version is actually what Jesus said?
If he produces an audio tape, a video, if he produces a “Jesus” who says, “That’s what I said,” [note] we still need to know: how do we know?
And if the French open their vault, and produce their “meter,” and it says “original meter” on it (in French, I guess) still, how do we know?
No, no, no. I’m sorry, God. I think we’re still stuck: right where we were: we have no better judgment than our own to rely on: and we know, have every reason to know, that that judgment is faulty.
I re-summarize all these queastions: How can a liar, surrounded by liars, who’s never been exposed to anything but lies, know when he’s lying?
It’s like the joke about the used car salesman: his lips are moving!
Note: I recently rewatched Pedro Almodovar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. We watch actors dubbing a Joan Crawford film with Sterling Hayden into Spanish. All of the dialogue is false! The Crawford original is a script! What our principles are saying is a translation, an interpretation of an interpretation! A moment later, Ivan, our male Spanish dubber, says a string of be-mine lines to a string of actresses, each cast to be a yo-yo. It’s the most delicious fraud I’ve seen since Guido sent the aging women upstairs in 8 1/2.
(An hour later another Almodovar association intrudes: the film opens with two guys in scrubs informing a woman in mufti about opportunities to harvest organs from a terminal loved one. A minute later it becomes apparent that the guys in scrubs are actors rehearsing, the woman isn’t bereaved; she too is an actress.
How seriously should we take the sound track in a Donald Duck movie?)
It’s delicious: those who live in a complex semiotic world can have no reliable communication with those who think that Shakespeare is Shakespeare, or that God wrote the Bible, wrote it perfectly, and that nothing has gone wrong since.