【明報專訊】The honest traveller and the lying traveller were back in the land of people and had wandered into the Area of Opinion. Luckily, the curious crowd soon ignored them when they pretended to be dumb. The duo looked for a map to guide them to the Centre of Truth, where they felt their talents might be put to some use. They found many maps but were surprised to find countless roads marked 'to the Centre', all leading to different directions.
"What does this mean? Surely these maps can't be correct. How can roads going in different directions all lead to the same destination?"
So they decided to ask some passersby. First, they asked an old man who told them, "The way to Truth? Oh, I vaguely (模糊地) remember being there when I was a boy, but I've been living in this area too long and I've forgotten the way back, sorry to say."
Next they asked a schoolgirl who replied, "I've heard of Truth but since the day I was born, I've only known opinion. I don't know the way and actually, my friends and I don't really care."
Finally, they asked a fashionable, young couple who politely said, "No problem, we can look it up for you on our smart devices." The husband started searching on his smartphone while the wife used a smart card to check a nearby terminal. They used their smart IDs, opened all the smart locks, used all kinds of Apps, but no matter how hard and how smartly they searched, Truth could not be located. The ultra-smart couple was quite embarrassed and confessed, "To be honest, we've always suspected that Truth doesn't exist. It's just circles of belief and myth surrounded by rumour and gossip. We've never really bothered looking for it before. We'd love to stay and help you but we're meeting friends for dinner and we must be going. Good luck!"
The two travellers looked at the couple striding briskly away and their hearts sank (心一沉). This can't be so, they thought. Have they stayed away too long? Has their imprisonment in the land of apes affected their thinking? Have they become irrelevant (不相關的) in their own land? They had believed their roles to be timeless, just as Truth was timeless. The honest traveller was born to tell the truth. Equally so, the lying traveller, must first recognise the truth before he could make up lies. Obviously, they were then facing a new reality, a new normal, in which they risked becoming quaint, old-fashioned and barely relevant.
① An opinion (n):
A point of view held by a person at a particular moment.
② A belief (n):
Something considered true by a group of people.
③ A myth (n):
A common belief not based on reality.
④ A rumour (n):
An opinion repeated widely as if it were true.
■Something to DISCUSS
Language is a tool which enables humans to communicate with each other over time and space. Modern technology makes instant communication possible with large groups of people. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages?