Revolutionary, "Kindly tell us, Professor, are we to believe that all the knowledge and know-how available today, in the first decade of the twenty-first century, is not enough to remove our ignorance-our prides and prejudices?"
Professor, " Yes and no."
Artist, " No academic hair - splitting in the air, I suppose."
Professor, (to Artist) " Be the judge. (to revolutionary) No, it is enough because knowledge and the capacity to comprehend it, both exist. And yes, because the knowledge as well as the capacity have been in existence since ages without success."
Padre," The Scriptures are there. Though I confess that nobody bothers to understand them; not even the clergy. Otherwise the world would not be the dangerous place it has become today."
Cynic, " Hasn't God failed us, Father?"
Padre, " No, we have failed our God by refusing to use our minds-the supreme computers.
Revolutionary, " There must be a way out of this colossal waste, Father?"
Padre, " Oh yes, my faith makes me an optimist. I do believe that nature will breed its own cure. Scientifically, aren't we still evolving?"
Cynic, " But, Father, tomorrow never comes."
Artist, " In that case we should do away with our watches and calendars."
Revolutionary, " Through the succession of these routine tomorrows the time has changed greatly since the enlightenment and revelation. We are now better equipped to comprehend the wisdom of those ancient wise men."
Professor, " Audio - visual aids, communication satellites. It is a unique situation in human history as it wasn't ever before."
Artist, "A prophet, today, could have converted the whole world by the image of his magnetic personality. I wish I could see the serenity of a Buddha."
Padre, " And a prophet would not have to use metaphorical language. Instead he would only advise us to use our invaluable personal computers - our minds."
Cynic, " Is it the essence of all Scriptures, Father?"
Padre, " Yes brother, to the best of my knowledge."
Cynic, " Oh, but, we don't have a prophet to tell us that."
Revolutionary, "Life is a relay race of gene-machines. Now the present machines, that is us, have to do the interpreting and explaining."
Professor, " What would you say, Father, if you could address the world?"
Padre, " Let us not under - estimate the creation; let us not under-estimate the human mind. Whatever your faith, follow it or forget it. Hypocrisy is the death of civilizations."
Professor, " Yes, what we need is an intellectual dialysis; it has been a case of garbage in - garbage out so far. Such as, fear in; cowardice out."
Revolutionary, " So, we agree that with the help of modern day facilities, it is possible to wage a decisive battle against the intellectual darkness - the bliss called ignorance."
Cynic, " If ignorance is bliss, why bother to remove it?"
Padre, " Because it is a fool's bliss. And it deprives us of the real bliss - a life guided by love and logic. Fools' paradise is delaying god's paradise on earth. (to Revolutionary) God has promised to hurl the truth at the falsehood, (with a smile) through human agents, of course."
Artist, " What is the hitch then?"
Cynic, " Father will be operating in a vacuum."
Revolutionary, " Dispelling the darkness is to the advantage of all."
Cynic, " Not when an orgy is in progress."
Revolutionary, " Since the orgy is perpetual, any time is auspicious enough to switch on the light."
Cynic, " How will you erect a lighting system?"
Revolutionary, " Let us look at it this way. Money has all the attraction. So, why not use money as a bait to motivate the ignorant?"
Professor, " Please elaborate it."
Revolutionary, " Show us a ghost and win a fabulous prize for example."
Cynic, " Who will foot the bill?"
Revolutionary, " Since there are no ghosts, the question of payments does not arise."
Cynic, " I mean the money to buy TV time and newspaper space etc."
Revolutionary, " Let us work under the assumption that if the idea is good it will attract many philanthropists."
(everybody keeps quiet for some time and thinks)
Cynic, (breaking the silence) " This is not an original idea. There are a few movies on this theme."
Revolutionary, " You are right. The idea was successful in a realistic film; it should succeed in reality as well."
Cynic, "There you have a good point. I wonder why nobody tried it before. Still, what would it achieve."
Artist, "A real encounter with truth that ghosts do not exist."
Revolutionary, " The idea is to present truths and facts with a cash challenge to prove them wrong. Prove that racism is right and win a billion. When nobody comes forward to claim the prize, the impressionable minds draw the right conclusion that racism is wrong."
Professor, " By all accounts it is a marvelous idea."
Padre, " God bless us. Prove that honesty is not the best policy'"
Professor, " And the children get to know that honesty is the best policy after all."
Cynic, "And the truth prevails?"
Artist, " Finally, everlastingly."
Cynic, " We march into Utopia."
Professor, "Yes, may be in the next hundred years."
Cynic, " Is it at all possible to remove the deep-rooted, almost unconscious, prides and prejudices?"
Professor, " Well, why not? We have been considering the same problem so far."
Cynic, " You mean all the poor people will get to live with dignity and the rich and powerful persons, their cronies and middlemen, will stop their evil practices voluntarily and become saints."
Professor, " Hoarding wealth or power is a sickness, but, I get your point. Only unpaid rewards will not do. We must have effective punishments too."
Revolutionary, "Very true, we learn by rewards and punishments. Our prides and prejudices are the products of our social conditioning. Corruption thrives because laxity of law is taken for granted. A Damocles' sword hanging over the head can certainly persuade us to think otherwise."
Cynic, " Where does one get the Damocles' sword?"
Revolutionary, " Before I answer that please allow me to mention another allusion- Achilles' heel. Every villain is very vulnerable somewhere. We hear of the vicious circles. Isn't a chain as strong as the weakest link? In corruption the weakest link is secrecy and in prides and prejudices their very foundation."
Cynic, " I agree. A Damocles' sword is necessary. How this allusion will be converted into reality?"
Revolutionary, " It is already in selective use. The Polygraph or the Lie-detector."
Cynic, " It doesn't detect a lie yet. A smart liar can easily fool it."
Revolutionary, " Its technique can be perfected."
Artist, " Necessity is our oldest mother."
Revolutionary, " As I see it a perfect lie-detecting system is the panacea for mankind."
Padre, "God bless you. Panacea to Utopia is a short distance. What do you say, Professor?"
Professor, "Amen! (to Revolutionary) Does this claim for panacea also carry a reward?"
Revolutionary, "Sure, any objection?"
Cynic, " One too many. Supposing a perfect lie- detecting system is developed, it would still have to be operated by men. I would say that the operator is the weakest link in this grand scheme."
Revolutionary, " The operators will be selected after the stringent lie-detection tests with the condition that they will be ready to face it whenever necessary."
Cynic, " Who will want to take this job?"
Revolutionary, " Honest upright men and women who will be paid handsomely for it."
Cynic, " I see. The idea is to encourage truth and honesty and to discourage falsehood and dishonesty."
Revolutionary, " Precisely. Thank you."
Cynic, " This scheme is just too good to be true."
Artist, " I would say too good yet true."
Revolutionary, " Anyway it is open to scrutiny. Unless it passes every test it can not be implemented."
Padre, " Morally it is appropriate that men and women in public life, in public interest, should happily take this test. The rationale is quite simple - honest persons need not fear it."
Professor, " Economically, the lie - detector will save everything; time, money and other resources. The investigation for truth will become quick and effective."
Artist, " By God! It should stop the cacophony of loud-mouths and their long, ceremonial and empty words."
Cynic, (to Revolutionary) " Are you yourself prepared to face it?"
Revolutionary, " With pleasure."
Padre, " What is your religion, brother?"
Revolutionary, " Humanism."
Cynic, " Humanism is vague."
Artist, " As I understand it humanism is universal among the children."
Revolutionary, " The irony of it. Every adult and old was a child once, a messenger of humanity. The ignorant superstitious society then systematically puts them into various compartments of faith, color and class."
Professor, " Again you are right. Psychologically everybody is a victim of society. For want of a couple of ideal parents, the ideal nation could not be founded."
Cynic, " What is the position of god in humanism?"
Revolutionary, " The absolutely and benevolently indifferent creator. His natural laws take care of everything."
Padre, " You couldn't be more right. God bless you."
Revolutionary, " Thank you, Father."
Padre, " What is Utopia if it isn't plenty for all. And we have resources for it. Only the greed of a few misguided souls is responsible for the tragedy we see everywhere."
Professor, " Power and wisdom seldom mix. That is our greatest tragedy."
Artist, " Rightly so. To cite an example, the Prime Minister of India takes on the responsibility of guiding the destinies of one billion persons- a stupendous task by any estimate. Only a fool or a mad-cap or a scoundrel will be eager to wear this crown of thorns."
Cynic, " Still everybody wants to grab this crown at any cost."
Artist, " The situation will improve radically if the servants of mother India were to undergo a lie - detection test."
Cynic, " By god, yes; they won't have any excuse to bypass it. The merchants of falsehood will not take it lying down. They will oppose it ruthlessly."
Artist, " Yet nobody can criticize the scheme publicly."
Padre, "Fools have always been meddling. They can delay the process they can not deny it for long."