The world we live in abounds with false values that are depicted as genuine. This applies equally to the material, as well as the spiritual. Occasionally, it is genuinely difficult to tell the originals from forgeries because the masters of counterfeiting are very skilled at what they do.

The market is inundated with counterfeit goods. Clothing, footwear, technical equipment, personal hygiene products, toys - all these bear names of the most famous global manufacturers, however the packages contain, more often than not, counterfeits manufactured with a varying degree of skill. One of the ways of identifying counterfeit goods is the fact their price is usually lower than that of the genuine products and is in line with the local population’s purchasing power. Counterfeit goods aim to meet the wants and needs of broad layers of society thus creating an illusion of good living standards, an illusion of quality. Counterfeits are most common in poor countries and go hand-in-hand with poverty.

This is the exchange of goods, which in some ways reflects the image of today's world. The smuggled goods produced in the poor part of a continent with dazzling labels of the developed world, synonymous with high living standards and wealth, are sold as or in place of similar goods on another continent where similar levels of poverty reign. It's all fake, the goods, as well as the labels. Most sellers and most buyers alike are aware of the deception, but the charm of deception is too irresistible. For an hour, a day, or a little longer, one can live in an illusion of abundance and quality in the world where there is neither abundance, nor quality.

This is the basic and basest level of counterfeiting – surround with goods of dubious value or none whatsoever, but that very successfully complement other, more serious, forgeries, which also form part of everyday life, and serve to satisfy other types of needs. The more complex and perfidious form of forgery takes place on the psychological level and is manifested as the falsification of the essential living needs. This form of forgery is best defined as the falsification of reality.

Enter propaganda, one of particular and specific forms of organisation of counterfeits on the highest governmental level, where the state fabricates vital facts and the information of vital significance, ranging from the state of economy and international relations through to traffic conditions, market prices, the current issues in education, hospitals, factories, tourism, street crime, through its media outlets. Reports of the conditions and states of affairs vary enormously from the actual reality. Poor harvests are reported as successful harvests, a prime minister’s unsuccessful diplomatic trip as a landmark event marking a great opportunity on the international scene, inflation as a lull in the markets, increased prices of electricity and bread as incentives for greater production. Almost every fact of life and its real meaning is transformed into something with a falsified meaning on the endless conveyor belt of half-truths and lies.

In benchmarking the forms of forgery, forged feelings occupy the highest echelon. Genuine and sincere feelings are suppressed by their fake counterparts, which are manufactured in the workshops by the masters of forgery. Empty boasting acts replace real patriotic feelings, hatred of the other is called patriotism, holding on to one’s own honour is seen as cowardice, refusal to serve the objectives of the dark ideology and personal power as betrayal. The drive to rebel in counterfeit life is portrayed as an act of violence, and refusal to partake in mass trance-like state is classed as anarchic individualism and egoism. Counterfeit feelings bear their magnificent false labels of high moral feelings in the same way counterfeit goods do.

One forgery inevitably results in yet another one. So everything becomes subject of forgery and heresy. History is made up of complete and partial lies. Those who manage to camouflage the present find it easier to paint a false picture of the past and the future. Time in all its dimensions is caught and layered within a press of forgeries. The past is not what really happened, but the myths into which it is folded, packed and placed on the market. The future is not what really awaits us at the gates of time, but the image that counterfeiters project behind their ideological projectors.

So, little by little, life in its entirety becomes one massive forgery, because phishing is now a rule rather than an exception. Under the wing of this widespread counterfeiting, smaller acts of forgery run parallel, which are equally important for daily survival. Even the reflection of oneself in the mirror is neither right nor true, because it is a distorted image in a distorted mirror. Counterfeit reality produces an illusion of life which is devoid of real values, where human spirit is governed by delusions of and false values.

Masters of forgery who so skilfully and successfully manipulate people and their possessions, set as their primary aim a complete devaluation of every human activity, every material and spiritual value. In such a world free of conscience, morality, integrity, honesty, based on forgery and counterfeiting, they represent producers and guardians of deception on which they base their brave new world.

Eras of transgressions are born out of massive forgeries. Production of forgery in troubled times surpasses all other forms of production. But woe to those states and countries which base their ideals, history and future programmes on forgeries. Forgeries have limited shelf life. And once they are exposed, and major acts of forgery laid bare, the world of lies falls apart, with only ruins remaining.

In an era of falsifications, like the times we live in now, in which the state itself and its government are based on fraud, the exposure and unmasking of counterfeits are of fateful importance. Perhaps it is sometimes difficult to live in the face of bare and brutal truth, without illusions and without deception. Life in the counterfeit world frees one of responsibility and conscience. But we should constantly bear in mind that life surrounded by and immersed in counterfeits is not real life, but an imitation, a deceitful and pathetic illusion of life, created in the workshops of craftsmen of all kinds of deception.

Filip David: Majstori falsifikata

Na engleski prevela Lana Vuletić