Living In A World Of Lies

Pinocchio by Jim Dine. Photo: Mrkgrd (CC)

Pinocchio by Jim Dine. Photo: Mrkgrd (CC)

Lies have an interesting quality. Repeated often enough, lies become accepted as truth, and it must be said that our lives and our minds are filled with them. Filled with half-truths that are also half-lies, credulously accepted though unfounded rumors, filled with the lies of advertisers sowing insecurity and selling false satisfaction. But not all lies are created equal, some lies are useful, even necessary.

Our physical perception of the world is a kind of lie. Where science tells us there are swarms of swirling electrons, protons and neutrons we see a table or a dog. Our eyes lie to us by omission, registering only a narrow spectrum of all the light streaming into them. These are what we might call necessary and useful lies, simplifications of the truth that allow us to make sense of and interact with the world around us.

But many lies are not so benign. Consider the lies that most of us accept about personal success and happiness. We could sum these up with a catch-phrase from 1980′s pop culture: “Greed is good.”

This is a succinct summation of economic thought in its current, mainstream variety. Economists assume that the world would work best if everyone tried to maximize their individual utility, where “utility” means, essentially, money and stuff. If everyone tries to accumulate as much wealth as they can, competing with everyone else for scarce resources, then everything will automatically work out for the best, as if guided by “an invisible hand.”

In reality, greed leads to unnatural shortages, as some people capture and hoard vast amounts of wealth, while many more are left to scratch out an existence from the ever-dwindling remains. Greed leads to ill will among people: callousness in those who are successful in their hoarding and resentment in those left out.

Greed is not good, as pretty much every religion has been telling us for millennia. It’s a little embarrassing that they have to tell us at all, and even more so that we so often refuse to listen.

Some lies are more subtle, like the lies we tell ourselves about our own powerlessness. We see the news filled with natural disasters and human suffering, wars, corruption, and social and environmental devastation, and we think we can do nothing, or at least not very much. We give a little bit to the Red Cross or United Way and think that we’ve done all we can. But this is a lie.

We live in a rich country where many of us have much more than we need, but rather than use our personal resources to improve the world, we buy an iPad and have discussions about what the government should do or what some corporation should do. We rely on those “in power” to fix things, denying that we ourselves have power. We undermine our power by squandering it on mindless indulgences and we deny having it because we are frightened of the responsibility that having it implies. We all remember what Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

We have the power, much more than we like to admit, to make the world a profoundly better place. But if we are to exercise this power we will need to re-evaluate our lives, reconsider what it is that truly leads to happiness, recognize the oft-repeated lies of our culture for what they are: lies. The truth is inevitably more complex than the lie, and this can be frightening, but we must be courageous if we are indeed concerned for the fate of our fellow humans, for our brother and sister creatures and for the planet that we all share. If we are concerned with freedom, with recognizing and reclaiming our own power, we must be relentless in exposing and rejecting lies wherever they may be, whether plastered across a billboard or hidden in the recesses of our own hearts.

,

  • Anonymous

    Dank

  • JoiquimCouteau

    Dank

  • Razorclam13

    Many are disturbed by the truth. It is then hardly surprising that during the course of our lives we tend to come across very few people that earn the reputation of being truly honest. We lie to our significant others, our parents, our sisters and brothers, our children. We lie to our bosses, our co-workers, our doctors, lawyers, clergymen, rabbis, imams, police officers and even though sworn to tell the truth, most lie to judges. Brides and grooms are lying two-thirds of the time when they swear”til death do us part”,and then continue to routinely lie to one another until the marraige collapses, devoid of trust and emptied of love. Mostly, we lie to ourselves. We have created a culture of dishonesty so pervasive that we expect to be lied to, even by our elected leaders.This I think you would have to agree, is not good.We should not be suprised that it appears that love has fled us. Without trust and integrity, there cannot be love. The young of today have lived thier entire lives with thier value systems shakily embued by baby-sitters, day-care workers, stressed-out single parents and a television culture that embraces and elevates the manipulative, promiscuous vixens and vampires while chiding and belittling the decent, faithful and morally sound. Most of us say we lie because we ‘don’t want to hurt the ones we love’.That’s bullshit. We fucking lie because we want to do whatever the hell we Goddamned please regardless of who it hurts, and then we lie to save our asses just to deceive again, make an ass out of the the people who care about you and want to believe you, so we can suck off, fuck , smoke ,steal and shoot to our little blackened, loveless hearts desire. Why else DO we lie, really?Take a long look at yourself in the mirror, and try to remember how many lies you’ve told that day, week and month. Then, think about those you have lied to. Does it feel good to imagine yourself being lied to by these people, or as much? Why must we perpetuate this culture of distrust? WE DO NOT HAVE TO. This day, let us begin a transformation that can change our families, our communities, our country and our world. Most importantly to us, apparently, we can improve ourselves. Just tell the truth. Not sometimes, or to some people or starting tomorrow. Right now, change your life. Stop being a fucking liar and start to rediscover our souls. It is most, if not all of us who have contributed to this really shitty situation, and many may remain untrustworthy lying sacks of shit. What good are you if you cannot be trusted, or taken at your word. Do it right now. Become an honest human being. It is almost too fucking late,BUT THERE IS STILL HOPE! Change yourself, change the world…SAVE YOURSELF,SAVE THE WORLD. Let’s really LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

  • Razorclam13

    Many are disturbed by the truth. It is then hardly surprising that during the course of our lives we tend to come across very few people that earn the reputation of being truly honest. We lie to our significant others, our parents, our sisters and brothers, our children. We lie to our bosses, our co-workers, our doctors, lawyers, clergymen, rabbis, imams, police officers and even though sworn to tell the truth, most lie to judges. Brides and grooms are lying two-thirds of the time when they swear”til death do us part”,and then continue to routinely lie to one another until the marraige collapses, devoid of trust and emptied of love. Mostly, we lie to ourselves. We have created a culture of dishonesty so pervasive that we expect to be lied to, even by our elected leaders.This I think you would have to agree, is not good.We should not be suprised that it appears that love has fled us. Without trust and integrity, there cannot be love. The young of today have lived thier entire lives with thier value systems shakily embued by baby-sitters, day-care workers, stressed-out single parents and a television culture that embraces and elevates the manipulative, promiscuous vixens and vampires while chiding and belittling the decent, faithful and morally sound. Most of us say we lie because we ‘don’t want to hurt the ones we love’.That’s bullshit. We fucking lie because we want to do whatever the hell we Goddamned please regardless of who it hurts, and then we lie to save our asses just to deceive again, make an ass out of the the people who care about you and want to believe you, so we can suck off, fuck , smoke ,steal and shoot to our little blackened, loveless hearts desire. Why else DO we lie, really?Take a long look at yourself in the mirror, and try to remember how many lies you’ve told that day, week and month. Then, think about those you have lied to. Does it feel good to imagine yourself being lied to by these people, or as much? Why must we perpetuate this culture of distrust? WE DO NOT HAVE TO. This day, let us begin a transformation that can change our families, our communities, our country and our world. Most importantly to us, apparently, we can improve ourselves. Just tell the truth. Not sometimes, or to some people or starting tomorrow. Right now, change your life. Stop being a fucking liar and start to rediscover our souls. It is most, if not all of us who have contributed to this really shitty situation, and many may remain untrustworthy lying sacks of shit. What good are you if you cannot be trusted, or taken at your word. Do it right now. Become an honest human being. It is almost too fucking late,BUT THERE IS STILL HOPE! Change yourself, change the world…SAVE YOURSELF,SAVE THE WORLD. Let’s really LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

    • Hmmmm

      True true… But in my opinion, people are getting worse and worse… Almost everyone I meet instantly comes across as fake. But the few real, good people i meet do give me hope that we could turn things around. People need to wake up before we can accomplish this. This system has failed.

      • shyt

        mind your own business and take care of yourself.

    • THESTEVE

      BLAH BLAH BLAH.. what does some spoiled 1st world douche bag really know about truth. Shut up and listen to your non-conmformist conformist music and smoke some more weed to rebel like everyone else.

    • Simiantongue

      I watched that movie “The Invention of Lying” and I resolved not to lie any more. My life has sucked ever since.

  • Hmmmm

    True true… But in my opinion, people are getting worse and worse… Almost everyone I meet instantly comes across as fake. But the few real, good people i meet do give me hope that we could turn things around. People need to wake up before we can accomplish this. This system has failed.

  • Weekendsvanatta

    staright up.

  • Weekendsvanatta

    staright up.

  • http://strictlyapathy.comoj.com SoulArbiter

    Telling the truth is always a good thing. We’re taught that at a young age. However, sometimes telling the truth can get you into a whole lot of trouble; take Julian Assange for example.

    The concept of truth is complex, like Mr. Joshua Davis stated, but to tell a little-white-lie can be a justifiable option, depending on the circumstances.

  • http://strictlyapathy.comoj.com/ SoulArbiter

    Telling the truth is always a good thing. We’re taught that at a young age. However, sometimes telling the truth can get you into a whole lot of trouble; take Julian Assange for example.

    The concept of truth is complex, like Mr. Joshua Davis stated, but to tell a little-white-lie can be a justifiable option, depending on the circumstances.

  • steamiron

    Straight down – there is a mountain of crap that needs to go there

  • steamiron

    Straight down – there is a mountain of crap that needs to go there

  • chinagreenelvis

    I love slacktivist ranting.

  • chinagreenelvis

    I love slacktivist ranting.

  • chinagreenelvis

    I love slacktivist ranting.

    • chinagreenelvis

      Especially on a newsmeme site.

  • chinagreenelvis

    Especially on a newsmeme site.

  • chinagreenelvis

    Especially on a newsmeme site.

  • justagirl

    “repeated often enough, lies become accepted as truth, and it must be said that our lives and our minds are filled with them.”

    ~now ain’t that a bitch. :(

  • justagirl

    “repeated often enough, lies become accepted as truth, and it must be said that our lives and our minds are filled with them.”

    ~now ain’t that a bitch. :(

    • GoodDoktorBad

      Uh ….Yup!

      • justagirl

        xo

  • Anonymous

    Uh ….Yup!

  • justagirl

    xo

  • shyt

    mind your own business and take care of yourself.

  • Wayneewald

    disinformation and spin are the new gods of our age

  • Wayneewald

    disinformation and spin are the new gods of our age

  • Transmatmalfunction

    Terry Pratchet’s Hogfather

    Death: Humans need fantasy to *be* human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.
    Susan: With tooth fairies? Hogfathers?
    Death: Yes. As practice, you have to start out learning to believe the little lies.
    Susan: So we can believe the big ones?
    Death: Yes. Justice, mercy, duty. That sort of thing.
    Susan: They’re not the same at all.
    Death: You think so? Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder, and sieve it through the finest sieve, and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet, you try to act as if there is some ideal order in the world. As if there is some, some rightness in the universe, by which it may be judged.
    Susan: But people have got to believe that, or what’s the point?
    Death: You need to believe in things that aren’t true. How else can they become?

    URL: http://able2know.org/topic/108529-1

  • Transmatmalfunction

    Terry Pratchet’s Hogfather

    Death: Humans need fantasy to *be* human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.
    Susan: With tooth fairies? Hogfathers?
    Death: Yes. As practice, you have to start out learning to believe the little lies.
    Susan: So we can believe the big ones?
    Death: Yes. Justice, mercy, duty. That sort of thing.
    Susan: They’re not the same at all.
    Death: You think so? Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder, and sieve it through the finest sieve, and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet, you try to act as if there is some ideal order in the world. As if there is some, some rightness in the universe, by which it may be judged.
    Susan: But people have got to believe that, or what’s the point?
    Death: You need to believe in things that aren’t true. How else can they become?

    URL: http://able2know.org/topic/108529-1

  • THESTEVE

    BLAH BLAH BLAH.. what does some spoiled 1st world douche bag really know about truth. Shut up and listen to your non-conmformist conformist music and smoke some more weed to rebel like everyone else.

  • Simiantongue

    I watched that movie “The Invention of Lying” and I resolved not to lie any more. My life has sucked ever since.

21