At one time or another, every one of us has believed a lie. It is among the most universal of human experiences. Almost equally common is to propagate a lie. A few moments reflection should bring to mind times in your life when you did just that, although a few of you will find that difficult.
Being the originator of a lie is where most of us draw the line. We do not want to cop to that. Sure, we were mistaken, got confused, didn’t have all the facts, read or heard something wrong. But lie? Surely not us.
To which I say: “Yes, us. And don’t call me Shirley.”
For most of us, the difference in lying and being mistaken is in consciously knowing that we are deceiving others. However, the human capacity for denial is so great, many of us never reach that level of consciousness.
[I don’t remember thinking, “hey, wait — what I’m saying isn’t true.” Therefore, it wasn’t a lie.]
One of the reasons many of us get into storytelling is that it is a sanctioned area for telling lies, and making them as detailed and interesting as possible. Cinema is almost entirely a set of elaborately technological tag-team lies. Which can be quite enjoyable, actually.
I’ve gotten to thinking about lies recently in the context of the number of cryptocurrency fraud cases that have made or are making their way into court. Some of the lies told there were extremely audacious, with owners of companies saying in public that they would or wouldn’t do something, while simultaneously doing exactly the opposite in the background.
If you have ever been burned by someone lying to you in your personal life, you may have reacted by becoming more suspicious, skeptical, or even cynical about humans in general. That has not been my personal experience, even though I have been lied to in my day; I was too cognizant of my own capacity / tendency to lie to find to much fault with it in others. Not that I’m in favor of it: lying is corrosive to relationships, and will destroy everything it touches, eventually.
Below is a poem I wrote on the subject while I was in my twenties. I was fascinated by the subject of lying, even then.
I do not call it lying For those who might keep score It's more like birthing truth where there Was no such truth Before