Can you handle the truth? Would you acknowledge it if you saw it?
Can you handle the truth? Would you acknowledge it if you saw it?
I am going to tell you something you already know. You may have ‘forgotten’ it, but you know it’s true anyway. Lying is bad for you and the people around you. Yeah sure, it’s obvious, but that doesn’t keep you from doing it. So why would I bother to tell you about something obvious, something you already know, something bad that you keep doing anyway? Simple, lying doesn’t really work. If it worked (and you were any good at it) you would be richer, more satisfied with life, have a better job, have the dream partner you conned into marrying you, and so forth. But, that is not true for most of you. And it’s not because you are particularly bad liars.
Liars are losers
It’s because you haven’t figured out that lying doesn’t really work. I don’t need to provide any evidence of that because the best evidence you can get is directly available in the history of your own lives (no link provided here J). Even when lying seems to work in your favor, you are worried that you will be caught, somehow, sometime, by somebody; people will ‘catch on’ to your lies. Or, that there will be some kind of price to pay in the future.
Fear is paralyzing
It is that fear of being caught that keeps you from seeing that lying doesn’t work. And yet, that fear is the proof that it doesn’t work! Fear makes life miserable. Nobody is a perfect liar. Everybody gets caught sometime, and that’s how I know you are worried about getting caught, because you have been caught out before. Remember ALL liars have been caught out.
But, everybody does it
Most people think they know about lying, and lies, but then most people are wrong about a great many things. Most people should know much more than they do about lying, because it is commonplace in their world -- and out of their own mouth. Nevertheless, lying is intentionally badly misunderstood.
Here is what lying is:
Lying is simply the distortion or outright rejection of reality. That’s it. Physical reality, abstract reality, any shape of reality, actually. Nothing more and nothing less. You’ve heard of ‘losing touch with reality’? Well this is what is meant: lying. - - Note that you do not have to tell or hear a lie in order for lying to take place. All lying occurs in the distortion (or rejection) of perception, that is, your senses seem to lie to you, to confirm the lies in your head. - - Telling a lie or hearing a lie is simply one kind of evidence that a distortion has occurred. While perception can be fooled, it is the only version of reality available to us. And, we are not so easily fooled that we can’t usually figure out what is being distorted if we want to.
The only way out of the trap
We tell more lies to ourselves than we encounter in or tell to the world around us. That this fact is not immediately obvious to everyone is a kind of evidence of the distortion in reality that people cloak themselves in. That’s why lying doesn’t really work. You are trapped by it. Your distortions of reality steal your chance at the only way you can get out of the trap you created; by seeing the truth. The truth is what’s left when you stop distorting. Getting hold of the truth is incredibly difficult because you have to stop distorting.
Breaking news: Distortion makes it hard to see
Indeed, lying to oneself is the mainstay of daily life, and accounts for virtually all of the problems we find, both external and internal. Of course, in the terms just stated, it is easy to see that lying causes problems but, again, that is not immediately obvious to most people, because the distortions they create or indulge in hide that pretty well. Strangely (heavy sarcasm), distortions make it hard to see things clearly, or even at all.
TL/DR (Too long, didn’t read)
About now, some of you may be thinking “This is too long” or “This isn’t that important” or even “This is just mental masturbation”. That’s OK, you can stop reading. Really. Just stop now. You folks probably wouldn’t understand what’s being said, even if you read the whole thing. But, before you go, ask yourself what I’ve said wrong. Because if you were having thoughts like I just mentioned, it’s a certainty you’re lying to yourself. Never mind. Go now, before you get really emotional.
Why is the obvious so hard to see?
While what I’m saying is really simple (it should be, because it’s just observations of things everyone can see if they choose to), it is important, and here’s why. Successfully avoiding distortion of your perceptions is likely the most difficult thing you will ever attempt in your life. It is simultaneously easy to see the harm caused by lying (because it’s obvious) and incredibly difficult to do (because it is so common and everyone around you does it, too). We are raised nearly from birth to lie by the lying people around us, so it seems normal (and it is), but only if ‘normal’ means a majority of people are doing it. But it’s not normal if it is the source of most of your problems and you don’t stop doing it.
Mothers are sweet
My wife and I were getting to know a mid-thirties guy we had just met. He was telling us about some of his problems and it became clear what was going on. My wife said to him “Did your Mother tell you: Lie to me sweetly?” He was shocked, blustered a bit, fumbled around mentally and finally, blushing a bit, he saw (without her using those words) that is exactly what she had done his whole life, even while he was trying to straighten out his life-long problems caused by lying, just like his mother taught him to. Many, many mothers do this... with a smile.
Lies are infinite, truth is a rare commodity
It serves no purpose to point out all the ways lies are told. Since distortion does not depend on any finite resources, there is an infinite number of ways your view of the world around you gets distorted. Likewise, there is no need to tell you “how things really are” because you only need to look around and think about it to find the distortions, compare them with what you see and throw out the distortions. I said “only” because that is all that needs to be done, but it is not a small task. By the way: Distractions are just distortions by another name. There is no such thing as a ‘minor distraction’. They are all lies telling you to pay attention to something else, instead of to your own life.
- - -
So, you might be thinking “If there are no rules to follow, no examples offered, no external carrot or stick, and everything is supposed to be so blazingly ‘obvious’, why is he writing this?” Good question.
Occasionally, people only need a nudge to take a fresh look at things. When I look around me I see so much desperation, tragedy, false hope, disappointment and wasted effort, due to simple yet powerful distortions, I have the feeling I should at least state the obvious. It is clear that long-winded diatribes don’t have any effect in waking people up. Threats and even actual physical harm aren’t enough for most people to change the way they see things because the lies are so pervasive, so familiar, and for many they are so ‘comfortable’, that there is also only a vanishingly small chance any of the readers of this essay will actually be affected by my writing (for more than a few minutes).
But, given the choice of nudging you once, briefly, or sitting back and watching the painfully distorted lives of most of you unfold, in entirely predictable but erroneous ways, I figured I would give it one shot. Just one. Stop lying and distorting, nothing more nothing less. Then tell me I’m wrong, that stopping lying didn’t help at all. But tell me the truth. I’ll be waiting.