It’s all one big lie! Right from childhood with fairy tale books and illusions of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy our lives have been constantly intertwined with falsehoods. From the constant bombardment of advertising with its misleading product storylines and embellishing endearments, to modern day phone-scams and the hollow promises from our political leaders. We have been, and still are — being lied to every single day!
So prevalent in today’s society that misleading has become normalized like breathing air and we no-longer even take notice. Today, It’s accepted as just part of our everyday lives: Fake-news and the blurring of facts and fiction, re-tweeted unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, intentional propagandizing and down right self-benefiting lies. Is it any wonder that we ourselves have become home-grown fibbers, living in a society so rife with falsehoods.
WE’VE ALWAYS BEEN LIARS
Yet all this should come as no surprise. We humans have always been good at telling lies, it’s something that most of us are very adept at. Little fibs to our children to keep them inline or encourage their imagination. Lies to our friends to — keep them our friends! To our boss when we need a day off and to our partners to keep the peace. Lying comes easy to us, almost second nature.
Lying it seems, is an acquired human trait. Learning to lie starts very early in life. Studies propose, that children learn to lie between the ages of two and five and lie the most when they are testing their independence getting better at it as they get older. Yet from whom are they learning this trait from you may ask? Well it seems that because lying has become second nature to us, we spout them off so regularly that most of the time we’re consciously unaware that we’re even doing it. Parents included! — Oh My!
It seems our capacity for dishonesty is fundamental to all our relationships within our species whether casual or emotionally tied. Being deceitful is woven into our very fabric, so much so that one could say that —” to lie is to be human.” Studies say, on average, we lie 3 or 4 times every 10 minutes during each and every conversation we have regardless of whom we’re talking to. Splitting the difference at 3.5, that’s 21 times an hour! YIKES!
WHY WE LIE
We lie to: avoid punishment harm or conflict, avoid embarrassment, to gain advantage, gain esteem, to get what we want, to save face, to support a friend or loved one, to make us more desirable in the hunt for sex or mates and to appear more admirable to others.
We even lie to ourselves: To avoid change, to preserve our bad habits, addictions or compulsions, to protect our self-esteem and threats to our sense of self. To avoid facing the truth, to justify our actions. We even lie to avoid being caught, in a previous lie. — Ouch!
Often these repeated lies to ourselves, begin to ring true and become part of how we think of who we are.
“People are so engaged in managing how others perceive them that they are often unable to separate truth from fiction in their own minds.” — Robert Feldman professor of psychological and brain sciences
LIES USED AGAINST US
Yet ironically, we are not very good at detecting lies. Perhaps because of our long history of forming persuasive and plausible lies we have become very good at deceiving yet still remain evolutionary trustful of others. But today, our vulnerability to being deceived ourselves, plays right into the hands in today’s age of social media. And today as a society, our difficulties separating truth from lies is being used against us as never before.
Long recognized as a human weakness and now with the multiple avenues that the internet has provided for delivery, blurring the truth with repeated lies has become an oft-used means for procuring consumer, corporate and personal self-agendas (i.e. Donald Trump?) Deceiving the masses has never been easier.
The birth of the internet and the runaway rise and popularity of social media has provided new ways for targeting consumers or any other designated groups desired. Add big data resourcing into the picture, selling your personal online history for profit, and today we’ve all become easy targets for marketing gurus, campaign strategists, ideological group recruiters, or anyone else wanting to take advantage of us by means of misleading or misdirected information.
We are especially prone to accepting lies that affirm our long-held belief’s. Thus prone to targeting by those wishing to benefit from our specific Individual convictions. Science has confirmed that commonly, if a fact is presented that doesn’t fit into our frame of belief, we’ll either not notice it, ignore it, ridicule it or attack it if it’s threatening. Today, this science is being used against us by the blurring of facts from fiction.
“When it comes to controlling human beings there is no better instrument than lies. Because, you see, humans live by beliefs. And beliefs can be manipulated. ― Michael Ende, The Neverending Story
Depending on your social life, we are lied to between 10 and 200 times each and everyday. If you include advertising, this number soars out of the atmosphere and well into our solar system. Advertising may well be humankind’s greatest lying invention. That is of course if you include: misleading, embellishing, exaggeration, lies of omission, photo shopping and small print retractions after the fact. Just to name a few!
The deceit in advertising has played out now for so long, that their (lying?) is commonly excepted in consumerism today. Perhaps more looked upon today as merely entertainment hyped up to get you to pay attention rather than a deceitful means of sales. Yet advertising does work. Studies show repeated advertising, much like any repeating lies, work their way into our brain’s and do have subconscious influence in our choices.
Proof that bending the truth or intentionally deceiving (both lying as I see it) really works. No wonder its being used advantageously today, and more and more “outside” of advertising.
Just look at how long advertising has been around and how today advertising has increased, nosing its way unwanted into all of our media’s. Its costly to advertise, yet there is more of it today then ever before and marketing statistics prove the right targeted advertisement can substantially increase sales.
Thus the ever growing pollution of advertising is everywhere today!
Whether it be intentionally or not, you have been lied to all of your life right from childhood to becoming an adult. Your parents lied to you, your siblings, relatives and friends did. Close acquaintance’s and strangers. Your co-workers, political leaders and your government. Everywhere you look, every media you use, someone has or is — lying to you!
Advertisements lie to get you to buy. Fake News, propaganda, misleading information, the constant deluge of incoming opposing opinions. All geared to get something from you by means of deceit. Separating truth from fiction today has become an almost impossible task. The lines between the two more blurred than ever before.
“A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on.”― Terry Pratchett, The Truth
Yet? Don’t we as a species deserve this? After all, we are all proficient liars ourselves? Capable of lying even to ourselves. What’s concerning to me is that we’ve become so accustomed to all these lies, it’s simply now part of our society. Perhaps, even accepted as part of our human make-up. Today, no one seems to care when political leaders, governments or public interest organizations lie or even get caught lying. Not to mention the embellishing lies we here (or tell?) in our own daily conversations, or see on TV, or read online?
So where will this take us as a societal species? Surely its gone too far now, ingrained too deeply to be corrected. Will it even get worse? Is our evolution of lying now simply on an runaway unstoppable progression, out of control and forever now to be part of the human species? Part of human society? And from now on?
So are you concerned about today’s growing acceptance of lying?
Are you worried where this may take us in the future?
If you ask me — I’d be lying — if I said I wasn’t!
THE WORD OF WAYNE
“We’re all islands shouting lies to each other across seas of misunderstanding.” ― Rudyard Kipling, The Light That Failed
“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― original attribution unknown
“Today, most people don’t care if you’re telling them the truth or if you’re telling them a lie, as long as they’re entertained by it.” — Tom Waits