Right from society’s earliest beginnings, we’ve been told many lies. Thunder and Lightning were the warnings from angry Gods, sacrifice and penance, the only means to appease. Witches steal children and cast spells of drought, disease, famine and plague. That the world itself was flat, and one would fall of the edge if wandering too close. And we all too easily believed them, living in fear while cowering in the shadows of our ignorance.
Today, in the 21st century, science and modern technologies have whisked away our ignorance of yore. Yet the lies continue even today? And there are still many who believe them! For we mere mortals are easily influenced by all manner of lies and deceptions. As a result, today, lying has become a way of life.
From little white lies and tiny fibs, to self-serving big whopper falsehoods it seems that lying is all the rage today. Everybody and everyone is doing it! On social media, in the news, in advertising and commercials. Our politicians, our governments even Presidents lie, straight-faced.
When the truth is told? It’s quickly repositioned, re-interpreted and re-messaged to accommodate said authors own private agenda. Now twisted and reshaped, doctored and reformed, its now truly propagandized resembling nothing like the original. This doctored imitation is then forwarded throughout the venues of social media and now for many — this then becomes the Truth!
“A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on.”― Terry Pratchett, The Truth
Yet for the liars? There are no repercussions, no embarrassment, no shame when getting caught! The once largely unfamiliar term of “Doubling Down” now a mainstay in today’s society, its meaning well known as in: following up ones lie with another in protection. Hence, lie on top of lie, on top of another, and soon its original challenge fades away.
Huffington Post’s White House correspondent, S.V. Dáte waited 5 years before finally getting a chance to ask Donald Trump this question — “Mr. President, after three-and-a-half years, do you regret at all, all the lying you’ve done to the American people?” — Unsurprisingly, he received no answer!
According to a tally by The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, as of July 2020, Trump has made more than 20,000 false or misleading claims while in office. The false claims range from Trump’s impeachment trial, the coronavirus pandemic and protests over the death of George Floyd.
WE LIE TOO!
Okay, politicians and advertisers lie. Big frigging news right? But what about you and me? How often do we lie? — According to research, on average, we lie 3 times every 10 minutes of conversation, including little white lies from ” Yes your hair look goods like that ” to ” I didn’t answer because my phone died.” So these daily fibs of ours, and incredibly so, tallies up to about 200 lies per day!
On average, we lie around 200 times each and every Single Day!
So perhaps it’s no big surprise that, on occasion, we all tell lies. Yet 200 times a day is not on occasion? And a lot of these lies come automatic, spur of the moment and without any real conscious thought at all. Oh sure, many are small little innocent fibs of no real concern you might say — concocted to spare the feelings of others.
But in the end, they are still lies! — Socially accepted or not!
And isn’t that the gist of it after all? That lies of any kind can be socially accepted? Perhaps of more concern, is that we are capable of lying without even knowing that we’re doing it? That it’s become almost automatic, consciously unaware. More a product of human nature and an accepted part of our social evolution.
Consciously or not — we are all Liars!
Liar! Liar! All our Pants on Fire!
IT’S HUMAN NATURE?
So if everybody’s been lying and lying often, doesn’t life itself now seem like 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 story-lines 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 one on one self-benefiting lies.
Is it any wonder that we ourselves have become ardent home-grown fibbers — living in a society so rife with falsehoods?
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.
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 lying 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!
It seems our capacity for dishonesty is fundamental to all our relationships 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.”
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. — Remind you of anyone?
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
Yet? Don’t we as a species deserve this? After all, we have all become proficient liars in our own right. Capable of lying even to ourselves! What’s concerning 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 corporate interest organizations lie or even get caught lying!
When the rich and powerful corporations lie to us while raping our land, polluting our air and our waters. Millions, up to 8 million of us die from fossil burning polluted air every single year and that’s just our air! Then when science tries to warn us of climate change, like they have for decades? Corporate lies and propaganda turn our cries into nonsense misinformation.
Is the truth so hard for us to accept, that we’ d now rather make up our own and believe in the lies of others than search for the truth ourselves?
There are over 4000 different religions in our world today. They all can’t be true, can they? Yet over 80% of us globally still faithfully hang on in belief of one of them?
From conspiracy theorists, racist and cultural profiling, Pseudoscience, religious dogma and self-agenda opinionated influencer’s. With propaganda: in the news, in advertising, from our politicians and throughout social media.
Does anyone? Tell the truth these days?
And what about you? Have you checked your own beliefs lately? You know, the ones you’ve accepted from others? From total strangers that you’ve never met only read their perspective opinions. Or had their hearsay passed along to you by somebody else or a group of others sometimes leading to generations of misleading or ill-gotten belief’s.
With so much lying going on in this world and for so long now — isn’t it time we all checked to see if we’ve been lied to? And for how long now?
“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
So where will this take us as a societal species? Surely it has gone too far now, socially ingrained too deeply to be corrected. Will it even get worse? Is our evolution of lying now simply on a runaway unstoppable progression? Out of control and forever now to be part of “who we are?” Forever and ever amen?
And what of our Leaders? Is it our fate to be ruled by those who lie? Those who lie repeatedly with aggression and with the most outward conviction?
Yet — hasn’t this always been so?
And is it not so? — still today?
“You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!” — Jack Nicholson (A Few Good Men)
As always, Search for The Truth!