Friday, August 20, 2010

Lie To Me

This week was spent being trained to become a Truth Verification Expert. It has been quite an interesting week as our rather quirky Belgian Professor taught us the nuances of the psychophysiology of lies, the reasons people lie and how to detect and counter them. Additional to this we were also taught to operate Israeli technology that borders on science fiction. During this fascinating training the Professor stated quite gallantly that society could not function without lies, which led me to wonder, is this really true.
I have written about lies before and mainly focused on the kind of lies that hurt, deceive and generally are told with malicious intent. Never did I actually take a step back and contemplated the idea that lies may also serve a positive purpose. How could this be, you may ask yourself. From a young age we are taught that lies are bad, lying is wrong and honesty is the best policy. However, this is not always true. I would like you to imagine a world where no one lies, a world where every person is brutally honest, a world where you have to be careful of the questions you ask as you may not like the answers. This is the world I would like to share with you today.
In the world we live in today we are all so bitterly polite. Because if you’re not you are considered to be a bitch. Every day we arrive at work and greet our colleagues with a “Hi, how are you today?” when we are not in the slightest interested and would quite possibly be annoyed if they responded with more than one sentence. Naturally, after the rehearsed “I’m fine, and you?” we are forced to respond with “I’m fine” even though some asshole scratched your car, your cat coughed up a fir ball on your new shirt and your neighbors dogs have been barking, none stop, since 11 o’clock last night and you didn’t get any sleep. Yet we plaster on a smile while inside you're screaming.
Being sleep deprived and pissed off you start your day. It’s not long before your phone rings. It’s some person that’s yet again unhappy about something and believes that you control the universe and in your "godly wisdom" caused their problem and only you can fix it. Instead of saying “Listen bitch, stop screaming! Have you ever considered that the universe does not revolve around you and bitching in my ear is not motivating me to help you? Go fuck yourself!!” promptly followed by hanging up. NO... instead we grind our teeth and bite our tongues and only think these devilishly entertaining thoughts with their accompanying visualizations.
By lunch time you are drained and are wishing for a time machine to take you to 4 o’clock. Facing reality you decide to sooth your emotional distress with some comfort food. With your shopping carton full of fattening goodies you unpack it for the cashier to ring up and then you notice that she looking at you strangely. Without a word your lunch is scanned all the while the cashier is thinking “This guy’s pants are a bit tight, but looking at what he has for lunch I really shouldn’t be surprised. When will he come out of denial and buy larger jeans, honestly is he waiting for all circulation to his legs to be completely cut off?” Instead of saying this to you the only words that she utters while taking your ATM card is “Cheque or Savings?
After the day at the torture castle, that pays your bills, draw to an end you drive home in peak hour traffic. Your phone rings and it’s your friend. Your genuine delight from hearing from her soon turns into trepidation. “Honey, J and I want to go for drinks later, do you and hubby like to join us?” Hating J, who in your minds is a social retard, and you’d rather spend your evening at the dentist getting a root canal than spend it with him you politely respond “Sorry babe, hubby and I have other plans”. Not wanting to be pushy your friend responds “Oh ok, rain check then?” While she’s secretly wanting to ask “Like what other plan? Why is it that whenever I mention J I’m blown off? I don’t get those queers, you’d swear they don’t like my boyfriend!
Arriving home and semi exhausted hubby greets you with the standard weekday question “How was your day?” Not having the energy or the desire to relive it you respond “It was ok and yours?” To which he entertains you with the one and only funny thing that happened at his office. You both have a chuckle and he starts dinner. As you start eating the lightly burned vegetables, overly salted and under cooked potatoes and bland meat, hubby asks you “So how is it?” Fighting your first reaction of saying “I have had better” your appreciation for not having had to cook dinner yourself forces you to respond “It’s lovely thank you” while you wash it down with some wine.
Without white lies society would indeed not function. If my husband would have to respond to “Does this jeans make my ass look fat?” with “No it’s that fat in your ass that makes your ass look fat” we may just need marital counseling. We all tell white lies, sometimes to be polite and other times to avoid awkward social situations. Yes, this is something that we all do daily and if we were to stop it just could lead to chaos.

Till next time.

Fagney & Gaycey - Episode 1

10 comments:

AgapiStudios said...

white lies I think they are called ... maybe a bit different than important lies or important truths. If we have to learn to lie then we should also have to learn when it's important to tell the truth and speak the truth. Thanks

Clueless said...

Me again,

I was thinking in terms of telling others that you are gay or whatever a person's coming out is...we all have it. Mine was telling my family about my abuse and my mental health issues. But, for both, you have to do it when you are ready for the reactions and consequences.

Pierre said...

AgapiStudios, that's very true. However, there are many people who are strangers to the truth and the can't distinguish between a white lie and more serious lies - they are the people we should all be careful off and we all should be careful of becoming.

Pierre said...

@Clueless, sometimes we have to live a lie by withholding the truth, but it always comes out, sometimes even when we aren't ready for it too.

nothingprofound said...

Pierre-I don't consider those examples you gave as lying, more like self-control. What we think and feel at any given moment is not necessarily the truth, but some subjective state, so why bash another person with it. It's really more a matter of personal awareness and integrity, than lying. And to be honest, I think we have more to fear from people who think they know THE TRUTH than all the liars in the world.

Pierre said...

nothingprofound, also true. Self-control is what separates us from animals. Well that, speech and lying.

Sabreena said...

I wouldn't be able to get through a day without white lies. There are those self righteous people that hate lying of any kind but I believe those lies that are meant to keep the peace and end up hurting no one are crucial for navigating a normal social life. Have you seen that movie "The Invention of Lying"? It sucked overall, but the example of what a society without any lies would be like is slightly entertaining.

Pierre said...

Sabreena, exactly! If it wasn't for white lies homicide surely would increase, I agree - they keep the peace.

Layla Morgan Wilde said...

Hi Pierre,
I receive your broadcasts via Blog Catalog and I'm finally paying you a visit. Love your clever blog. Good to see some of my fave fans commenting as well. Re: Lying. Is it true the average person lies four times a day and men lie more than women?

Pierre said...

Layla Morgan Wilde, glad you finally got around to pay a visit.

There are two takes on this. One suggest that the average person lies 4 times a day, and then there are the other that suggest that the average person lie 3 times per every 10 minutes (about 432 lies a day). The latter includes white lies, exaggerations and flat out lies.

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