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Lies We Tell

March 25, 2013

I wrote an entry a while back (maybe not here but elsewhere) about how I’m a liar and I lie and lie and lie. I lie to myself. I lie to my friends. I lie to lie some days. Or maybe I don’t. For me there’s always been the small lies which hurt no one and then the medium lies that have the possibility of hurting people and then the big lies which are enough to hurt deeply if found out. Mine are usually on the first two levels and I save the big lies for myself which inevitably hurt the most. I’m beginning to feel differently about that, though, because lying just seems like an impossible task for me. It hurts too much and cuts too deep and most of all makes me feel like shit. This isn’t to say, “Truth all the time doood!” But being more truthful with people and more truthful to myself is a pretty worthy goal.

I came to terms with the fact that people need to lie and we lie on a daily basis in order to make things work–the unvarnished truth would have us all murdering each other, but we have to lie. We lie to keep the peace, we lie to save face, and we lie to save someone else’s face. These aren’t bad things despite what any faith tells us, but the more powerful and potent lies we save for ourselves in our darker moments. The self-delusion and self-hatred on display is immense. Really, with that whole ‘Story of You’ thing I can kind of get why only one person replied–because we’re tangled knots of truths, half-truths, and flat-out lies. That’s kind of hard to sift out and make into three coherent pieces that are legible. No, I don’t fault any regular user for that. I just learned a lesson: being totally truthful is sometimes difficult.

It’s also not like I’m the least self-delusionaly delusional person to ever exist–I damn well lie to myself on a daily basis and apparently (as was pointed out yesterday) my words reveal my level of self-delusion or how much I just do not like myself. I call myself cowardly when really (also pointed out) a better and more positive or at least an ability to change would be timid or inhibited. After much digesting of that thought I came to the conclusion she was right! That’s my self-delusion: the belief that whatever happens it will turn out badly so there’s really no point in believing in who I am. That also has the added benefit of letting my shame dictate my actions and never having to worry about making a decision or moving forward because it decides for me.

“So if we lie about everything and there really is an infinitesimal amount of truth in us then why bother?” You’re probably not asking yourself. I think, in terms of the self and who we want to be, we should strive to discover our own truth about ourselves. Why do we tick? Why are some days better than others? Why does one painting make us cry and the other leads to revulsion? These questions really need answers in order to find out the truth about ourselves and the great thing is that not everyone’s truth will be the same. We each have something special and different about who we are–that’s the power of being alive and having cognitive processes: we can decide these things and come to a conclusion. Maybe we’re wrong and maybe we’re not, but the only way to find out is to turn down the bullshit we tell ourselves each and every day of our lives.

Or at least that’s what I think. If you can come to a better conclusion then post it.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Me. permalink
    March 25, 2013 3:41 pm

    As a bit of a formerly pathological liar, I feel the need to respond to this. First off, I want to say that I really appreciate your honesty and that I believe most people feel the same way. Whether they are big lies or small lies, we all lie, and as you pointed out, lying is indeed necessary to maintain peace in social communities, whether those communities are big (a nation, a continent, the world) or small (a friend group or a family). So the problem has to be a matter of degree, of finding the middle. I personally have been lying ever since I were a toddler, and always felt guilty afterwards, but atleast when you are a child, you can go to your mum, owe up to your little lies, and be absolved. As I grew older, the lies grew bigger and more intricate, and somehow, going to my mum to confess them didn’t really seem like an option anymore. Mainly because of one big lie, my conscience started weighing heavier and heavier on me, until I couldn’t take it anymore and confessed it to my then best friend and now partner. Rather than not wanting anything of me anymore, he forgave me, and I don’t think I have ever felt so relieved. I think the word “confession” is actually quite appropriate, because for me, it almost felt like a religious experience, and an essential part of a genuine effort to turn my life around (call it a conversion) and try to be from that point on, as much as I could, a good person
    Since I am unable to tell whether there is really such a thing as “the truth” or only a multitude of impressions and experiences, I doubt whether we can be completely sincere to ourselves or to anybody else, but I do believe that trying to be as sincere as possible to (mainly) ourselves contributes a great deal to our happiness. This also reminded me of your previous post, “The Story of You”, because I really think our Selves or identities take the form of a story or narrative (which is why Paul Ricoeur probably speaks of narrative identity), in which we try to make sense of all the disparate things that happen to us. To complete this, I’ll just share a quote by Anthony Giddens, which I found very interesting:

    “A person’s identity is not to be found in behaviour, nor — important though this is — in the reactions of others, but in the capacity to keep a particular narrative going. The individual’s biography, if she is to maintain regular interaction with others in the day-to-day world, cannot be wholly fictive. It must continually integrate events which occur in the external world, and sort them into the ongoing ‘story’ about the self.”

    I am not completely sure whether I agree with the part about the individual’s biography not being wholly fictive, since I believe we interpret everything that happens to us and in that sense give it the form of a narrative, but for the rest, I agree with the G-man.

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