I consider it fortunate to have had negative Christmas experiences from the start. It has given me an “outside looking in” perspective at the whole phenomenon. It also has made me wary of authority and what they pass out as truth.
About the same time i had this dream, my little brother was catching hell for leaving puddles on the floor. He was three. Then he caught more hell ‘cuz he tried to blame it on the kitten. My old man was livid. Telling the truth was a big deal to him. I even caught a little hell just for being in the room. So, when i climbed up in the garage attic and found the leftover scraps from the cowboy outfit my folks told me had come from Santa, i got pissy for a six year old. If honesty was such a big deal, how come they lied to me about ths Santa Claus shit?
The Benevolent Lie
“You’ve kind of suspected it all along, right? It always seemed like something wasn’t quite right. You believed that elaborate story they told you and now it turns out to be bullshit. You have a right to be pissed. That was the first time you caught them lying to you.
There is no way a fat elf with flying reindeer could deliver presents ’round the world in one night. But that was the first clue… don’t believe everything they tell you. You could end up playing the fool.”–Luce Gravel
There is more to this than just fabricated stories for children. In our culture lying is a way of life. Santa was our first lesson in lying for a good cause. I call it the benevolent lie. You can count the tooth fairy, the boogy man and Easter bunny in that class. Where does it end?
Does our health care system really promote health? Does our system of education really educate? Do the police really protect and serve the public? Are the courts really there to dispense justice? Is the government really of, by and for the people?
Once you start to face the lies, and question the authority that presents them, it becomes apparent that the con game is much more complex than it seems on the surface. U bin had!
Deceit is Natural
Look around you, deceit is a natural phenomenon that is basic to plant and animal behavior. Plants and animals spend a lot of energy trying to fool their enemies and potential prey . They have learned to mimic each other in color, shape, behavior and even pass hormones and pheromones. Plants go to great lengths to fool insects into participating in their pollination. These complex sexual arrangements are no accidents, but carefully contrived strategies designed to propagate the species.
Research into human behavior has shown that deceit is part of our baggage as well. Babies learn to deceive their parents at an alarmingly early age. Children and teens become proficient liars when confronted with the difference between what is acceptable behavior by their parents and what is demanded by their peers. Need I bring up the battle of the sexes to support my argument?
Supposedly our culture abhors deceit, yet rewards it at every turn. First of all, our culture teaches us how to use deceit in games and entertainment.
To be successful in most competitive games, the players are expected to use deceit of one kind or another. The player fakes one way and goes the other. The chess player, or general, feints an attack from one quarter to get his opponent out of position and attacks from another. In poker or bridge, keeping your cards a secret is essential and bluffing is a valuable skill. In other areas, we also admire the very best fakes and liars. We pay to see a magician who we know is going to fool us. Writers of fiction are paid to spin wild yarns that are expected to be untrue.
Heroes of fiction usually solve a crime or prevent some injustice by unraveling the lies and exposing the truth. However, in real life we find that this seldom happens: our heroes, mostly law enforcement types or lawyers unravel only the most obvious lies, so even poorly planned deceptions are usually successful. The ones who go to jail are often scapegoats, patsies, enemies of somebody important or simply shanghaied to provide slave labor. After all, privatized jails need to fill beds to show a profit. TV, movies and dime novels support the lie that cops and lawyers and judges are noble defenders of our rights and freedoms. That’s how lies get sold to the public, but it doesn’t make them true.
Some “system of justice” we have. Trials favor the best liars and cheats. Juries and witnesses are easily manipulated. Judges can be bribed. It happens all the time. The advantage goes to those most willing to con, intimidate, bribe and/or kill in order to win their case, in short, the criminal element. An honest citizen hasn’t got a chance.
In the news lately we see the white collar and political crooks getting off scot free, while the little folks get jail time. That’s if the big shots are caught at all. How many other “Enrons” are there out there? We citizens are told that crime doesn’t pay, but it does for these guys. Come on, look around. Between the honest folks and the criminals, who has the bucks and who is dirt poor?
The system is set up to favor the crooks. Even honest folks find that when times really get tough, there are more illegal options for putting food on the table than legal. Some of them aren’t really dishonest, but “protected trade areas”, like drugs and sex. The result is more lies and deceit.
Political parties hire professional actors(deceivers) to front for their causes. (Reagan, Arnold, etc.) It is no big stretch for them because politicians are actors to begin with. We know they just read scripts and are chosen for the ability to sell ideas, but we still get into the process. We just love to be fooled.
Advertising is “creative lying” designed to accomplish it’s singular goal: to sell a product. The public not only believes these lies, but the begs for more.
Government, religion, business and the media strive to project a certain righteous image to the public. If one spends any time in serious study of the reality of day-to-day operations in any of these areas they will find that they don’t even come close to that image.
Lying is a major activity for TV and movie characters. The “situation” in situation comedy is usually a lie someone has told that is compounded my more falsehoods until the “situation” peaks and the liar is found out.
Take history. One only has to study the histories of major world events from different countries or religions to realize that someone is lying.
This isn’t new. Some evil force is not taking over our souls. The Force has owned us all along. Just like steers in the open range, our freedom has always been an illusion. We work harder when we think we are free. Hey, we are happier when we think we are free, why not believe it?
The truth is that we have a very high tolerance for lies. We hear them all the time, tell them all the time and still keep this crazy self image of being honest members in an honest society. Why are we lying to ourselves? The culture we live in thrives on lies. We are immersed in that culture. How do we do it? Denial! We are blind and intend to stay that way.
The pious might say that deceit is of the devil and god is truth. We humans are learning the meaning of integrity and moving towards god. However, the Bible itself gives us evidence that deceit is part of god’s plan. “In God we trust” is a mantra to Christians, yet in the most important event of the Christian faith, Jesus on the cross, he says, “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?”
So, God didn’t tell his only son that he was to be sacrificed? Hmmmm. And we are expected to trust this god? Whom is fooling whom?
We couldn’t keep our sanity without a big dose of denial. We humans are caught in the middle between opposing forces. Until we identify and understand those forces, Life is just not going to make sense, and denial will have to do. However, the gods have given us the brains to figure this out for ourselves. It is important that we do. The survivors will have to.
So we’ve been betrayed, but we can’t take it personally. Deceit is just a tool of the trade in the Natural World. Our built-in denial keeps us from questioning too closely, so we keep some semblance of sanity and it all works as planned. When you know who the gods are and what they want, you will see that it has been a very effective strategy.
So, what is all this deceit and trickery meant to accomplish, and for whom?