Monday, November 19, 2012

The Loudest Lie

We lie the loudest when we lie to ourselves.  Eric Hoffer

Machiavelli said, “For a long time I have not said what I believed, nor do I ever believe what I say, and if indeed sometimes I do happen to tell the truth, I hide it among so many lies that it is hard to find.”

“O, my,” you say. “Wilson … he has got to be the patron saint of modern politicians-journalists-media-_______(fill in the bank with your favorite villain)!”

Question. Which is the greater evil: Is it the fact that so many of our politicians, journalists, and media moguls are the greatest liars ever to spin a yarn, or is it the large percentage of the population who are demanding the lie?

How is it that, while we would never dream of lying to others, we constantly lie to ourselves? “I do not want to know what I know and see what I see… I don’t want to be disturbed by frightening facts. The lie is more comforting.”

Let us all chant the wisdom of Big Brother:

War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.
--Orwell, 1984

Ahhhh, sweet comfort.

Sometimes, however, “sanity is a cozy lie.” (Sontag) It takes courage to face reality (personal or societal) and embrace the initial madness that accompanies acknowledging the truth, after so many years of hiding in lies.

Have you ever had that experience? Eyes are opened and the heart is aghast: confusion, madness, anger, mortification: “I was a foooooooool!” And then the creeping realization that somewhere back there,

I. Choose. The. Lie.

Hiding from the truth doesn’t change the truth. Denying facts does not change the facts. Pretending that reality is other than what it truly is only feeds the hiding-beast and makes his looming and inevitable appearance all that more costly. And before we start pointing out the speck of lies in the other guy’s eye, let’s do some personal work on the log that is in our own eyes

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2012

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