“You can’t handle the truth!”

Honesty has clambered its way through a barbed, unkempt wilderness and into the forefront of my mind.

I should make it clear- I am not possessed with a compulsion to be honest. It is merely the concept of honesty that is pinging about in the ol’ brain case. To suffer a bout of veracity would be fatal to my career, most of my cabin crew earnestly believe I’m a real pilot (can you imagine? With this eye patch?!) and I’m sure they would make some minor protestation should they realize that I am, in fact, a small wooden figurine of a moth sneezing.

I joke.

I jape.

I pull your leg.

To sharpen the blunt point-

I lie

But these falsehoods reveal a serious point-

How much do we rely on lies?

The word ‘lie’ is used almost exclusively in an accusatory manner. A mainstay in the nomenclature of the pious, with their arsenals of stones stowed far away from anything that could be described as a glasshouse. ‘To lie’ is to deceive, and to deceive is to be amoral and malicious. To deliver an inaccuracy  in such a way that it is considered objectively positive is called being ‘tactful,’ a quality regarded glowingly. Surprising, when you consider that the latter is the clone of the former, at least in composition. All the same motives, ingredients and skills are active and both fall under this absolute definition-

‘A lie is that which is believed to be false but is portrayed as true’

So, imagine both the statements below are untrue-

“I am not cheating on you”

“Your horn compliments your speech impediment in such a way, that neither are noticeable. Like when you use white wine to remove a red wine stain. Those people must be looking at some other monstrous frog beast.”

Intuitively we feel that the former is black and the latter ‘white.’ Why exactly? How do they differ?

They both aim to preserve peace. To renew tranquility. The lie protects both parties. The intention is to euthanize misgivings. Whether out of kindness or cowardice is up for debate, but neither motive is ontologically clear from the statements themselves, and we come no closer to meaningfully distinguishing the two.

But still- the disingenuous sycophant is accepted and the adulterer ostracized (unless i’m wrong about that?). So we must accept that duplicity is a morally grey area, it’s usage can render one both selfish and altruistic in the same motion. Akin to hitting a nail with a hammer twice, the first time the nail is embedded into the wood, with the second it is retracted.

Apparently, we think it appropriate to lie as a kind of social lubricant that can be seen as ‘white’ or altruistic. (More about that and supporting studies here)

By Mark Parisi
By Mark Parisi

 

When do we think lying is ok?

  • Job interviews are riddled with half lies. It’s an ensconced exchange. You’re expected to lie, the test is how competently. I.e.

Q. “What’s your greatest weakness?”

A “I have a tendency to work too hard”

SUBTEXT REVEAL

Q”Are you competent enough to have prepared a reasonable answer to this standard question?”

A”Yes, I used google and found 1000 blogs suggesting ideal answers, one of which i used”

  • We are expected to lie out of politeness. Politeness is an ingenious construct that provides us with a collective camouflage for truth. The more unimaginatively we perform these hard-wired protocols the thicker the veil.

Q. “Are you all right?”

A “Yes, fine thanks”.

SUBTEXT REVEAL

Q “We know each other so it is customary for me to acknowledge you with a perfunctory pleasantry”

A “Although I have innumerable concerns, there is no compelling reason to reveal them. In fact, i don’t have any data that, after analysis, suggests it is possible to safely reveal anything to you that could make me potentially vulnerable.”

Ok, maybe that’s a bit too clinical but you get my point.

  • Another pervading lie is the ‘public image lie’. I’m willing to accept that we all vary in the concentration of bollocks in our self projection, but I firmly believe that we all have this concept of the ultimate ‘Me.’ The ideal you might be a wit, or a thug, a hard worker, a laugh, a comic, a spiritualist, well-traveled, strong, sexy, independent, wise, tortured, confident, intelligent, caring and so on. We are guilty of trying to convince ourselves and to convince those around us of these attributes.

A common example of this is when we try to make ourselves seem impervious, which gives way to that most reactive and throwaway statement:

“I don’t care”.

SUBTEXT REVEAL

“I care”.

Am I making my point here? I don’t mean to suggest that every utterance is shrouded in smoke and mirrors. Only that we are constantly juggling a lot of abstract ideas and expectations that make us stretched and fallible.

If in doubt, make a list (section 2.1.314 of the bloggers manifesto). Here are some other lies I would label as-

‘bare-faced’

“I can’t remember”

“I love …”

“I’m sick”

“I will never hurt you”

“I promise…”

“It wasn’t me”

Just some examples of the perfect balance between fight and flight. We do not flee, nor do we fight, we compromise, we give the most acceptable answer, we dress up the truth and push out the hastily doctored version- scantily clad, as inscrutable as it is unsatisfactory, ready for consumption.

But the disguise is obvious, tellingly so. Picasso put it better (I don’t mind telling you)-

“We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.”

Succession Picasso / ProLitteris, Zürich. Pablo Picasso. Le sauvetage, 1932. The Rescue

Naturally, some fabrications are entirely self-serving. “I didn’t steal your money” is a pretty one way street. The problem with the moral decision process that we imagine preludes the creation of all fib-kind is that the arbiter is the most bias, self-serving possible: the benefactor. So those who have pretty lax moral screenings are quite capable of contriving some truly colossal tales (that little fellow with the wolf to name but one). Anyway, I’m sure that many have felt their own nonsense justified and other people’s reproachable. But the commonplace, reactive approximations we churn out endlessly are not so easily explained.

Why say “I’m fine” when you are not? Why pretend you know what you don’t? Why subscribe to this communal inhibition? Why pretend, act and appear?

For the answer to this I refer to Picasso’s far more succinct summation above.

We know it is not truth.

The words we have are simply not adequate to portray the complex, unknown nature of the thing. Lies are comfortable and, a really heart-wrenching one, can tell us more about reality by the shadow it casts across the gaps between thoughts than the bravest attempt at earnest eloquence. The absence of light is at least proof that something is missing.

So have respect for a fiction that’s crafted especially for you, keep and scrutinize it like you would a love poem or portrait. Study the movement of the shadows and guess, like a product of Plato’s cave, at its meaning.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not a pilot.

The Cynical Death II

Obvious love, so pure, so humane,
At such a morbid time!
To amorous for one to feign,
I think that I might be just fine.

I think I will go on,
Another 20-30 years,
Tragedy aside life is uncertain,
It would not do to drown it in tears.

“A great tragedy,” the voice sung out
“She will be remembered fondly”.
I cannot endure the heartache, dragging out,
But, the sweet body must not be laid wrongly.

Immortalised through an epitaph,
Sweet words,
Death comes, then the bereft-
Here they herd,

In the churchyard.
“No, thank you Vicar, yes it was hard”

Stand Down

Sneak your nose above the
Glass surface-
You unworthy swine.
See the glare of self-improvement and
Thank me as it
Burns your eyes.

Conform,
And be content in your inadequacy.
Fineness is meant for those that are
Lucky,
Not those that are free.

Make Believe

It is known that it is a mere contraction of
Muscles
that pull up the
Lips
and makes a
Smile

And that the
Heart,
when it does flutter,
is ans’ring only to a synthesised
something seeping from a
Gland

Furthermore- if a
Knife
were to drag over
Skin
the pain would be imaginary and the
Blood?
a boiler leak.

Similarly-
Should you feel an aching in your
Joints,
Rest easy-

It’s make believe.

An I For An I

I can manufacture the perfect
Inner quagmire.
But rather than fester in’t-
I mine the force that gives
Perspective.

I stand in a swamp and absorb
The cathedral of nuance,
The clarity of character,
The complexity of contingency
Is but a wave to an ocean,
A shine to a sun.

Truth bleeds through the universe’s pores
And screams in a foreign tongue
Into the deaf ears of the mindless, stilted content.

I am the student.
The teacher.
The lost.
The found.
The messenger.
The proof.
The link.
The beat.
The limb.
The feet.

And I know nothing.

“Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

We open today’s diatribe with a quote from ‘The Big Lebowski.’ I think Jeff Bridges is cool. Here’s my evidence- The Dude Perhaps you feel differently? After all- for every opinion there seems to be a counter out there. We may think we are in safe territory with an apparently self-evident statement such as “murder is wrong” but there are all kinds of ways of scratching away the validity of a statement. What defines murder? ‘Is’ implies the absolute, and is murder always wrong? What is wrong?

Semantics aren’t a particularly jolly subject and you may find my comments to be hackneyed and self-congratulatory. Bear with me, I may weave a joke or something in. Well done me.

It’s ‘Pride’ season in the UK.  No, I don’t mean the country is awash with large groups of lions- you silly billies, I mean Gay pride. I came across this story online-

http://www.demotix.com/news/5125359/anti-gay-christian-group-mocked-during-london-pride-2014/all-media

antigay-christian-group-is-mocked-during-london-pride

Now, I should say here that I feel proud to say that I don’t think being gay is wrong. Although, Bernie Ecclestone and Vladimir Putin would have us think differently-

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/bernie-ecclestone-completely-agrees-with-vladimir-putins-antigay-laws-and-so-do-90-per-cent-of-the-world-says-f1-boss-9143643.html?dkdkd

A classic case of a differing of opinion. Here are some more opinions of mine-

-Bernie Ecclestone is a dick

-Vladimir Putin is an ambitious axe man

 

Now for an opinion we can all relate to-

 

“I think it’s wrong” We all say / think this about something. We hear people say it all the time. We either agree, disagree, are indifferent, ambivalent or confused. But what does the statement actually mean? I propose that it means very little, if anything. Here’s my reasoning-

 

“I”

Here ‘I’ refers to oneself. Surely there is no subject that we are baffled by more and no individual we can trust less. We change almost unrecognisably from year to year, we constantly surprise ourselves by doing and saying bizarre things (I once smoked a grasshopper, for example), we disappoint, abuse, delude and confound ourselves daily. My mother once knew a man who believed himself to be Rudolf the red nosed reindeer- an opinion held as firmly as any other, I’m sure.

“Think”

To think is to… well what is it? I’m not sure. I’m thinking about it and the thought process I am having can’t even conclude what it itself is. Is it my brain? Presumably? So how does consciousness spring from grey matter? All questions… no definitive answers.

I like what Emily Dickinson thought though-

“The brain is wider than the sky.” Emily Dickinson

It’s”

Depends on the subject I guess. If we take ‘being gay’ as an example- it’s certainly not black and white, it’s a wide spectrum (OPINION ALERT). I’ve kissed boys, does that make me gay? Was Elton John gay when he was married? Are dogs gay when they shag their male owners leg? Who can say?

“Wrong”

The fact that opinions differ at all tells us that this concept is as difficult to pin down as a very slippery thing (my use of metaphor amazes even myself). If murder is wrong why do our taxes pay for war? And so on.

 

All of a sudden the simple statement “I think it’s wrong’ is rendered ridiculous. It seems insanely arrogant that we act so confidently upon the most flimsy of perceptions.

There is only one thing that I am totally certain of- nobody, especially me, knows what the fuck they are talking about. We are all entitled to our opinions but it is conceited in the extreme to suggest we are correct. And I’m probably ‘wrong’ about that too, and everything else.

So, that’s it.

DISCLAIMER: Lions aren’t Gay… often.