And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
The truth about lies is that they are just that, lies. They are not as the world truly is, they are not. They are void, they are empty, they are the abyss, the chasm, the darkness. They are the antithesis to reality, to heaven, to earth, to all that is true, to all that is real. They are from the Devil, from the dark places, from Hell. They are not the opposite of the truth, they are not the truth distorted, they are not the truth stretched and twisted, they are the terrible blackness where all light, all the world, all the thoughts, the men, are forever engulfed and destroyed. They are not existence, they are the worst of all things, they are nothing, eternal nothingness.
Do not be deceived; do not think that I overstate the thing. Lies are more deadly than you can imagine. Their darkness is the darkness one experiences when deep down in a cave or mine. A darkness that is all engulfing, that is first surprising, then amazing, then unnerving, then frightening, then terrifying, then nothing. A darkness that does not allow any sense of direction, any sense of reality, any sense at all. A darkness in which our mind begins to float around helplessly, no longer knowing what is up or down, what is day or night, what is hot or cold, what is right or wrong, no longer knowing that these things exist at all. A darkness that does not allow life, but allows only confusion and desperation, but to the one who is fully engulfed, allows nothing.
I will give you a simple example: children who are told that Santa Clause is a real man. It may seem innocent enough, and we all know that eventually they will know the truth, but what if they never did? Children who believe in Santa not only believe something that we all know is not true, it is much more profound than that. They live in a world where the possibility of believing in Santa or not, does not even exist. It is important to understand the distinction. They live in a box that is within another larger box, but they have absolutely no idea that there is anything outside of their box. They are trapped in a trap that they do not recognize, a trap for their mind, and because they know of no other position, to them the trap is their world. They believe they are looking through a window at the world, when in reality they are looking through a peephole at a picture that blocks their view of the real world. Perhaps this is a poor example, I would refer to Plato and his Cave for a better one, or the Wachowski brothers and their Matrix for a more contemporary one, or Mickey mouse for a visual one (see picture above).
Now before I go any further let me make it clear that I am not trying to discuss whether or not lies are wrong or bad, I can simply say that they are bad and be done with it. Nor am I trying to say that there are not varying degrees of lies, in fact I acknowledge there are, or that some lies are worse than others. What I am trying to say is that lies have very grave effects on our ability to see and interact with the world as it truly is, and furthermore the terrible consequences of our actions, even if our intentions are noble, that are suffered when we believe them.
Let’s pretend we lived in a world where everyone really did believe in Santa Clause. What happened is that a mom and dad told their kids about Santa and then they died, so they weren’t able to tell them otherwise. Now lets say those kids had kids of their own and passed on the story believing it to be true (which is interesting in and of itself because at that point they are lying, but they are not aware that they are lying). So now let’s say the people start making decisions based on a true belief in Santa, baking cookies, waiting for presents that never come, etc.. Now this is just a thought experiment but you can see that those people live in a world where Santa is real to them, and they will make decisions based on that false belief, and they will call a liar anyone who says there isn’t a Santa.
Oftentimes when discussing reality, when discussing truth, we get sidetracked in semantics. We start discussing the meaning of words instead of the reality that those words signify. We must also understand the difference between objective and subjective words.
When having a discussion about how far away a hill is from where we are standing, we must both agree on what distance means, and we must both agree on what unit of measure we are to use and how that unit is defined objectively. Then we can come up with an agreed upon distance, like 5 miles and 500ft, the truth. If we do not agree on the words and use words that are subjective, we will get into an argument that is based on our own personal perception of distance, which we will probably not only not agree upon, but will change for each one of us depending on how we are feeling that moment. Old woman,“That hill is far away.” Man before large dinner, “That hill is close by.” Man after large dinner, “That hill is far away.”
Now some words, like mile, are objectively defined, but others are subjectively defined. When having a discussion about cold weather we must all agree on what the word cold means, but the problem is, sometimes we don’t. I was raised in a desert, cold to me is 50 degrees, but to a man from the tundra, what I see as cold he may see as comfortable, maybe even warm. I’m sure you can see this ice-man and myself would forever be arguing not about the weather but about what we meant by cold, therefore never making any progress about the actual weather. We could only discuss, and come to an agreement about, the weather in terms that we both agreed upon, and we could only discover the truth, if the terms we agreed upon were accurate measurements of the fact at hand (you can’t measure temperature in terms of inches).
Semantics is like the rules of a baseball game. Unless everyone is playing by the same rules the game cannot be played. If everyone is playing by different rules the game will be chaos and nobody will win, in fact we won’t even be able to determine what winning is.
Now I am not talking about truth and lies to simply lecture, or have some philosophical debate. I am concerned with truth because there are severe consequences in our lives for ignoring it. One can ignore the warning signs of old age, one can say, “I feel fine, I will live forever, I don’t need kids” but that will not prevent one from dying. The foolish man with a house of straw will say, “My house is a fine strong house,” but that will not prevent the wind from blowing it down.
Let me say something about egalitarianism, as this will help clarify what I am saying about lies, and it will further explain what I am getting at. Egalitarianism is a belief that all people are equal. The word equal can be objectively defined as identical. So right away we have a semantics issue. If we define equal as identical, the very definition of egalitarianism is false (as nobody believes that everyone has the same fingerprints, or the same number of cells in their body). Very few things in this world are identical and people are certainly not one of them. Now most egalitarians, those who have not completely abandoned reality, would say that people are not literally identical (not literally equal), but they are equal in the areas that really matter. Well now we have left the realm of objectivity and entered the realm of subjectivity. We must address what we mean when we say the words “really matter.” Do you remember the issue with cold? What really matters? It is obvious, hopefully the egalitarians would agree, that peoples hair color is not equal, ahh but that really doesn’t matter. It is also obvious, now we will start to see the divide, that some people are physically stronger than others, does that matter? You see where we are going. This is where lies get us, to confusion, to anger, to frustration, to nowhere.
One final point. Some would say that it’s okay to lie sometimes, white lies don’t hurt anybody. They are wrong. Every lie, every single lie hurts. Now sometimes you have a choice between two hurts, (you can tell your woman she looks fat in those pants, or you can let her look fat without telling her, either you hurt, or she hurts) so be it, but never ever assume that a lie doesn’t hurt, and never assume that there aren’t consequences to lies, because there always is.