Posted by: Millard J. Melnyk | May 17, 2015

Lying

I’ve yet to find a problem that we can truly do nothing about. There are always things we can do to solve problems, but we sometimes conclude that what we’re capable of and willing to try won’t be enough, so we capitulate. That’s to take a stand from ignorance, because before we try we’re experientially uninformed. Fools take stands that way. We shouldn’t.

Then to save face, we blame the situation or others involved, painting a picture of a scene dominated by an elephant of a problem so huge that it daunts us, making us feel powerless and helpless in its shadow. But just cuz we feel it doesn’t make it so. And trying to solve a problem but failing the attempt sends a very different message than refusing to try at all. Trying shows that we care, but refusing to try sends exactly the opposite message — that we do not care about solutions enough to risk failure. Reasons of necessity and excuses of impossibility then become side issues, irrelevancies, cover-ups of the real issue: Our refusal to try results from elevation of self and hardening of heart.

When we feel powerless, lying gets really attractive. Lies are like mice. They can freak the problematic elephant out of the frame, forcing it to move rather than solving anything, but eventually they proliferate and overrun the whole scene. You’ve heard of “herding cats” no doubt? No one even contemplates herding mice, and yet managing lies is no less absurd or ultimately futile. What’s more, once they realize that they were tricked by deceptive mice, elephants tend to go on trampling rampages…

When we tell a lie, the entire universe testifies against us, except for those few relatively minuscule factors we manage to manipulate, among them facts about our inner worlds. While we’re fixated on the effects a lie will have on others, we fail to notice that by lying we just alienated ourselves both from them and from reality itself, creating a little bit of false world that we’re now obliged to inhabit or else be found out. Beyond this false bit, this fiction, people remain in touch with many things that they aren’t deceived about, things that intently conspire non-stop to expose our lie. Our false, fictitious world is by definition and by nature under cosmic attack that only escalates the bigger the deception gets.

Rather than helping our cause, each new lie squares off against yet another slew of facts that were once benign, transforming them into adversaries that rally against our dishonesty, multiplying the antagonistic hosts of very real, very concrete, very specific information that threatens to expose us. As soon as others find out that our lie is a lie, disconnected from and in conflict with the way things really are — aka the truth — even the honesty, sincerity, and authenticity that we truly have, along with any real truthfulness and all the truths we’ve ever told — it all falls under suspicion if not contempt.

The more falsehoods we erect, the more targets there are for truth to nail and the greater the chance it will obliterate some of them. Credibility is easily jeopardized, and just a few blows can vaporize it. Then we end up on the outside, not those we tried to exclude from the truth by lying to them. Long-term, it’s a loser’s game. But until they inevitably collapse and for the duration, our false worlds become increasingly fragile, black holes of isolation, sucking up the light of others’ genuine care and interest in us, leaving us inwardly vacuous, gaping because we can’t truly let them or their love touch us, the real ones cowering behind the lies, unless we come clean.

We all need to come clean.

Truth not only eventually wins, it’s the only thing real enough to compete in the first place, and there’s no contest. Lies literally aren’t real enough to warrant resistance, because they and their apparent opposition are false, which means they are not even there. Their power is a ruse that consists entirely in their credibility — in being believed — which is one reason why Jesus advised, “Do not resist an evil person.” Their evil is a trick, so resisting it is only to fall for chicanery.

Actual harm happens from acting under the delusion of evil’s reality and it comes either way, whether we act for or against supposed evil. This is the secret that moralists and fundamentalists and conservatives and religious zealots continue insensate and oblivious to: acting against evil makes them part of it, because the whole proposition is a perverted lie, but they swallowed it whole and proceed to act under its influence, buying into a corrupt game while they fly flags as champions of virtue, immersing themselves in cesspools of delusion as if they were paragons of health and perspicacity.

We don’t overcome enemies by eliminating them, but by fixing the noxious, distorting damage to our views inflicted by belief in lies that make others look like enemies. This is the only way to take a position from which we can genuinely love them — which means actually feel love for them — and it raises the more important question: Do we want to love them? In many cases the answer is clearly, “No!” If not, then in some sense we hate them, and only because we believed lies. If so, then where does “evil” actually lie? This is very easy to test. Challenge people or yourself to get to know your “enemies” so-called. Converse with them. Get an understanding of them person to person in real communication. Haters are easy to spot by their adamancy, refusing even to try. Reasons and excuses for refusing to try are just more arguments from ignorance. More bullshit. Lies.

When people do evil things, they do them under the spell of lies. We can easily demonstrate this. Just refuse to believe those lies and then act accordingly. Nothing more surely flushes out whether lies or truth are afoot. If it’s truth and we call it lies, truth-tellers will treat our gaff as a mistake and commiserate, because they’ve sometimes done the same. If it’s lies and we call them for what they are, liars will treat it as foolishness or travesty or malice or crime and try to take advantage of it, usually through guilt or even through demonization. Big difference, and it’s easy to point out. If liars respond to being outed by reacting with threats, intimidation, and violence, they only further prove that their lies weren’t worth listening to, let alone believing, and they demonstrate that they need evil to cover the deficit by forcing us into things there’s no good reason for. If they had truth and good reasons available they would certainly use them, because we would recognize them.

If evil depends on and consists of lies, then in fact it’s nothing — not real enough to warrant resistance. At the very least, resisting evil people shows that their lies are credible enough to motivate us. Our reaction endorses the reality and power of their lies and their evil despite that we purport to oppose them. This is the hypocritical Achilles’ heel of most kinds of protest and all abuse: motivations that contradict the reasons given for the actions they prompted. The reason we react to evil, for or against, is to hide our sense of powerlessness behind shows of strength, hoping we’ll prevail. If we understood and believed ourselves to be truly powerful, we would act proactively. When evil becomes an issue, though, we’re already in reaction mode, whether for or against it — that is, unless it originated in us.

Our problem, then, isn’t to figure out how to oppose evil or evil people, but rather how to truly see them as the pitifully insipid liars that they actually are and their actions as lies, instead of the powerful adversaries that their lies make them out to be. Weak people resort to lying, not powerful ones. Powerful people don’t have the deficit that lies compensate and cover for. Liars lie precisely because they are weak, not powerful. Believing their lies when truth and the power of truth are readily available to us is its own special kind of pathetic weakness.

We were trained to think in terms of avoidance and defense, that when push comes to shove the most important priority is to prevent people and things from doing what we don’t want.[1] That’s an anti-person, anti-thing, anti-love, anti-life attitude that’s incapable of solving anything, and it bears in its own belly the reasons that seal its eventual failure. It’s also the way that “evil people” see things — those to whom evil and lies are more real and powerful than goodness and truth. Instead, we need to find new solutions that focus on what we do want — motivating us and others towards what we want instead of preventing what we don’t want. There’s no “anti” in that at all. It’s “pro” in every which way to all around.

The delusion of evil is an awful, terrifying dream. Before we awaken, while still in powerless/helpless distress, we chronically overlook the fact that non-violating ways to truly solve problems actually do exist — ways to get elephants to want to stop obstructing and dominating the scene; ways to actually overcome evil (by seeing through its lies) and not just resist it. Our being daunted by the enormity of a problem doesn’t intimidate the rest of the universe — only us who feel so small and incompetent — but it’s a lie. Looming so large that all we can see is problem doesn’t mean there’s nothing more to see and no one else can see it. Another lie. The mere fact a problem exists doesn’t mean that we have to accept it as a permanent feature. Another lie.

Of course solutions exist, we silly, mad, deluded people. Just cuz we don’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not there — nor are we crazy to believe that they exist before we find them, not even long before. On the contrary, faith like that is wise, and it’s been vindicated time and again — every time crowds and mobs and herds cried “Impossible!” but despite that some dared to dismiss that lie, believe that what they hadn’t yet found was worth finding, and refuse to give up looking.

To naysayers, especially if you haven’t done everything you honestly can to find new, better solutions, don’t bullshit us and yourselves and expect us to believe that solutions don’t exist or that the problems are inevitable, unsolvable features of “human nature” that will always be with us. Lies. You have no evidence. None. You couldn’t possibly know, because you haven’t looked nearly far enough to warrant “know” yet. All you’ve done is let your huevos drop to the floor. Not to worry — it happens to all of us. Gird up your loins, as they used to say in the old days. Get off your asses, or pick yourself up from the floor if you’ve fallen that far. You’re not done looking yet.

History shows that new solutions certainly do exist, proving it over and over each time someone commits to find them. Those who seek, find. Always. Even much more than they expected when they started looking. Those who say they looked but didn’t find gave up looking. That’s a choice, and it marks the limit of their commitment to hope and progress, which essentially means their commitment to anyone besides themselves. Something else was more important to them, so they stopped looking, and then they LIED that there’s nothing left to find. They didn’t run out of steam, come to the end of their rope, get overcome by adversity, hit a wall or hit bottom, because after those things truly happen we either die or we recover. Instead, after they recovered, they refused to try looking further. Big difference.

Naysayers have abysmal track records — almost as if the universe takes special delight in making the “impossible” a reality, over and over, just to spite them and their self-elevation, hardness of heart, and stubborn refusal to take the risk of believing in answers instead of futility.

Not everyone who says they believe, truly believes. When you’re sincerely, freely, and willingly convinced that something will happen; when you genuinely cannot conceive of anything else possibly happening; when the prospect of failure becomes so negligible and alien that it’s irrelevant to you — not because you tricked and twisted your mind into believing what seems absurd, but because you opened your mind and heart to see what is actually going on in spite of what you were conditioned to believe (i.e., the part that we pretend didn’t happen, so we assume our conditioned state is “normal”) — it will certainly happen. Or else something better. That is faith.

Like the ancients taught, faith does not disappoint — and it makes the thought of resorting to lies downright laughable.

————

[1] For example, my generation was taught that the basic driving force behind the development of life was survival instinct, the instinct to avoid death. Sociology, anthropology, and archaeology are quickly proving that just the opposite is true: instincts for connectedness, communality, and to thrive drive evolution even in disregard of mortal consequences.

Another example: Just compare our own reactions to “follow your bliss” thinking vs. “look out for No. 1” or “it’s a jungle out there, take care” thinking. Which evokes a wistful “Yes, if only…” and which a “Yeah, been there and done that…” response? Which seems more real? More believable?

Or take something as basic and ubiquitous as the idea of ownership. Ownership is not primarily about having things so that we can do what we want with them; it’s not even primarily about keeping others from interfering with our freedom to do what we want with things, when and where and how we want to; it’s primarily about preventing everyone else from using our things whether or not we ever do anything with them at all. Ownership is only secondarily about my right to use the things I “own”. Its primary concern is to make sure that YOU can’t use them whether I use them or not, even if I couldn’t possibly use them for whatever reason, even if I will never use them again. (Of course that’s only true aside from the role of ownership as currency to gain social status, or even worse personal status, which is so far removed from anything that seems healthy and sane I tend to ignore it.)

In effect, we were taught that we can feel free to really live only after we’ve proved worthy of living (character), earned a living (performance), and taken steps to ensure that living won’t be taken from us (responsibility). Once we’ve done all that, THEN WE’RE FREE TO LIVE LIFE AS WE WILL AND HAVE ALL THE FUN WE WANT. As long as we don’t interfere with anyone else. And somehow we swallow all that implicit antagonism as if it were normal. What a joke.

(back to reading…)

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