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Kyeto-X Offline
Angel without a Halo
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Name: Will
Age: 31
Gender: Male
Location: USS Magellan-B On assignment in Delta Quadrant

Posts: 807
Join Date: April 27th 2009

The usefulness of lying as a culture - November 3rd 2011, 06:34 AM

Ok, so no particular reasoning here, just a rant/rambling of an idiot on the Internet...

So anyways, I was thinking about three different things, that in my ADHA mind crashed together to make the hypothesis that lying and deception, and the knowledge that it exist, is essential to our growth as a society.

The first thought that crashed was the idea of Original Sin. Now, this has always been a thorn in my side because it states that every single living person (and quite a few dead ones too) are rotten to the core and prone to evil, starting at birth. While I agree that about 98% of the US Congress eats a small child with their morning coffee, I doubt that a sweet little, cute, adorable, innocent BABY could be evil! I have brought this up with one of my Bible professors at that Christian College I went to. he explained that even a baby will cry just to get attention and nothing else. (This has been record and documented, both personally and professionally. Infants as young as 6 months will cry and crypausing every so often to see if anyone was coming to check on them.) That combined with the Terrible Twos, where a child will do anything and every by his/her self. Well, babies must surely be evil now...

But is lying so bad... What is it about saying something that is not in line with reality? It has to do with trusting a source of information, that is it. If you continue to say incorrect information, I will no longer ask you for information and I will cut you out of my social network. But how do I KNOW that you are lying? By critiquing your information, either from past experiences and expectations of reality, or by networking to other resources (other friends or google). If you say that...the Minnesota Vikings Football team is doing well this season, I can accept that... or I can easily look up the season run of the Vikings and see that they are 2-6 and they won only against other mediocre teams. Your information does not reflect reality. (Sorry, Vikings...better luck next year...again.)

Notice what happened there... I did NOT take your word for it, and I analyzed it. There are other groups of people that do this...there are called scientist, the eternal skeptics. They never take another scientist word for anything; they try it for themselves. That was how the Scientific Revolution started. Galileo didn't just accept that heavier objects fell faster then lighter objects, he freaken threw some metal balls off the tower of Pisa and timed it.

It is by doing the continual questioning of what others have said that we move from one state of mind to another, (not just in science; it was just the most obvious example). Growth and change never occurs from a comfortable place. Growth must come from rejecting the current view of reality and searching for better view. But that can never come if we are never taught to question what others have said. And we have no use of questioning what was said if we are not taught that people can, knowingly or unknowingly, say untrue things.

One more price of evidence for the necessity of lying comes from the Sci-fi comedy "The Invention of Lying." (yes, It is sci-fi). It takes place in an alternate universe where the human race never developed the idea or concept of dishonesty or deceit. As such, the entire movie is filled with people blatantly and crudely telling their personal feelings and actions to each other. In the first scene, Ricky Gervais knocks on Jennifer Gardner's door. She finally answers after about two minutes of uncomfortable silence, and says quite plainly "I am sorry, I was upstairs masturbating." to which Ricky responds...quite accurately, "That makes me think of your vagina!"

The point of mentioning this is the fact that without lying, or at least covering up socially unacceptable situations like that, the world would be an awkward place. Lying allows us to put up a buffer to our personal lives. Instead of announcing that you would like to have sex with Hot Person A, you can simply comment that he/she is attractive. Instead of bluntly telling someone they are ugly and turning them down for a date, you can soften the blow some. Lying has become a social buffer.

Also, another form of "lying" that the movie brought up was creative medias. Harry Potter's universe does not actually exist, so to say that it does would be a lie. And yet, within this universe, after we have suspended our disbelief, we can explore life, love, the power of friendship and the importance of paying attention to your professors, from an angle that we cannot see in the real world. Same thing with art. You are making a representation of something that either isn't there, or cannot exist. By having us be lied to by the creators of art, and suspending our disbelief of such a universe, we can be shown an infinite number of universes, and an infinite number of stories, that will point to and color an infinite number of aspects of our reality.

Thus, lying is not to be seen as evil and something to be avoided, but a tool to be used from both sides of the conversation. It is a paintbrush that can be used to show us new things about the universe and ourselves.


"One of the things I regret the most of being able to imagine anything,
is having to fear nothing"

"Realty is a lot more malleable then most people think.
They just refuse to believe that they can do anything about it."

"If a simple electron has a small,
but nonzero chance of doing the impossible,
what is stopping us from doing the same thing?"

-Wise Sayings from a Raving Lunatic
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culture, lying, usefulness

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