“YOU ARE NUMBER 17 IN THE QUEUE, PLEASE CONTINUE TO HOLD, YOUR CALL IS IMPORTANT TO US.” (1)
“I DO STILL LOVE YOU, I JUST NEED SOME ME TIME THAT’S ALL.” (2)
“WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.” (3)
“I DID NOT HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH THAT WOMAN.” (4)
Lies or just a different kind of truth? Whatever the context and however transparent the intention to mislead, each of these statements has a grain of truth buried in its obfuscation. But does that grain of truth negate the intention to manipulate our feelings, our sense of proportion? Is it not the purpose of liars to impose upon us something absurdly anomalous, repeating it often enough, so that in the end we actually believe it to be true and above all normal.
Lies can be spiteful with sometimes significant implications such as an asthmatic being directed to the wrong end of town for the Emergency Pharmacist by someone who didn’t really know where it was but didn’t want to lose face. Stupid! Or it’s a “vitally important call about your bank account” which soon turns out to be vulturous sales twaddle. Irritating! Equally it could be as potentially hazardous as giving her the answer she wants to hear when she asks if her bum looks big in that dress. Dangerous! But what about the woman whose man is so happy she told him the cancer she suffers from won’t kill her. Only she knows it will, and soon.
A million common lies, one common thread – manipulation. That’s to say, at its worst, being lied to hijacks something we hold to be precious and forces us to accept someone else’s priorities along with their self-scripted version of reality. At best the lie is a ploy to make us feel better for one short, sweet, moment.
For better or worse our innate ability to lie, convincingly or otherwise, is just one of the less endearing qualities that makes us human. What do you think?
Different Pulses: Asaf Avidan (+ info)