Wednesday, August 02, 2017

On lies and liars

On "Morning Joe" this morning Joe and Mika were talking about the lies of President Trump and they were so upset about it all that it made me wonder if they were feeling some kind of unconscious guilt about breaking up there own marriages and becoming engaged to one another. But it did get me thinking about lies in general.

I've always been reluctant to admit the power of lies in human behavior, it seemed too cynical. But many people---at least materially and politically successful people---would call you a fool (if they were honest) to be against making false statements intended to deceive. Many billionaires and people in political power are big liars, and that apparently includes our demagogic President.

If you believe that lies are a sign of weakness, that seems true in the sense that it takes an unusual kind of courage to even find the truth, which is a path practiced mainly by priests, philosophers, and second-in-command military leaders.

If you think that lies bring only short-term power, human history shows that almost every power is short-term power. Religions and philosophies seem to have the longest-term cultural power but they were usually founded by people with no power living in societies ruled by, you guessed it, liars.

So what can people do who don't lie, or who lack the acting talent to lie? (Some of the very best actors are not professional actors.)  I suppose you can look for truth-telling friends.  And learn patience.

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