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The truthful lie…


Is the dominate question we face—and perhaps have always faced—how to tell the truthful lie? Opinion is truth, lies are truths, truths are truth—it’s all truth; yet, it’s all a lie! And we know it, we accept it, and we lament about it. If this was a TV series we’d complain about how boring and predictable it was. What if we asked the simple question: in what world (or worlds) is something true and in what world (or worlds) is something a lie?


There is simply no reason to believe everything we hear and read (including this.) Even so, and knowing it’s biased, reductionistic, and so on, time and again we decry the state of things. We feign surprise, like a kid in a grade school theatre production who, awkwardly stepping on stage, deliberately say, “Oh (dot, dot, dot) I am very, very, surprised to see you.”


We’re continually put out, yet, ironically, we criticize others for doing the same-old-same-old and a moment later we do the same-old-same-old. For instance, we complain about politicians who declaim, “It’s time for change!” and then, as if on some Python-esk skit we decry, “It’s time for someone new in office!” Except unlike Python skit, we don’t see the subversive and absurdist statement, we take it as truth!

And truth is, ironic or otherwise, the truthful lie is the only reason we exist! Imagine a world with one truth. Whose truth would it be? How would we pick? We’ve tried. Religious, political, and economic acts of colonization were truths; yet, clearly, they were lies… but a truthful lie. So we have to lie, albeit a truthful lie. So what does a lie look like?


If we ask ourselves: what does a lie look like in a free-market society? The answer, it looks like, well, lies about what’s best in a free-market society. It’s the lie about the wisdom of the invisible hand of the free market, it’s the lie about eternal growth, it’s the lie about hard work leading to our ennobled success. In short, it a flipbook of myths that sustain the same-old-same-old. And this is not without good reason. We are faced with a steep question: How do we exist if we do not exist within the story of the truthful lie? Who are we without the lies?


Does this lead to interesting existential questions?