Saturday, December 31, 2016

Is Lying Bad for Us?

Recently, "fake" news has been discovered hiding among our social media posts.

The problem has become so apparent that even members of the mainline media are writing about how terrible it is that we all have become victims of "fake" social media postings. Editors are working day and night to come up with a solution for determining "real" from "fake" news.

Not to diminish the problem, we actually have a tradition of deception or "fake" news which has been around since humans were invented. Only the medium has changed today.

From our earliest days mankind has used deception to misdirect truth. Instead of acknowledging responsibility we often claim innocence, ignorance or accuse another of being guilty.

Among the most historical examples of deception is the Biblical story of Cain and Able (Genesis 4:9-4:16). Cain killed his brother Able when he grew jealous of him.

“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ He said, ‘I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?’”

As the story goes, for the murder of his brother and his attempted deception, God ended Cain’s way of making a living as a “tiller of the ground”, gave him the “mark”, so that no other man would kill him and then banished him to eternal wandering, “east of Eden”. Things didn’t work out so well for Cain.

Sadly, since Cain’s time and right up until now, mankind has most often chosen deception rather than truth when confronted with facing responsibility for a heinous crime, a harmful act against another human, taking unfair advantage of another person or even telling a lie in order to gain some advantage over others.

Further, when you think about it, we often hear, the “Am I my brother’s keeper?” deception offered, especially when the perpetrator has already committed an act against his brother.

It may not be an outright act of murder, but you will hear the same defense, or some derivative of it, offered as an excuse for taking advantage of less fortunate people (fill in the blank here with anyone “different”, i.e. different religion, race, ethnicity, political belief, being poor, level of education, etc.).

Or, as a defense for providing terrible service; selling inferior products; ending “safety net” programs for the helpless; foreclosing on homes for nonpayment of taxes or late mortgage payments; turning the water off for nonpayment — all the while exempting favored people (usually wealthy) from paying taxes or high interest rates and/or providing a multitude of avenues to avoid shut off of public services or foreclosure for default.

To this very day the "deception list" grows, trailing off to infinity.

After all this time, one thing is certain. If you hear the question asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” You know deception is close at hand.

But, no matter, the answer is still, YES.

Please go here for "The Biggest Deception".

Is Lying Bad for Us?
“Perhaps the most powerful moral argument for honesty has to do with what the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre called ‘bad faith.’ Liars deceive others, but in a sense, liars also deceive themselves. When we lie we tend to distort our own view of reality, and the more often we lie, the more habitual this distortion becomes. Over time, the habit of lying divorces us further and further from reality, so we see less and less clearly the choices before us and what is at stake in them. Eventually, we may find ourselves unable to see what we are really doing and how it is affecting others and ourselves. We end up leading inauthentic and irresponsible lives.”
Is Lying Bad for Us?, The Atlantic, Richard Gunderman, MD, PhD, Feb 2013.

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