The Great Superstition of the People of the Lie…

…is the belief that lying is easier and more brutally “efficient” than telling the truth. It is a corollary of what stands behind the most popular moral heresy in the world: the belief that we should do evil that good may come of it.

But the reality, as the existence of the Lie Detector shows, is that lying, so far from saving time and energy, is actually a lot of work. That’s what lie detectors measure, the uptick in physiological signs of stress that always go with having to think up a lie and keep all our lies in order and make sure we don’t contradict ourselves and other knowable facts.

The commitment to the Lie is, for this reason and for many others, deeply corrosive to the soul. And at some level, the liar retains that knowledge. This can be seen when the truth occasionally slips out by accident. So, for instance, as the People of the Lie in the MAGA cult sell their souls more and more to the powers and principalities they serve and get more and more lost in the Lie, they wind up complaining, without irony, that those they are hate are honest and must be beaten, not with the truth, but with better lies.

This reminds me of nothing so much as the complaint of Uncle Screwtape:

Everything has to be twisted before it’s any use to us. We fight under cruel disadvantages. Nothing is naturally on our side.

When you commit yourself to the Lie you commit yourself to a hard life of being forever on your guard against being found out. And you commit yourself to more and more complex and ramifying lies to bury your previous lies. And, in the end, you commit yourself to living in illusion and delusion destined to be smashed by Reality.

It is the way of death, which is why Jesus warns all liars:

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)

And it is why Mark Twain says, with a simplicity that echoes the gospel itself:

Tell the truth. Then you don’t have to remember what you said.


One Response

  1. It boils down to a level of self awareness which is based on humility. Two general neurotic reactions to the vulnerability of being human are to seek a savior and to be special. That’s the doorway for sociopaths to take control.

Leave a Reply

Follow Mark on Twitter and Facebook

Get updates by email