CARTOGRAPHY OF LIES, Myths of Meaning - Let's Prehend
Let's Prehend
A Manual of Human Ecology and Culture Design


"Let us begin by committing ourselves to the truth, to see it like it is and tell it like it is, to find the truth, to speak the truth and to live the truth." ... "Sincerity, that's a winner. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
—Richard Nixon (pre-Watergate)

Much serious work is being done in psychology that was once called epistemology, the science of knowledge. Daniel Schacter in his SEARCHING FOR MEMORY summarizes: "We live in relativistic times. The idea that people construct their own subjective realities finds ready acceptance among many people. Yet most of us are not easily willing to part with the assumption that there is a shared external reality that is at least partly knowable through memory." Notice he, along with the rest of us, is struggling to transcend the RIDs tradition (p.?). Let's take the problem to its extreme, and maybe lighten it a bit:

No statement is true, and every statement has infinite meaning. A verbal statement cannot be `true' because it is always too narrow to describe all that is going on, and because it is sourced from memories fixed in time out of touch with the eternal flux of reality.

Every statement has infinite meaning, trivialized as it is by False Focus, FF p.?, and fixated by There and Then, TT p.?. Objectively, the infinite assumptions that underlie every statement derive from all of history up to this moment in time. The infinite implications of any statement ripple through the universe.

Such infinite meaning and ultimate distortion is beautifully disclosed by the famous American Neo-Buddhist Werner Erhart in his brochure titled "All I Can Do Is Lie." Fortunately, objective infinitude does not preclude subjective certainty.

The statement of one person to another, though always limited and stuck in time, expresses the totality of the universe, even though our modest minds perceive only crumbs of its meaning. The statement heard has endless interpretations, each woven from the fabric of personal and social life. Fortunately this objective plethora of meaning does not preclude subjective communication of authenticity and intimacy.

For example, when the child replies that his clothes got dirty and his eye bruised because he fell down, the objectivist parent can hear the child's hurt pride at losing a tussle. The parent would do well to address the issue on both levels, to acknowledge both the bruised eye and ego. It might even be appropriate to address only the eye and not the ego, leaving the undercurrents of love undistracted by crude consciousness - the same way we might share in any other dream.

We use this time-dishonored term, "lie", to add the energy of provocation to our discourse. Objectively, every statement is a lie because of FF and TT - even though it has infinite meaning. Subjectively we glean whatever meaning our egoistical minds allow.

That social model that lives in our forebrains keeps tabs on the social process. Deliberate lies have obvious adaptive functions: "This car was owned by a little old lady who only drove it to church on Sunday." Acceptance of lies expresses more than politeness, it goes to the root of friendship and the social contract: "I'll buy your lies if you buy mine." Acceptance of the common lie, perhaps call it *Gurdjieff's "consensual myth", protects the deeper fabric of social life. We've needed these deeper bondings since long before we were humans, and we still need them now. We cannot let the superficial "truths" of our conscious ego damage the social subconscious, so "lies" protect our deeper process.

Studies indicate that people are not very good at perceiving when a person is lying. Clues that disclose the lie include inconsistencies between the words, tones, expressions, postures, etc. all deeply expressive.

The ego structure has a drive for internal consistency, called the demand for the integrity of the model, DIM (p.?). Ego is like a little animal with a life of its own, LOO (p.?). But according to the dissociation of the minor system, DMS, it tends to increase its own integrity by separation from the greater self and the greater reality. This move up-left on the isohealth line is a basic i dissociation, iD.

To summarize all this as alphabet soup: The LOO ego, because of FF (False Focus) and TT (There and Then), manifests DMS (Dissociation of the Minor System), in this case TW (Triumph of the Will), and DI (Denial Ideology). This narrowing of mind and life is often considered part of `survival'.

Let's name some of the common patterns of the lie, each according to its adaptive role in the battle of ego vs reality. On the deepest level is the lie that self is separate from reality. call it the Integrity Lie, IL. The late elephantine thinker Fritz Perls indulges this IL in his, "I am I and you are you, and if we meat (sic) ...." In contrast to this assertion of separation is the broader position of being one with all, integrated with the greater self, with the other, with all people, with the ecosystem, with the universe. The integrity lie, the assertion of separateness, is the essential foundation of the secondary and tertiary emotions, such as grief and hate, p.?.

IL resembles ordinary rationalization: we commonly make up reasons to match our position, implicitly lying that what we say is the whole truth. The particular position itself comes out of the great subconscious ideological life, with more or less internal integration. Along with the Cult Of the Self, COS, this is the root of the Cult Of Individualism, COI, pronounced "coy".

Examples of IL include the exaggeration of autonomy in psychology, independence in sociology, freedom in politics, competition in economics, grades in education, individualism in religion. Such abstract individualism can only be supported by abstract culture.

Another pattern of lie is the Loyalty Lie, LL. LL is a misrepresentation for the sake of loyalty to the quasi-tribal group. LL addresses the issue of tribal loyalty, inherent in the evolutionary nature of homo sapiens, but much muddled in modern life. On the one hand, too many groups claim loyalty to their image or brand name. People are all the more vulnerable to LLs because their need for tribal loyalty is rarely satisfied in modern abstract culture. We have to believe in something, why not Nike.

How else could modern society operate if people did not believe in what they were doing? How else could our nation be defended than by asserting the necessity of its vast military? How else could people be obliged to take `jobs' than by accepting the imperative "You gotta eat!"? How else would the entertainment and consumption patterns be maintained except by asserting that the plethora of abstract pastimes is essential, even fun?

Patriotism is rooted in the deepest of human longings, tribal loyalty. To love one's country is considered a virtue, even when "patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels." The loyalty lie is often a conscious issue in such loyalty training as schools and military, and of course, corporations.{note: FDA Commissioner David Kestler, in discussing the Congress's hearings on tobacco, cites the seven CEO's declaring under oath that nicotine is not a harmful not an addictive substance. Note that these Tobacco Companies are being sued for fraud on the basis of this dastardly declaration. (When the interviewer asked Dr. Kestler if he expected to hold his position much longer, he replied with typical candor, "We rent in this town".) Perhaps such ceremonial assertions are needed to compensate for the dearth of deeper loyalty. But LL is a pervasive subconscious process throughout life. Thus, when Oliver North deliberately and knowingly lies, it enhances his integrity, endears him to the patriotic and increases his popularity, according to the public opinion polls.

The controversy between Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill during the Senate hearings for his confirmation to the Supreme Court illustrate the institutionalization of the loyalty lie. It is well argued that personal behavior such as Thomas's unwelcomed sexual advances toward Ms. Hill has no relevance in a Senate hearing, and little bearing on his qualifications to be a Supreme Court Justice. This silly episode was just another indulgence in Subjectivized OBjectivism, SOB, by media and public. Perhaps such inappropriate personalization results from our culture's pervasive loneliness.

But, returning to the mire, we must admit that it was Anita Hill's fault, not by her intention or behavior but by her very existence, by so distracting this sensitive man with her beautiful brown body. That aside, it is obvious to all that her recounting of events was essentially accurate, and his was a lie, a loyalty lie, LL. The basic contract among our legislators is an agreement to buy each other's lies, the Contract Of the Loyalty Lie, COLL. Maintaining the myths is the price they pay, and demand, for mutual support and loyalty so essential to law and politics. Thus, Clarence Thomas' blatant lies are taken by the Senators, and much of the nation, as a pledge-of-allegiance to our abstract culture. His loyalty lie, therefore, is a positive recommendation to his appointment. He proved his willingness to go along with the boys, a small price to pay for the exalted position of Supreme Court Justice.

Transcendence of the LL is rare, but it does happen. Blessed Robert *McNamara, devoted warrior, Secretary of Defense and architect of the Vietnam war, admitted the war was "wrong, terribly wrong". On "Prime Time Live" TV interview with Diane Sawyer 4/12/95 he even shed a tear, perhaps for the millions slaughtered. But the war was more than a mistake. Killing five million people, poisoning a quarter of the trees and people and bombing most of South East Asia demands further explanation, as we shall see in later chapters.

In government work and similar contexts, where the laws of secrecy are quite compelling, the loyalty lie becomes a legal lie. If some inept employee tells the truth, he is guilty of some awful crime, even sedition or treason; therefore, only a lie is legal. Such LLs are essential supports for the cult of law, COL of COLL.

Conformity Lie, CL, is the common blind acceptance of the cliches of the day. For practice make a list of CLs in everyday life and media: statements and beliefs whose purpose is to get along, deny unpleasantness, avoid confrontations, be one of the team. CLs resemble *Gurdieff's "consensual myths". It is particularly compelling when it rises to rage, such as the hating communism, disapproving `drugs', accepting the vote as proof of democracy, supporting the military as and agent of freedom, and many more such assertions, the content of which is often embarrassingly elusive. The more fragile the CL the greater the escalation to anger - justification by rage.

CL is crucial for social status, especially when such status is more a matter of image than of community function or personal integrity. The salesperson flatters the buyer with claims of status and prestige associated with the item. Advertising offers enhanced self-image, but at the price, to a population starving for values. Accepting each other's myths is the lubricant of social intercourse and abstract economic life.

The Adversarial Lie, AL, is an assertion that both sides know has little validity, but AL is an assertion of independence. In an adversarial culture, telling the truth, in the ordinary sense of the word, is a submission to the common belief system, to the way of the day. Such truth-telling is like necktie-wearing, a statement of subservience. Thus, conscious lying in an adversarial context becomes an aggressive act while truth-telling is a submissive act. AL might well be considered essential, as expressed by Oscar Wilde, "To be understood is to be found out."

The oath of the courts to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth", in addition to its absurdity and the time limits of the courts, intensifies this predicament. That's why perjury is rarely an issue in civil law.

To lie to others does not necessarily cause distress, as long as one is aware of the lie. It is an aggressive act and is apt to be experienced as a victory, if it works. This is called the Syndrome of the Used Car Salesman, SUCS.

It is common among children as well as real people to assert a lie as a confrontation. Such belligerence often forces a retreat. From a weak position, AL manifests as "copping a plea": the defendant admits to a lesser guilt under threat of a more severe penalty. From a stronger position, the sergeant orders the grunt to kill the enemy, both knowing full well that the victim may well be a farmer defending his own land. Kill or be killed, by the sergeant. An extreme illustration of AL is the commonly used term in government circles, "plausible deniability". It's an accepted term, still used and practiced, as if deceit were the price we pay for a crumb of tribal loyalty. "My Country, right or wrong!"

One must not necessarily leap to conclude the Principle of Reversal, PR: any statement issued by the government is true in its reverse, such as "...a kinder, gentler nation." or "We are not at war with the Iraqi people, only with Saddam Husein." as asserted by President Bush as he allowed the destruction of Iraqi electric power, water, and sewage systems. Another common example of PR is the statement that U. S. foreign policy is to promote democracy around the world - rather than to discourage it by supporting dictators and puppets. The quantity of PR roughly measures the health, Ai, of government.

Related to this is the Principle of Projection, PP: Accusing the opposition of some nefarious activity that is actually an announcement of one's own policy. For example, the Cuban Government is accused of heavy involvement in the drug trade, while the CIA was bringing dope from Central America. The late great I. F. *Stone pointed out that the function of government intelligence organizations is to obscure and deny intelligence. Gathering intelligence is a task that should be left to journalists, like himself.

Another pattern is the Covert Action Syndrome, CAS. It uses DEliberate Disinformation, DED: not just a lie nor a denial, but a creative construct deliberately designed to weave a web of distortion to rationalize and promote policy. For example, the overthrow of Mossadegh and the installation of the Shah of Iran, the overthrow of Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, and the rebellion of the Kurds and Shiites against Iraq in 1991. These and many other cases were each exquisitely engineered with disinformation, well documented by *Chomsky and many others. The DD task occupies some of the most astute and advanced minds in our great nation. It exemplifies the severest pathology of propaganda: the propagation of a coherent, though psychotic, world view. "In war, truth is the first casualty." The warrior might well argue that lies save lives. But it's still a warrior strategy, designed to exact tribute, not to promote organic world culture.

The individual can handle this split between idea and reality in a number of ways, all painful: Apathy is the easiest and most common reaction. But the cost of apathy is a poverty of social and political life, a loss of the luxury of participation to which every human is heir. Displacement, projecting one's problems onto others, is another favorite device. Denial, at least, offers more energy, slightly more political participation, and has the support of mass media. Such neurotic distractions rob life of politics, a process that should be a mode of loving mankind. As such schizophrenic splitting increases to the point of compulsive psychotic delusion, the modern abstract culture becomes dangerously omnicidal.

Not all lies are bad. Wholesome Lies, WL, usually take the form of humor. (Pronounced "wools" or "woolies') Like so much humor, they point out the incongruities in our model of reality: things just don't fit together, and are too complicated anyway. Miss-attribution of sources is a common example: "Who cares about posterity. What have those bastards done for us?" attributed to Karl instead of Groucho Marx. Lover's lies are another example of good lies which bolster objective love against the onslaught of ego and age. How else would the Lord's work get done? Exaggeration, like metaphor, is seen as enemy to the contracted mind, but is also a valuable resource to save humankind. WLs don't have to be verbal. Children love to dress up as someone else and put on mamma's shoes. Babies learn critical thinking by having their legs put through the arms of their little shirts.

Children's lies can also be an exploration, a creative act. "Let's hoist up the flag and see who salutes." But validation is crucial to this operation. It's lack of response that makes the pathology. Dr. Berry *Brazelton in his San Francisco Chronicle (NYT Special Features) 1/16/94 column headed LYING IS NORMAL FOR PRESCHOOLERS, comments: "...around the ages of 4 and 5, ...a child's imagination and wishful thinking help him explore his new world safely. He lives in a world of fantasy over which he has active control. He can change it at will. An active imagination is a sign of emotional health at this stage - even if it leads to wishful thinking and untruths. And it will.y[This is an] opportunity for parents to share the child's wishful thinking while teaching him something about himself. ...."

Distress, like anxiety, is caused by - and measured by - lies. To tell the truth to one's self is to acknowledge what's so. Acknowledging what's so is a step toward transcending the problem of truth and lies. It includes but exceeds accepting and transcending the self.

Of course, the ultimate lie is the ANXiety Lie, ANXL: the lie that one is separate from God, the ultimate DMS iD of the mind. Nothing is true but that thinking makes it so, and such is the nature of mind.

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