“Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.” – Otto von Bismarck
‘When it becomes serious, you have to lie.’ – Jean-Claude Juncker, former President of the European Commission from 2014 to 2019
We all lie. Of this there is no doubt. And anyone who tells us otherwise is lying. While there are a billion and one reasons to lie, there is only one purpose…to gain advantage, leverage or to maintain, consolidate or increase power over our children or spouses, other family members, friends or unrelated individuals, groups large and small and even entire nations.
At its most innocuous, a lie may be considered small, kind, even considerate. Often, we tell little ‘white’ lies designed to sooth or placate a loved one or close friend. At its worst, a lie is designed to kill or injure physically, financially, socially or emotionally.
Ultimately, no matter how harmless or devastating it is, a lie is at its root a power play, information warfare employed to disarm, confuse, convince, steal, disable or destroy. We tend to treat lies, especially lies told to others that have an effect far removed from ourselves and our interests, with benign disinterest or even mild amusement. It’s only when the proximity is close or we feel we are targeted do we become righteously indignant and demand justice and restitution.
The dirty little secret is that for far too many of us, we welcome, even beg to be lied to. Not all lies, of course, just those lies and half-truths that enable us to remain safely cocooned within our own inner narrative, our customized worldview or belief system that neatly packages everything into a more easily digestible and comforting ‘reality’.
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