Why would I write an article on truth when we all know what it is? For one, the definition of truth has been ‘updated’ few times over since we know this abstract concept. Second, the definition as it stands these days may not even be referring to truth as I know it. (Don’t know what you think of it). So here is:
Some time back I saw this movie ‘The Invention of Lying’. I had seen this before..a few years ago.
Lets say we meet and I say to you a pleasantry like “Nice to meet ya!”
Do you take a moment to comprehend and agree with this statement I just said. Most of the times we don’t think about this and get on with our meeting / conversation / chit chat.
And most of the time we don’t believe this statement. Why? Because we have understood this as one of the many in our collection to be used to not say out loud the real thing. Statements like these keep our lives simple and easy. I call these ‘lies of convenience’ and these little, innocuous, dispassionate words of everyday talk have made us payback with much more then we could get out of them.
When I say “Nice to meet ya!”, your mind (and mine too) usually interprets this statement as “We are two separate beings in this space and time and it is essential that we remain cordial to each other till the time we are mutually beneficial to one another.”
Simply put, our mind is creating a reality which is harsher than the untruth I have just told you.
Another example, of a lie of convenience (aka untruth) is when I tell myself that I am unbiased to people of any race, color, etc. and yet I do not try to reach out to those people in the moments that we can, say, share a cup of tea. Rather, I call the same old friends to make the same old chit chat, when there is a small voice in my head craving for a different topic with a different person.
The short term effect of these untruths of words and deeds is our belief (and the consequent reality) we have created for ourselves. So we may believe that the meeting went well, when infact our mind is still not at ease.
The long term result of such untruths is confusion over what is real. Anxiety is usually a follower of this delusion and it comes to a point where people no longer believe anything they say or do. Why do you think some people are always doubtful? There are of course many factors to their situation but the easiest explanation is the disharmony between what they think is real and what they say or do. They are so consumed by this unreal complex that they doubt their ability to say something which is true or even do something which is right. And because everyone eventually has to come full circle, the realisation that most of the time they were deceiving themselves, makes them all the more worried.
A person says lies and gets by fine in the short term. All things, small and big are controlled and life seems easy. In the long term, the person is unable to distinguish between what is truth and what is not. This would mean, in case where he said the untruth to get an advantage he actually starts living it. So his awareness is beyond his own control now. He could say anything, truth or not, and his mind will believe it. Where does this get him?
Well, say, he has a son who is (mildly put) ugly. But our man tells his son something like “You look handsome my boy!” The son believes it and gets baffled when the girl at school laughs at his looks. The boy now loses confidence in the words of his father and this will have long term relationship issues.
On the other spectrum, when a person continues with the truth he may face short term inconveniences like when he did not complement a disastrous meal. But in the long term he and people around him have confidence with the man’s words.
We don’t believe in truth as much as we used to. Even if someone really means when they say “Nice to meet ya!” all we hear is “I am / felt so miserable around you.”
Personally, I am not totally against the concept of lying but I keep it reserved for situations where, say, my life could be seriously altered in an unacceptable way.
So when I say “Nice to meet ya!”, I mean it. Else, I say goodbye and leave.
What’s the significance you think? Well, it is a chain reaction and I will demonstrate the negative bit of it first. It made me think about our choices of truth, the untruth and the whole spectrum in between. And this choice can make such a huge impact on a person that he can be, for instance, a joyous, poor, unknown man living in a non-descript part of town, or a rich, famous, loved man who is so miserable inside that he could give it all to find the cure for his clueless anxiety.