Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Cost Of A Lie

To maintain a lie or lies requires effort. A scaffold of deceit needs to rise ever higher to secure the foundations. And like all structures, there's only so far it can go.
I've just spent the last two hours reading an e-book titled simply "Lying"
It is a mere 26 pages long, and penned by Sam Harris. It has, without question, ripped me out of my comfort zone.  On every page, assumptions I had made were torn up. More important, and more uncomfortably, it has shined a light upon me that has left me feeling uneasy about what I have allowed myself to be.
Yet what is a lie? Well put simply, it's a failure to engage honestly with the world and it's inhabitants. It's a conscious decision not to be authentic, and it deprives others of a genuine vision of ourselves. And I don't want that. I don't want people to be suspicious of me, or to have concerns that I might not be the person they think I am. That's no way to build meaningful relationships; in fact it's an almost perfect impediment to them.
I'm thinking now about those times when my honesty has sacrificed itself at the alter of my self interest. Perhaps I omitted to provide you with a complete picture, or neglected to reply honestly to a sincere but difficult question? In short, I've created an unseen barrier, a veil of fiction that may sour future interaction. Once again, I don't want this. 
The cost of maintaining a deception seems to outweigh any benefits. My type specimen example is the total dishonesty I felt some years back, when I continued to attend church even though I had long since ceased to believe any of it. I kept going because I didn't want to confuse my children, or create a huge family issue. I kept it going for weeks, for months, and in so doing lied to myself and everybody who knew me. I cannot tell you the relief I felt when I finally shed that skin. It's not that my life got better, but I felt better as a man. I had decided that my personal integrity meant too much for me to carry on this way. And just in case you needed to hear this, the honest choice won't always be the easy one. I've far fewer friends now, and I'm incredibly wary of people who expect me to swallow claims without examination. 
Yet that's why the truth is the truth, isn't it? It isn't there to offer comfort or an easy way out. It's a brute fact about reality and it doesn't care for our feelings. No, the satisfaction must come from within, From knowing that we've been authentic, that we looked life squarely in the eyes and accepted the burdens inherent. 
But enough about me. What are you lying about? How highs your scaffold?
And in the quiet moments, when you stare plainly into the abyss of self reflection what is it that you see? Can you be trusted? Do others have good reason to trust you or should we be wary? In short, what are you? 
I don't need to know the answer to that, but i'd suggest that you do.

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