Do lies sustain ignorance?
Commentary by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.
Firstly, we do not normally recognise that we lie.
We are brought up with the principle of “not lying” and although we do it, in our heart of hearts, it is ingrained in us that we should not do it. In any event, there are lies that we do tell voluntarily at certain times and we are conscious that we are doing it.
However, there is another type of lie of which we are not conscious. If I observe my justifications, the exaggerations that I sometimes use, the small manipulations or even how I interpret things, we will find some examples. Nothing in nature is wasted. So, ask yourself, what are lies for?
Perhaps you may recognise some of the following possibilities: to be more accepted in a group, to appear to others as better than we are, to assuage our conscience, but also and very importantly, to look good to ourselves.
The latter, in my opinion, is the most difficult to see and acknowledge, since, we tend to deceive ourselves with the aim of regaining a certain sensation of security, that I am right.
In the majority of our internal dialogues, we tell ourselves about events in the recent past through which we reaffirm our views or our behaviour. And this saves us from feeling vulnerable. What consequences does this automatic mechanism have? What happens to you? If you focus on other people’s situations, it will be easier for you to observe: you may have seen other people deceive themselves and not be able to see things as they are. This is one consequence: we are not able to see true facts, but we just see our interpretation of them, and that does not allow us learn. Moreover, sustaining this lie (our interpretations) entails an enormous expenditure of energy in the form of physical and mental tension (turning things over again and again). It is an internal and also an external struggle to maintain an image or beliefs. Lies, exaggeration and interpretation remove us from the reality of the bare facts. It prevents us from seeing ourselves and accepting ourselves as we are and therefore changing and improving our lives. Lies keep us in ignorance. And that is a source of suffering. Fundamentally, this mechanism, often also takes us away from the goodness that is in all of us.