Deciphering the truth in a culture of false.

Introduction to Pseudos 101

In the old days you could look at a person’s face and tell they were lying to you. That’s where we get the old phrase “look me in the eye and tell me you’re not lying.” Because we used to feel bad about telling a lie to someone’s face. Now days our culture has learned that little secret and we simply use it to lie better. For example, the other day my daughter was four, almost five. She is telling a story. She’s very talented with her words and she makes up fun little imaginative stories (like her mama).  But whenever she gets to a subject that’s maybe inappropriate, for example she says something to the effect of, I had a little friend named Jane and she died.  I usually tell her that it’s not nice to talk about someone who died.  I said, “That’s not really a fun story.  How about we tell about a happy story?”   And she says, “No mommy it’s not a story.  It’s the truth.”  In the back of my mind I’m thinking, Dear Lord my child is about to say she sees dead people.  So I take a deep breath and I tell her I know for a fact that she doesn’t know anyone at her school that died the other day and because of that fact I know she’s not telling the truth. But the scariest part was that at this time she gets very adamant that there was a person by this name and that it was her friend who died and it was at school, huff, huff, huff.   She was so convincing about her fictional story I became worried that she was developing a skill that makes lying not any different in her book then telling a story she just wished was the truth or even something as innocent as letting her very vivid imagination take over.

When I confronted her more sternly about the lie she became even more adamant and probably worried I guess more about the consequences of what she had said rather than the fact that she was telling me something that wasn’t true with a lot more conviction than I was comfortable with.  She could’ve been telling me that there was a purple rhinoceros at her school making cookies and it wouldn’t have made a difference.  The way that she looked at me and then started crying in her boldface lie made me pause. What can you do? Honestly. Your angel, poo-bear, little baby, wonderful girl is telling a story like Stephen King which is both inspiring and admiral but at the same time the conviction behind it is questionable. Either it’s entertaining to her or something far more manipulative. Either way I want to make sure she knows what manipulative language like lies do.

That got me thinking about what a friend had told me when I first started writing Pseudos 101. He told me “Well, if were talking about false and lies, you may have to define truth.” I thought, oh crap. I wasn’t a philosophy major.  Why the hell would anyone want to study that?  Anything attempting to tell people what is the absolute truth is completely subjective and I believe personal to each individual. How am I to ever convince people of what they believe is the truth?  Who does that? My beliefs will never be more than just a story to them.  Even the definition of evangelical in the Bible means simply share your story.  It does not mean try to convince people your truth is the only truth there is.  See, Jesus knew that cake wouldn’t bake.

People are always going to know what they know in their heart to believe based on their own perceptions. We are a conglomeration of prejudices. We hear what we want to hear. We want what we want.  We need what we need and we believe what we want to believe. Wars have been waged since man was able to throw his own poop over what each of them believe is the truth.   I think my frustration of defining truth for the world is therefore warranted.

What it comes down to is that many think a simple twist of words is hardly something to make a fuss over.  We all just occasionally want to have something sound a little better than it really is or look a little better than it really is so we can get a little ahead.  We’re just trying to keep up with everyone else.  However there is cause to be really worried about lying becoming so common in our marketing, in our government and our judicial system.  Not to put too fine a point on it, the way lawyers win cases and the way clients who are on trial conduct themselves morally speaking is becoming deplorable in many instances. That’s just one example.  Our culture is in danger of changing the basic instincts we have about what is really dangerous to us.

So maybe we shouldn’t worry about what each other think is the truth. Maybe that plan is moot.   And then it hit me.  The definition of truth is whatever isn’t false. What we should be worried about is how we from this point on, decipher what is false.  Like I said our culture is getting wise to how they manipulate people. We are getting so wise to how we manipulate each other that it almost seems like an instinctive type of survival. And so really what this book is about is helping you identify what is probably false information.  If people are getting better at lying then people need to also get better at deciphering lying. Learn to recognize it and learn to stay out of its reach.

Artificiality is specifically a problem because we are becoming more and more saturated in our society by things that are false.  Let’s say, anything that is artificial applies to whatever we think of as false in a physical nature or a philosophical manner.  At the same time what we consider true in nature because we can feel it, affects what we philosophically feel is true.  And we, instead of getting in touch with nature, we are tending to be more often surrounded by environments that are less natural and less concrete to our understanding of what is really real.  I guess a good metaphor for this would be how when our 36th President L.B.J. was so entrenched in what you can only imagine is Washington DC’s level of manipulative pressure and how he used to have to escape, literally escape, to the rural countryside in Texas.  This is where he claims several times that he felt more in the “real world” than anywhere else.  I think he was more in touch with who he really was and his true purpose when was immersed in that wholesome Texas environment.  He felt he could come back to the real world when he was in the country and not in D.C. because of this very argument that we can be oversaturated with artificiality.  Hence, this is why we need to learn how to protect ourselves from that environment and thus the creation of Pseudos 101.

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