I grew up thinking that telling ‘white lies’ is as acceptable as telling the truth. Adults around me firmly believed that there was nothing wrong with their teaching, and yet, I’ve come to find everything wrong with it. Not because I see myself in the role of a whitewashed, saintly goodie, sitting on a high horse and preaching to all the lowly sinners, NO, that’s not me.
Let me explain! Looking back at my life and upbringing, I remember all the nonsense I was made to believe. Now I know, and I had to find out the hard way, that babies are not delivered by giant storks, nor do they grow in cabbage patches, and Father Christmas does not have an assistant, dressed in black and rattling his big chains (you may guess my German background), who likes to frighten and punish little children who’ve been bad (whatever ‘bad’ means in adult terms), etc.
And yet, when I told a lie as a little girl, white or any other colour, the earth was supposed to open up under my feet and take me off to hell for a little bit of roasting. Not only that, I also had to confess that I’d lied, from about the age of 10, to a man dressed in black, sitting behind a screen and possibly smiling to himself about the ridiculously innocent story he’d just heard. Nevertheless, his role was to dish out a punishment, like 100 Hail Marys’ or Our Fathers,’ and he would have to pretend that he had just heard about the worst crimes ever committed..
And who invented the idea of punishment for someone who is creative with the truth, if all of us share the same talent?
Who was the first person to think that lying was acceptable? Was it Adam, or Eve, or was it the snake’s fault…?
Parents may lure their children into confessing to have lied with sweet words like It’s OK darling, don’t worry, you can tell me everything. You’re in safe hands… but then, all hell is let loose for actually being honest.
Wow! That surely leaves a mark on a little person’s psychological make-up. And who, after experiencing such controversial behaviour, is keen to tell the truth again? You’d be foolish, wouldn’t you? Since time immemorial we’ve been given and are still given mixed messages! And yet, on a daily basis we need to find ways to tame and control our unruly kids, to get us out of tricky questions and situations that we believe could get worse if we tell the truth.
The list for good reasons to lie is endless.
And these days, our entire world is groaning under this myriad of lies, big and small, some with disastrous effects and irreparable consequences for us as individuals, for our families, the environment and the world at large. We are lied to from the top down! Some food manufacturers lie about nasty additives in our food. Farmers knowingly feed us with vegetables that are sprayed with harmful pesticides and fungicides. The meat industry sells us cheap meat from animals that have been kept in appalling conditions and are fed with hormones and offal, even if the animal is a vegetarian. Cosmetic and chemical companies produce toxic products that can be harmful to our health and the environment. Car manufacturers lie about car emissions and in the case of politicians, well, we have learned to expect and accept being lied to. We get trapped, knowingly or unknowingly, in their political web. We vote for their apparently good causes, not able to check out the facts, and whether the causes are for the greater good and will lead us to a better future for generations to come. Isn’t that what everyone should be aiming for, a safe future for all, longer than our noses, even longer than Pinocchio’s nose?
It seems a completely legal activity for many in a position of power to make up imaginary facts and figures. Yet, how can we tell a lie from the truth, if we are only given carefully selected information and the truth for many is as flexible as a rubber band???
Albert Einstein said that whoever is careless with the truth in small matters, cannot be trusted with important matters. That should give us a clue as to whom to trust!
Is our need to be taken by the hand like a child, to be comforted and taken care of so great that we blindly follow those with the biggest entertainment value and gift of the gab? Sadly, we often choose the path of least resistance, only to look back at history and to say If we’d only chosen the other option… but, everything is clearer in hindsight.
Can we find a way to live a more truthful life, individually and globally? Aiming to hit a 100% truth target is perhaps an impossible task and may frustrate us even further.
But we can take a positive step and work on gradually becoming more attuned to the truth, and I mean a Universal Truth, with a capital T, not an individual one.
I am very hopeful, judging by the many brave movements all around us that a gradual transformation and awakening is taking place. We are waking up to the fact that lying is not acceptable anymore, and that lying to us, our children, grandchildren and all future generations has to stop.
I urge all of us to Love the TRUTH like we love those that are nearest and dearest to us!
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