Our politicians are our most notable liars. They lie so frequently and facilely that they seem convinced of their own lies. When confronted, they spin new lies to conceal the old ones. For these liars, deception and delusion go hand in hand. The spider becomes ensnared in the web of his own deception.
Then there are those liars who are just as fervent—the Lance Armstrongs of the world who lie with complete awareness and intent. They feel no guilt for any action that helps them attain their goals—more money, more power, more fame. They easily rationalize self-interest and live comfortably with themselves until someone decides to nail their hide to the wall. Then they are forced to offer up hollow apologies and they carefully orchestrate their lies to paint themselves as victim.
There are also the pathological liars who tell lies without purpose or objective or benefit to themselves. They lie because they simply can’t help it. And what about the liars, the purveyors of little white lies who seek to protect others from the pain of truth? We lap up their honeyed assurances because we do not have the courage to face the truth.
And then there are those liars, like my character Elizabeth in Dreaming of Laughing Hawk, who lie to protect themselves from the judgments and expectations of others.
Prevarication was the best word, Elizabeth thought, to define little deceptions. Prevarication was like throwing salt over your shoulder or staying clear of black cats and ladders. It was what you did to avoid bad luck and preserve yourself. Never tell anyone what you really think. Never tell anyone what you really fear. Lie if you must.A liar is someone who gives you a story that sets your foot on the wrong path. He or she may do this deliberately or as a reflex of their own self-delusion. Every good story has a character who is lying to himself or others.
Lies are fundamental to all stories. Lies are the stories we repeat to ourselves so we can abide living in our own skins. We villains persist in lying. We heroes and heroines eventually confront. And the world lurches and wobbles on its axis. To lie or not to lie—that is the question.
So what lies infuriate you? What lies do you forgive? What fictional or real life character has told the biggest whopper? And this—how do you know if your opinion is not based on lies told to you by others?