A Society of Liars

I have slowly come to realize something pretty drastic happening in our society – in short, truth is becoming a rarity. No, I am not saying that people are lying more than they did in the old days… well, in a way I am – but it is much more subtle than that.

We haven’t really made a conscious decision to lie about things. Instead, we are lying through avoidance more than anything. When a tough subject comes up, we bring up another subject. We ignore a question sent via text. We see a phone number and knowing it will be an unpleasant conversation, choose not to answer the phone. When something is due at work – we become busy working on something else.

To face these issues is important. Oftentimes, just dealing with something ends up being less pain than you imagined. To ignore or postpone shows a lack of integrity. It also only prolongs what is sometimes inevitable.

Then of course, there are the outright lies of commitment. The increase in divorce, lawsuits, dissolved partnerships of every kind is in and of itself an increase in lies. When we enter into an agreement with someone whether it be “I will trade you eggs from my chicken for milk from your cow” to a marriage, we are giving our vow, our word, putting our reputation on the line. When we renege on something we have agreed to, we are lying… plain and simple.

Yes, there are good reasons for leaving an arrangement – most often that one of the parties has not lived up to their end… lied. I am not throwing the baby out with the bathwater and saying that both parties are liars… just pointing out that the very fact these situations are increasing is evidence that lying is become more socially accepted.

Why is lying growing? Now, I don’t think we are going to hell in a hand basket and I don’t think it is a sign of the end of times coming next week. I think it is likely driven by our media much like every other trend in behavior. Media is going to hell in a hand basket to be sure.

Many of the “comedic situations” in our sitcoms show a misunderstanding and avoidance of conflict – all in the name of laughs. When our favorite character lies to another character, it builds to a funny conclusion. If he/she can do it and still be a good person, why can’t we? Heck,there are even entire shows that celebrate lying:

  • Pretty Little Liars (2010-2017)
  • Lie to Me (2009-2011)
  • The Lying Game (2011-2013)
  • Deception (2013)
  • Secrets & Lies (2014-2016)
  • House of Lies (2012-2016)
  • Ordinary Lies (2015-2016)
  • Lies & Legends (2015 – 2017)
  • Deception (2017)
  • these are just the ones that came to mind… there are countless more!

The phrase fake news is everywhere as both sides of every argument latch onto it to try to convince viewers of their point by painting the opposition as liars. When everyone is doing it, this has to lower the impact and make it seem more acceptable for us personally. We are so inundated with lying sales people, lying politicians, lying news sources, lying commercials. Surely a “little white lie” isn’t a big deal? Surely just “leaving that part out” of a conversation isn’t bad.

Don’t even get me started on social media lies… that would take days to go into.

It is a slippery slope however. Guard your word. Protect it. Defend it. When you give it… honor it.

by Chris Doelle