Why Lie?

Posted on May 27, 2011


There are of course as many reasons to lie as there are types of lies, and even more rationalizations for these lies. The primary categories are simple – white lies, and black lies, separated on the premise that the former is used to “protect” people, and the later to harm them. (For an excellent article on lying as a form of theft, click here) Sissela Bok wrote perhaps the most in-depth analysis of the phenomenon, laying bare all aspects, shades, rationales, and consequences that flow from the act, to the recipient, and back to the purveyor of the lie. Here, we seek to slowly peel back both old and new lies, lies that appear inviolable, and lies that cause invisible, subtle harm. They will be found in the political, social, medical, legal, and all other aspects of the world we inhabit. We will especially be interested in dissecting lies that rationalize their existence on the basis of belief, rather than substantial proofs to the contrary.

To that end, we acknowledge we will step on toes, skewer sacred cows, apply sharp elbows to belief-encased ribs, and otherwise rain on various parades. And from time to time, we will become philosophical, analytical, and even a bit strident, if that is what it takes to open the doors and let some real air inside. Feedback, comments, other perspectives are encouraged, and welcome, but will be moderated for the following reasons:

We will not permit this to be a forum for flame wars, insults, vitriol, shaming, or any of those various demons the Web has uncorked, enabled as they are by anonymity, and reinforced by the fact that the party you choose to spit upon cannot find you to spit back. So – moderation, enforced by moderators. We will not censor content, only posters who violate those basic rules of civil discourse. Violators will receive one warning, and if the behavior continues, will find no home herein. Our house, our rules. We hold to the belief (when beliefs are about how the world works, or how we wish it to work, they hold value. Where they are about what we demand others agree with, bend to, never challenge, in our eyes, they don’t even hold water. Again – our house, our rules.

That said, we hope you choose to participate in that spirit, of inquiry, of the struggle to remove blinders, of the long-held view that, in the original idea of liberal thought, we can hold our differences with respect and mutual acknowledgement that we are in this together, and together, we can find truth, in all its guises, while daring to differentiate such truths from the lies that hide them.

So, with that, here we go!

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