My husband and I were having an in depth conversation the other day about why people lie. It inevitably turned to politics, and of course to the clash between anti-war and pro-war crowds. I was trying to understand how, or why certain people in the pro-war groups lie about activities that have taken place during protests - everything from attending numbers (for both sides) to outright aggressive and illegal behavior on their part. For some of these events I have been privy to the actual information, been there, or have heard about incidents from credible witnesses. I know what happened, as do many others - and yet the lies begin.
I said to my husband that I understand why a group as a whole would lie, mainly because they believe what they've been told and tend to repeat it as if they were there, even if they weren't. But my question was focused on the people in the midst of it all - the people who actually do know what happened because they did it. Do they lie just to save their own rear-ends? To make themselves look better? Probably a little of both. I understand that as well. But when person is called out for doing something, and there is proof of it to boot - and they still lie about it....I don't understand. I don't expect anyone to jump up and say "Well, yeah, OK thats how it really happened and I was wrong" - no that would be expecting too much.
I can't help but wonder though - has the person repeated the lie enough times that they now actually believe it to be true? If so...how?
My husband said that people like this lie out of fear. "OK," I said "but everyone says its out of fear...but fear of what?"
Fear that they may be wrong, that they have been wrong, and that they've been wrong for so long that the lie(s) have piled up so high if they start telling the truth now the whole house of cards will come crashing down around their ears and both their ego and spirit will be beyond repair.
"Hmm" I said, "Continue"
This part mainly focuses on the pro-war groups, however it can be applied to many groups. The fear of having been wrong about opinions, beliefs, and actions is a damning and frightful concept if you think about it. How would you feel if everything you've been taught was a lie, or at the very least an incomplete truth? What if you were taught that its OK to hate a person for nothing more than race, creed, political affiliations etc...that its OK to condemn them, hurt them, intimidate them, stalk them, harass them or assault them? How would you feel if you found out that it isn't OK?
Well, once you realize that you've done something very wrong, you also realize that you will be punished for it one way or another. In this life or the next, it'll catch up to you. Thats pretty scary, and makes me understand why a person would continue lying to everyone including themselves. It doesn't justify the behavior, but it does explain it.
My husband went on about the pro-war groups, many who are made up of veterans. He said, "How would you feel if, thinking back to war time, you had to admit that the villagers you shot really were just trying to get some water? What if they weren't helping the enemy? What if you shot them anyway?" Thats innocent blood on your hands and very few people are tough enough to admit that.
Its food for thought - lies, blind obedience, delusions, resistance to change, the whole idea of it really - it starts with fear and ends with loathing.
Posted by Anok at 1:34 PM