Jan 12, 2021

Contemporary Speculative Fiction

“Lies are best told at room temperature.”

“Who said that?”

“Does it matter?”

I saw the film, Liar Liar.  Jim Carey played a character who could not tell a lie. The film develops along predictable lines of exploration, and although predictable, it was informative, and insightful.

Not being able to tell a lie of course is different than not wanting to tell a lie. There is no lie detector stretched across our spectrum of daily interactions that rings when we cross the imaginary line of truthfulness, that indicates a word or action, has varied from the truth. 

Not all mistruths are equal of course. The similarity is in the deviance from truth or fact, perhaps the intent. Lies are not capable of complete deception. Sometimes lies are designed simply to lessen the impact, of a truth or fact.

The use of language at that point, plays a definitive role. Being told you are, “About to die,” gives one a greater expectation, than say, “Your injuries have placed you in jeopardy, and you should prepare.” Now you didn’t explicitly say, for what, and I believe that would be the intent, of the…shall we designate it, a half lie. It is a nebulous way of inferring the worst, by alluding to a more hopeful outcome.

Now, an outright lie is meant for only one purpose, unless you are a narcissist incapable of telling the truth because you have manufactured a persona, that will not allow you to do so.  It intrudes on the ability of a person to manipulate euphemisms, to one’s advantage. 

Before I go further, I need to explore the word, truth. Its meaning; reality, sincerity, honesty, which of course is a given, and in addition the word, gospel. The assumption I assume, in the meaning of the implied truth of the word Gospel, is its reference to a book given religious status, and therefore having no means of stating anything other than the truth. Wikipedia suggests, truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality.  

What does that mean? In accordance with fact or reality suggests you recognize the same truth, fact, or reality, that I do. 

Suppose you don’t. Then we are at an intersection where my truth and your truth collide. Then what? If you are a narcissist that manipulates the truth to improve your image or status, it is unlikely that I am going to be persuasive enough to change your opinion of the truth, as it reflects the basis for your existence. And being of a persuasion I recognize, I find it impossible for you to change my definition of honesty, interpreted by me to mean, fact. 

So where do we go from this intersection of adverse beliefs. I wish I had the answer. Our impasse may leave us walking away from one another, each believing we possess the right to call ourselves truthful, and yet one of us, by definition, because of supporting ideals or events contrary to fact, be a liar.

Usually when someone is accused of lying, being a liar, or manipulating the truth, “Those are fighting words,” are invoked, or similar words ensue, because our integrity, real or imagined, has been impugned. We are being labeled a traitor to the realities of life, that the majority of people believe, accept, and practice. Do you fight, or do you realign your position slightly, to leave the dubious nature of arrogance to allow the perception of your words or deeds, as having a meaning that differentiates, from the accepted norms of a society.

Truth and fact, have become two separate but equal entities of a meaning. It has been re-engineered to purport the definition we wish it to have, and fact has been relegated to a labeled with a meaning it has been baptized with.

In seeking a way to convince someone that what they believe is fact, in actuality it is a distortion of fact, as it casts doubt on the assumption of fact, and therefore encourages the lie.  We must recognize a willingness in a person to accept a proven fact if we are to expect change. If they are unwilling to participate in accepting an agreed upon fact, then there is no way to introduce them to the notion of truth, as fact and truth are synonymous with redemption; a need or want to change.

There has been much talk of late that includes the term empathy, or lack of it. I would suggest the word is a catalyst to examining truth, fact, and or reality. Empathy is defined as having compassion and understanding of a situation, because we have been affected by a similar experience in the past. If we have nothing to gage our reaction on, then we are left with, “Oh, Ah, bet that was awful,” or similar depictions. Our reaction, empathetic or even sympathetic which permits us a reaction without having previously experienced a similar situation, is dubious.

If you have no sympathy, and you are also not empathetic, it gives new insight into the controversy over fact and truth. If you have never experienced hunger or pain, you will have no understanding of, or empathy for, someone who does. You can relate only on the level of sympathy, which is a self-measured reaction, based upon how you believe you would react under similar circumstances. If our government leaders all come from privilege, is it any wonder the lack of empathy is prevalent. 

I have thus far made little progress in devising a logistical plan to incorporate reality into truth. After considering the dichotomy that has arisen over truth and fact, I find myself knee deep in a conundrum.

I think of a conundrum as a term meaning something akin to being serendipitous, or referenced by the Native American word, Kickapoo. Both imply a neither here nor there attitude, about a problem that is perceived in reality to have no resolution. Then again, we are confronted with the perception of reality, and the realism inherent within it.

If I am incapable of accepting fact, and am incompetent in accepting the truth, then I must, therefore, be living a lie. If I believe I can’t tell a lie because of my altruism, and am not living a lie, but am only a misinterpretation of someone’s reality, have I become delusional about truth. I can and will believe then that it is I, who am the righteous purveyor of truth and fact, and you are the one who has misinterpreted facts, to suit your own selfish needs. 

The conundrum is worth contemplating, as once a road is littered with the presumption of redemption, that only you believe, then the reality that fact and truth rely upon, no longer has a foundation in law, which is a societies semaphore. It provides the most graphic of visuals; a signal of when to stop, when to go, and when to prepare.

I believe there are people who have replaced the metaphorical semaphore, with the idealism inferred by a yield sign. A suggestion based on the individual interpretation of the law, and therefore, no law at all.                 

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