Why we hate lies (and why we should keep on hating lies)

Sacred Spaces painting by Je' Czaja
Sacred Spaces
painting by Je’ Czaja

We really hate it when people lie to us. Alarms about the latest lies coming out of Washington, D.C. take up a lot of Twitter space. And that’s a good thing; the consensus is that we resent being deceived. But why is this so important?

We want the truth so we can make good decisions. We know in our bones that lies will lead us to bad decisions, because no matter how sincerely we believe a thing, if it is a lie, it is going to have bad results. A person who lies to us is trying to wrest away from us our free will, our ability to choose freely and that is a pretty nasty case of theft.

We want to make good decisions-but to accomplish what, exactly? How are going to hit the target if we aren’t looking at the target? Let’s narrow it down, it has something to do with humans. We are humans and we are the ones with a concept of truth and we want to accomplish something by having as much as of it as possible. What do we want to accomplish? Ideally, we want humans, ourselves of course included, to flourish. Being pragmatists, we insist that at least humans beings be able to stay alive to perhaps flourish at some future time.

We need both goals.

  • We need the minimum goal or we are dead and none of this matters.
  • We need the maximum goal because we need something to aim at in order to progress. Mere survival is better than extinction but not as good as flourishing.

This is just the bare bones, just the skeleton of the relations between truth, choices and human goals. We know something is wrong with the world, but we are lost in the smoke of a thousand competing campfires. This is just a skeleton, but without a skeleton, we only have a pile of guts and meat and not a whole, functional organism.

The skeleton:

  • Truth produces good choices.
  • Good choices produce good results.
  • The good results we want are at minimum, survival.
  • The highest good we want is human flourishing.

May you flourish today. 🙂

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