Friday, October 02, 2009

The Invention of Lying - Ooo, Let Me in at the Ground Floor!

A new film with a novel premise is out today called The Invention of Lying. It stars comic actor Ricky Gervais and from what I glean from the guy he was made for a role like this.

The part he's got here is that of a fellow who lives in a world where truth-telling and all things truthful is the norm. No one knows of any other way to behave, until... Ricky finds out about lying.

Hey, cool.

Lying.

Now I'm pretty much getting the idea that by lying he finds he can get cash he wouldn't otherwise be able to get and generally do all kinds of neat things for mild enjoyment at the expense of stodgy straight-arrow types. And I'm sure as the film moves on he finds he gets into some awkward predicaments as well. I don't know a whole lot about it, but one review I glanced at said the premise can't sustain itself through an entire full-length feature. Not hard to see that.

Anyway, a couple things made me think about this whole lying thing, a topic I like to address a bit because ironically it says so much about truth.

One is that apparently in the film much of the truth-oriented nature of the society the Gervais character occupies is that nothing like drama or film or television or even story is allowed. My word, how could there be such a thing as the Incredible Hulk if a portrayal of such an individual would be somewhat less than factual. It would comprise, oh goodness, a lie.

I don't know that Invention of Lying gets into it, but it seems to me that Hollywood may use this vehicle to make the statement that those stuffy moralists are just wrong in their insistence that we all tell the truth about things because that would mean all that silly acting stuff would be unnecessary and how ridiculous is that. Yes, acting and dancing and singing and carrying on up there on the stage is frowned upon by some of the more extremely draconian religionists.

But both the Hollywood performance-libertarians and the Puritan fun-censors have it wrong.

The lie is not the same as the imagination.

What a beautiful thing an imagination is. It makes life joyous and engaging and sometimes quite ribald, which is often really fun.

In fact, God's prohibitions against lying are never put against the perfectly legitimate activity of protecting ourselves from hyper-authenticity, unnecessary divulgence, undue transparency, or insensitive remarks.

It is, however, always about whether or not a liar will hurt someone when he lies. And yes, one of those people is God, who does take it a bit seriously when someone lies and hurts another.

The other thing I thought of was related to a thought shared by a young apologist, something I blogged about a few years ago. Here is what he said:

"I know I believe false things."

In many ways this is just a silly thing to say. We'd generally like to think that if you knew a false thing you'd do what was necessary to not be holding to the false thought anymore. Or you'd confess that you did not know, but then this guy is saying he knows he knows false things. Guh.

Now, there is another option.

You could know it is false and deliberately mislead others. In other words, you could be a brazen liar.

But can you see what this means? It's kind of a twist, really.

It means that yes, you do know the truth about a thing.

Yes, interesting, when someone lies, they are stating that they know truth. Certainly someone may be lying and not know they are lying, but they are only lying because they got the lie from someone who back in the lie chain somewhere did know the truth.

This is an essential factor in the World System doing its job as it was charged to do by God millennia ago, the succinct transcription of which is found in the fourth chapter of the book of Genesis. Satan knows the truth, his task is to turn people from it in pleasurably seductive ways.

Because people do have an affinity for truth, it requires great skill to carry this off. It requires nothing other than what I've called Caesar's Arts, something I've written about at more length at my webzine.