Thursday, October 22, 2009

Deception and the Truth

When we were kids, adults always taught us to tell the truths. Don’t lie. This teaching can perhaps be traced back for thousands of years. Come to think of it, it is the 8th Commandments in the Ten Commandments, for God sake: Thou shall not lie! The reason why it has been taught for thousands of year, I think it is because lying is deep in our gene; it is part of our nature. Since lying is kind of a ‘double-edged’ sword, it demands skills and the results of lying could be detrimental, so we simply teach our kids that lying is not good and don’t do it, in order to avoid the trouble of dealing with the consequences of telling lies. Of course, it has never worked.

I think lying or deception is a tool that mostly for serving our self-interest. It could be for getting something that we don’t have or avoid losing something that we cherish, or protect ourselves from being hurt physically or psychologically. Recently, I’ve discovered a very interesting site and read some articles there. Certainly, as a well…relatively educated adult, I know that the web is wild wild west; anyone can put up a site and say whatever they want. Many sites have their predominant views on issues (that reminded me of Fox vs. CNN). Anyway, I don’t 100% buy everything that I read is truth, but it is nice to see how different people‘s views and voiced out their opinions on issues, particularly something that I’m interested.

The site mostly focuses on some large ‘macro’ or ‘global’ issues. Those that I’m particularly interested are so-called disclosing the real truth or initiatives behind many power institutions or countries on many issues which are actually affecting millions to billions of people’s lives. For example, the Afghan war, the global financial bailout of banks, globalization, etc. Of course, those issues are not as ‘sexy’ as ‘balloon boy’ or some sensational celebrities’ scandals, that’s why most of the public will not pay too much attention to them. Anyway, I find those issues are actually more interesting and thought-provoking.

As more and more stories that I’ve read, use my limited IQ, I would say that my view is more of a minority than the mass. I wouldn’t say that I’m a believer of all conspiracies. However, I’m quite skeptical of many things’ hidden agenda than simply taking the face value of the words that the government or the powerful elites have said. I would not say most of what they said are lies, but I think what they are practicing is the more advanced skills of “not telling the whole truth”.

You can find many books about how to conduct public communication/presentation in order to serve your self-interests. You can lie which has legal or social repercussion. You can present your message by wrapping them into something else, so people has to read between the lines to find out what you want to say. Or, you can tell the truth especially those that the audiences want to hear, but not telling the whole truth which is something very commonly used by many public figures when they are being questioned by the media. Usually, what is more important is not what they said, but what they didn’t say.

For example, the President would say that we do this and that for democracy and freedom of the people. That sounds really good, it is political correct, and that’s many his followers would like to hear and his opponents have nothing to pick on. However, the real truth is that outside the surface of freedom and democracy, the core is actually like an onion. The next layer is all about national interests. It is less sexy but it is still understandable, that’s actually what the President or elected government suppose to do. Then, the next layer could be the definition of those so-called ‘national interests’. Are they really the interests of the nation or certain part of the nation, or interests of certain groups/individual? That’s actually the core of whole thing, cos it is really complicated with the web of interconnected interests among different forces behind the public figures. That’s neither what the public want to hear nor the ‘Godfathers’ behind the scene want the public to know. In fact, the real truth is most likely very ugly!

I’ve no time or capability to investigate or discover the real truth behind many things. Nonetheless, reading what others’ have found out or their speculations is just enough fun for me. As I said, I neither believe 100% on words from the public figures nor the conspiracy-activists. However, since I believe that lying is part of our gene, and many national policies or decisions can cause such tremendous gains and losses to some groups and the mass, I would more incline to believe that there are many hidden agendas and stories behind the headlines. Cos, if everybody is telling the truth, our world won’t be this messy.

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