At some indeterminate moment in his primitive history, mankind made the stupendous advance to the status of living in societal community. Living alone, meant an eternal search for shelter from the elements, the daily, desperate search for food, all added to an ever present fear of marauding strangers and predatory beasts. Living in society, by stark contrast, provided a plethora of benefits, the improved safety of joint defense, joint enterprise, group hunting and food gathering, the sharing and development of skills, and, as well, and perhaps getting closer to our theme, satisfied an innate human need for interaction with other homo sapiens. In the precarious context of the primitive era, factual reporting and accuracy of communication was absolutely vital to survival.
In the the present day and age, speaking truthfully, is, at times, sometimes spoken of as a personal “virtue”; but, much more accurately and profoundly, it still continues to be a vital societal construct. For reasons of practical necessity, there exists the every day assumption, that a speaker is truthful. Conceivably and empirically, no society could operate successfully, or, even minimally exist, without an implicit trust in the factual reports and spoken words of its inhabitants.
It may be useful, at this point, to define “lying,” as we understand that disreputable verb. The act of lying, involves the utterance a falsehood, knowing it to be inaccurate, with the intention to deceive. Actual lying is a shameless breach of the hearer’s trust, and, as well, a true and clear revelation, as to the actual falsity of any previously assumed honest and sincerely based relationship.The prevaricator, by virtue of his exclusive possession of the truthful facts, marks himself, ipso facto, by that wrongful act, as a mere stranger, and not, as previously represented, a sincere and respectful friend.
We, emphatically, do not include in this contemptible act, innocent, but inaccurate and erroneous statements, nor a friend’s soothing, and optimistic, but knowingly inaccurate, representations, to a dying, or chronically ill patient, of a positive prognosis nor, indeed. a social, albeit insincere, compliment on a fellow guest’s purportedly ” fine appearance.” A lie, to qualify as such, requires an intentional communication of a known false statement, of a fact, with the specific, purpose, that the hearer rely upon it.
The private act of lying often causes the subsequent creation of a false fact pattern, requiring the prevaricator to quickly and uncomfortably, manufacture supplemental, or explanatory, false information; in his desperate need to attempt to achieve consistency. Was it, Walter Scott, or William Shakespeare, who penned the prescient observation, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive”?
The words, prevarication, mendacity or, put simply, lying, may be at the zenith of all other, contemptible, miscreant human acts. Without the assumption (and existence) of veracity, there would be no useful communication between members of the human race. It is nothing short of a crime, both against mankind’s advancement to date, as well as in the future. It may be noted that once trust has been violated, it can never be repaired, or put back on the chart of man’s commendable progress. To lie, is no less than to. sin against our evolving anthropology.
We have opted not to proceed further with the subject of the ethics and the existential necessity for truth, as they relate to our current President; whose numerous practices of daily mendacity, would require several professional firms of auditors to recount.We have stated, in a past note, that considering all of the many varieties of reprehensible and unprofessional acts of President Trump, none would be shamefully comparable to his mendacity, except his related, overt, sociopathic and irresponsible, attack on “truth.” He is, metaphorically, a despicable hive of hungry termites, chewing away at the foundations of civilization.