Lies, Damned Lies and Our Way of Life

Mark Twain said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics. ”

Where does that place advertising and politics? We all know advertisers lie. We expect them to lie.

We may act appalled when one of their lies is uncovered, but we know full well, for example, that no safe product will cause us to lose 10 lbs in three days. That’s why that disclaimer (that regulations force them to provide ) written in fine print races across the bottom of the screen during weight loss TV commercials. Some argue that we are co-conspirators with advertisers since we allow ourselves to be deceived.

I agree. We so much want to believe that we allow ourselves to be deceived.

Just as we suspend our belief to enjoy a movie, many of us suspend our belief for sustained periods of time.

Advertisers are the most clever liars of all because they find out what we want most and promise to give it to us. Even when their lies are discovered, we forgive them and buy their products again and again.
We all seem to want things that are fast, cheap, and good.

The truth is that we can only have two of these at a time. If something is fast and cheap, it’s not likely be good. If it’s cheap and good, it won’t be fast. And, if it’s fast and good, it definitely won’t be cheap. And yet, we keep hoping for all three.

Politicians are not as clever as advertisers at lying. Like advertisers, they try to tell us what we want to hear, but they don’t have as much money and time to craft their deceptions. So, they take the short cuts of evasion and distraction.

There is no law forbidding politicians from lying. It’s up to us to determine to believe, confirm or discover the truth of what they say.

Before we look down on advertisers or politicians for lying, you must know that lying is a common part of our everyday life. We are socialized to lie from an early age, and sometimes punished for telling the truth and rewarded for lying.

As a child, for example, it was in my best interest to tell my mother what she wanted to hear, such as when she inquired “Are you calling me a liar?” rather than to tell her the truth that she was lying. Because I lied to her, I lived to tell you this story.

What’s your take on deception? Tell the truth now.