And that’s OK, because we all are. Everybody tells themselves little untruths to avoid difficult realities. “One more glass won’t harm me”, “This relationship will be different”, “I can handle the stress of this job” — it is ordinary, if not excusable. As Oscar Wilde said, we are all in the gutter, but at least some of us are looking at the stars.
Yet some lies lead to dangerous frauds, deadly losses, and genocidal conflicts. Let me tell you a personal story to highlight an important asymmetry when it comes to perceiving lies.
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A decade ago I became single and had time on my hands in the evenings. Being a curious type, I was reading up about the world and how it really worked. The “conspiracy theories” around the events of September 11th, 2001 had caught my eye. Over the next year or two I would spend endless hours delving into the complex and confusing narratives surrounding that day.
Whilst this is not the place to justify my conclusions, I can say as a fact that after diligent research I decided that the “official” narrative was absurd. It required me to believe wholly impossible things: skyscrapers that turned to dust as they fell into pools of molten rock, spontaneously imploding buildings (WTC6 is in some ways more interesting that WTC7), and an aircraft that magically skims grass at zero altitude without leaving a trace of disturbance — before passing through an implausibly small hole in a wall.
Countless pilots, engineers, architects, first responders, and military were pointing to the same conclusion. The failure to examine this evidence by journalists meant that we lived in a false reality engineered via a corrupt media. Yet it puzzled me for a long time why there was no outcry from the honest and honourable parts of these professions about the manifest lie we were being told. There was an intense pain to knowing something was so very wrong, yet without having visibility of the (currently still unfolding) process of truth and justice.
This is an essay about your own competence to perceive and judge untruth, not false flag attacks, violent coups, or a global supermafia hijacking government. The real lesson is a dinner I had years later with an erudite contact in the telecoms industry. Conversation fell on this controversial topic, and I shared what I had learnt and concluded. Having made my case that the official story was a lie, he asked me what I thought did happen.
And that was where I made a mistake.
Rather than throw the question back at him (and force him to reflect on his lack of diligent research), I attempted to answer it. This in turn hit on one of his core beliefs — the incorruptibility of a specific intelligence agency — which quickly turned to outrage directed at me. We never met or talked again.
This is the asymmetry: you can know something is a lie without knowing what is true. To this day I have many unanswered questions about what really went on during that disastrous day in 2001 — but I know for certain that the official media narrative we are offered is completely false.
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Over the years I have reflected on this experience and noticed a powerful difference between truth and lies. To locate truth often requires deep domain knowledge. For instance, there are matters of debate in my former telecoms world that only a few dozen people in the world are fully competent to comment upon. Meanwhile, spotting a lie can be done by the journeyman outsider with only a basic mastery of the relevant concepts and language.
This is perhaps best illustrated via current examples. We have seen strongly contradictory statements being made over time by authorities on the utility of face masks and drugs like hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. You do not need to be an epidemiologist to know that the inconsistency of these positions should be a sign of concern. Whilst not all frauds can be decided by a layperson — complex financial cases being a problematic example — many (if not most) can.
When someone is saying different things to different audiences at the same time, or is ignoring their past statements and varying them over time without good cause, or is being selective in the data they present — these are reasons to assume that there is deliberate untruth being offered. It only takes an ordinary human level of philosophical ability and street smarts to pull apart the lie.
Outsourcing your authority to decide whether someone is a liar or something is untrue can be risky. It is not necessarily wrong to do so — we commonly rely upon things like credit ratings, or supplier reviews, or company audits as proxies for trustworthiness. But it can fail spectacularly at the extremes of scale: the individual you encounter on the street, or the society that you inhabit as a whole.
A con artist will commonly work with a partner to build up trust before betraying you. The word of the partner carries no real authority; it is a Small Lie. In the case of our whole society, you cannot depend upon the government or the media to self-police when they are conspiring to sell you a Big Lie. You have to use your own skill in research and reasoning to decide for yourself.
The Q drops are a good example here: the press endlessly denounces “QAnon” (whatever that is), without ever inquiring into the identity of Q or what about the content appeals to anons (i.e. ordinary critical thinking members of the public). Common sense tells you this is yellow journalism, not open-minded reporting. It astonishes me how otherwise rational people take the word of the very press accused of systemic corruption as the final say on the phenomenon.
If we take the hydroxychloroquine example, it is now established beyond any doubt that it is highly effective as a prophylaxis and treatment (as is ivermectim) for COVID-19; as an example of an institutional lie, you can go look at the “fact checkers” on offer. These are very sophisticated pieces of propaganda, using emotive language and subtle reasoning errors to lead you astray. But once you see the switch of “not yet proven to work” and “already proven not to work”, the lie is obvious.
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This is all getting more serious as the institutional liars are being exposed and brought to justice — a process that is part of the Great Awakening to how much of our society is founded on deceit. For example, Psychology Today attempts to pathologise any deviation from their preferred “conventional beliefs”:
With biased brains operating in online echo chambers and filter bubbles, our convictions about our personal ideas, which have always included a range of unconventional and false beliefs, have soared. We’re not delusional exactly, but our internet-influenced way of thinking these days has resulted in a kind of folie à mille that may be the worst possible way to “make American great again.”
Hence anybody who judges the New York Times or The Atlantic to be purveyors of propaganda is seen as a deviant rejecting acceptable societal norms. Critical thinking and dissident opinion is to be denounced, not valued. We know where this ends up, as the Soviets took this to its logical extreme, as recounted by Gizmodo:
Consequently, he came up with a form of schizophrenia that not only characterized political deviance as a failure to properly grasp reality, but one that could very easily be applied to anyone exhibiting contrarian tendencies. Specifically, they described it as "a continuous type [of schizophrenia] that is defined as unremitting, proceeding with either a rapid ("malignant") or a slow ("sluggish") progression and has a poor prognosis in both instances."
To those of us who took the time to examine the data of the Q drops, and the vast ocean of evidence of corruption they connect to, this is a very familiar feeling of being unjustly maligned as mad. The essence of science is that theories ought to be verifiable by anybody by examining the data and replicating any experiments. Those who have not looked at the data, but denounce the conclusions of those who have — by abdicating their authority to the media — are engaged in a Sovietesque collusion with these professional media liars.
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The antidote to this mendacious authoritarianism is to take up your own authority to discern. A rather excellent article by the Strategic Culture Foundation says:
On a closer inspection of history, we find countless instances where people shape their individual and group behavior around sets of ideas that transcend controllable material impulses. When this happens, those individuals or groups tend to resist adapting to environments created for them. This incredible phenomenon is witnessed empirically in the form of the American Revolution, Warsaw Ghetto Uprisings, Civil Rights movements, and even some bold manifestations of anti-lockdown protests now underway around the world.
Among the most troublesome of those variables which upset computer models are: “Conscience”, “Truth”, “Intentions”, “Soul”, “Honor”, “God”, “Justice”, “Patriotism”, “Dignity”, and “Freedom”.
This is not an accident. In The End of All Evil, it opens with:
The definition of freedom is the infinite value of the human being. The definition of evil is the destruction of freedom. Everything that is evil teaches people that they have limited value.
This idea of “limited value” can be rephrased as “less than divine”. The divine has infinite value; evil tells us we have finite value and offers us up a scheme to make up the difference. That you lack authority to decide for yourself whether you are being told a lie is a way of limiting your value. As such, it is evil — and should go against your conscience.
Returning to our friends at Strategic Culture Foundation, they expand on the need for an invariant moral “pole star”:
Whenever individuals shape their identities around these very real, though immaterial (aka: “metaphysical”) principles, they cannot be “nudged” towards pre-determined decisions that defy reason and morality. Adherence to these principles also tends to afford thinking people an important additional edge of creative insight necessary to cut through false explanatory narratives that attempt to hide lies behind the appearance of truth (aka: sophistry).
As witnessed on multiple occasions throughout history, such individuals who value the health of their souls over the intimidating (and extremely malleable) force of popular opinion, will often decide to sacrifice personal comfort and even their lives in order to defend those values which their minds and consciences deem important.
And in a finale that will appeal to the “awakened” anons observing the “normies” who refuse to think for themselves:
These rare, but invaluable outliers will often resist policies that threaten to undo their freedoms or undermine the basis of their society’s capacity to produce food, and energy for their children and grandchildren. What is worse, is that their example is often extremely contagious causing other members of the sheep class to believe that they too are human and endowed with unalienable rights which should be defended.
This very much explains why the media is in all-out assault on anyone and anything that challenges their authority to decide for you what is truth or a lie. The Q movement is vilified because it undermines the power and legitimacy of the mass media to decide for us. Rightly so: the mass media are mostly criminal enterprises, with few real journalists who courageously follow the facts no matter how uncomfortable they make you feel. Propaganda offers prefabricated opinions that are socially acceptable; demand for this is inversely correlated with the number of people who are independent thinkers.
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To summarise: those who fail to take up their authority to think for themselves are trapped in an ego construct — the “feeling of knowing”. They will continue to accept propaganda and lies because it reinforces their ego and its sense of approval and belonging. To recognise that they have been fooled is to leave them bereft of an identity, since they consider their group beliefs and associations to be their essence. They put authority into an idealised parent figure position, and rejecting those beliefs equates to the unconscious horror of being abandoned by one’s parents. It is fundamentally a regressed and childish state to live in, yet one that afflicts many, if not most, modern adults.
In contrast, those who “rebirth” themselves as genuinely grown up “soul creatures” tap into their divine identity, so are not trapped by their “feeling of knowing”. They realise that they are fully equipped to sense a lie, and to deconstruct the falsified evidence or fraudulent reasoning — without outside help. If they make a mistake, this is not fatal: they remain of infinite worth. They attach their identity to having righteously sought out countervailing data, even if it would make them temporarily have to reconsider their worldview or be rejected by their peers.
Of course, when I say this, I could be lying.
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