You want the truth?


luke-telling-liesThink carefully before you answer. 

By Luke Robinson

This past summer, there was a very interesting interview posted online with the CEO of a major company. The crux of the interview was all about the future and what people can expect in the next 20 years.

Many of the theorized advances were mind-blowing. Some were practically inconceivably awesome. One, though, seemed pretty scary to me.

According to the highly intelligent interviewee, sometime within the next two decades, the world will have created technology to determine with uncanny accuracy if a person is lying.

“But Luke!” you exclaim. “Catching people in a lie is a GOOD thing!”

On the surface, I agree. There would be so much less stealing, so many fewer unsolved criminal cases, so many less fake profile pictures on Match.com, etc., etc. Ask just about anyone the personality types they dislike most and “liars” or “hypocrites” are surely to be the answers.

Is it good to ALWAYS know the truth  though? Don’t we need SOME lies? If the timeless Jim Carrey classic movie “Liar, Liar” has taught us anything, it’s that always knowing the truth isn’t all that great.

First of all, if we had an app that knew—beyond the shadow of a doubt— when someone was lying, it would ruin every class reunion from that point on. “Jan! You haven’t aged a bit!” “Frank! SooooOOO good to see you!” “Nancy! You look like you could still fit in your majorette outfit!”

Lies… All of them. You know Jan looks more leathery than a crocodile’s handbag, it’s obvious Frank still has a hankering for rectangular pizza and Nancy couldn’t even shoe-horn herself into a pair of sequined sweatpants. Do they really need to hear those sad truths? Is it worth destroying their self-confidence  in the name of honesty?

Secondly, complete transparency undoubtedly would change elections. Oh, we voters claim we want to know exactly what candidates’ words mean, but I am not so sure we do. Would anyone ever get elected if they were forced to run with the campaign slogan of “Vote Jones—He Will Raise Taxes Higher than a Coloradan Kite!”?

I don’t know about you, but listening to politicians lie has actually become quite entertaining. None of them do what they promise, and I have come to accept that fact. We all know they are lying already; it’s about who lies best that gets the vote.

Next, what about all of the jobs honesty would cost society?

Is there a salesman anywhere who would be able to support his family using total honesty?  (“Ma’am, this car has a horrid miles-per-gallon performance record; you are truly better off riding a bike to work.”)

Is there a funeral director who wouldn’t  alienate an entire community? (“Today we are gathered here in this stuffy parlor to say ‘good riddance’ to a man none of us really liked… and to be 100% sure he is finally gone for good before we curse his name on the car ride home.”)

Is there a life coach alive who could make a decent salary by doling out hard truths to clients in need of an esteem boost? (“Based on your average looks, subpar talents and lack of mental capacity, I suggest you aim low and keep your expectations hovered around a lifetime of inevitable disappointment.”)

Who would actually need a private investigator? Just ask your spouse where they were last night, scan their retinas with your iPhone’s app and wait for the apologies.

The face of sports would be changed forever, too. No more coaches telling us, “Well… Our team has been focused on the next opponent ONLY this week.” Instead, we will hear, “Look, this powder-puff squad we play this weekend will be a breeze so we have game planned all week for our rivalry game the following Saturday.”

Will anyone ever fall for a no-look pass? A pump fake? Play-action? All peripheral points of deception in the grand sports spider web of lies.

Look, it’s completely noble to always seek the truth. According to Agent Fox Mulder, “The Truth is Out There” afterall. I just think the nobility is in the idea of seeking the truth; not actually always discovering it.

If you disagree with me, just ask a kindergartener if your new sweater makes you look fat. Those little urchins always tell the truth because they have yet to discover how lying can be beneficial. Go ahead… Ask one… I’ll wait….

See? The truth DOES hurt, right? Sometimes it’s better to accept an untruth even when you know the reality.

In the immortal words of Homer Simpson, “it takes two to lie… One to lie and one to listen.”

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