Why are we lying to ourselves?

“Hey Bog-Hubert – what in three twister’s name is making you chuckle so deviously? Somebody sending you dirty e-jokes on that thing again? Better watch out before Vodcçek bounces you out of his virtual — I mean virtuous — befogged Island Tavern…”
“Easy, Sophie my dear, nothing really on that axis of objectionableness. It’s some befogged soul on the internet asking why we are lying to ourselves.”
“Why, that’s a really good question, isn’t it? Why indeed would anybody in his right mind…”
“Or left?”
“Quit obfuscating the issues here. Why would anybody do something so self-destructive to himself? Or herself? ‘Cause it is self-destructive, isn’t it? In the long run, truth will catch up?”
“Well, it could be quite self-protective, it not even self-productive, I’d say.”
“Okay — the self-protective part I get, but only in the short run, to escape unpleasant consequences of misdeeds and such. But self-productive? As in constructing a different concept of yourself?”
“That wasn’t really what I had in mind, we might follow up on that — eh Abbé Boulah? — What I meant was something more practical. Deviously practical, you might say. Practicing effective lying, for example?”
“You’ll have to do some explaining of that one. If you aren’t lying even about that…?”
“Well, think about it. If you have to lie, it better be good, won’t it? Believable? And that takes practice. You wanna test the effectiveness of a lie: well, if you can get yourself to believe it, chances are others will fall for it too. But as I said: it takes practice.”
“What a miserable way to think about it, Bog-Hubert. Trying to improve the despicable habit of lying to others and yourself?”
“Well now: there are different kinds of lies, arent there? Even good ones? Not just bad … or evil?”
“They’re all lies though. But yes, coming to think about it, I’ll admit there might be lies that could be doing some good”
“Such as?”
“Hmm. I guess I’consider lying to somebody if the truth might cause the other pain or distress, unnecessarily.”
“Admirable, yes. And quite justifiable. So how about applying that to yourself? Would it make sense to lie to yourself to ease the pain of some awful truth? What do you think, Abbé Boulah? If you can divert your thinking away from your Zinfandel? “
“Quit picking on me Zin, my friend. Don’t you remember the old saying ‘in vino veritas’? Could you begin to grasp the possibility that I might be seeking truth in that glass of Lytton Springs?”
“You wouldn’t be lying even to yerself now, would you?”
“And even so, pray tell: why not? And what if I actually found a truthful nugget in that glass?”
“Is that what you are chewing on? So what would that kind of truth amount to?”
“Consider this: could lying not be a form of design? Constructing a picture of reality — or of a part of it — that might be more pleasant than some ugly truth? In somebody else’s mind, or mine?”
“And what purpose would that serve, other than ugly deception?”
“Well, Sophie, if I could get you to construct a better image of myself, than what I currently am capable of being, would that not give me something … to live up to?”
“You don’t really believe that, do you, Abbé Boulah?”


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