What kind of liar are you?
Research shows that we lie at least once a day! We tell lies that sometimes go completely unnoticed by us and others or lies that as soon as they “come”, we use with great pleasure. After all, what is behind the lie?
The social lie
A lie is nothing but a denial of reality. Which reality? Ours! Essentially, by lying we bring closer to our own reality what is considered socially correct, acceptable, or moral. Thus, we manage to become “liked” in a given circumstance or in a specific person. The moment we decide to tell a lie, we know full well that our choice is aimed at greater acceptance or avoidance of misunderstandings. The truth, on the other hand, increases the chances of losing the advantage that, for some reason, we want to have against the one we lie to. This need often stems from social behaviors. That is why the lies we use are modified according to the case. If, for example, we forgot to do something very important yesterday, we will find a way to “justify” it differently to the partner, the manager, the parents, the child, the friend… Depending on the importance of each social context, the truth can be hidden with many different lies.
The “white” lie (according to Socrates)
Many times, lying matters because it protects a big secret. A secret that, if revealed, would cause such a big life change that in the end, it might have been better if it had been hidden. In this case, hiding the truth is used to protect against a big shock or an unpleasant development for everyone. This is the so-called “white lie”, a term found in Socratic philosophy. The most difficult criterion for this lie is what one defines as “protection” from the truth. This is determined by the morality of each person. In very big dilemmas, everyone “builds” a whole philosophy and puts forward a series of arguments in order to be able to support their white lie. This is because the concealment of great secrets permanently occupies the mind and affects the emotional world of the individual on a daily basis. Ideally, only the truth could bring about the emotional balance of the person holding the secret. However, the need for “external” balance (in matters of family, health, extramarital affairs, etc.) takes on dimensions that often exceed the personal balance and lead to a lie that lasts a lifetime.
The innocent mistake or the guilty lie
Mistakes are human and can happen without motivation. A mistake in reality never indicates the intention to create a different self or a myth. By this criterion, the error is different from lying. Because lying, whether small or large, wants to affect the other person’s perception of reality. Thus, the lie acquires a social character since in practice it is addressed to others. Here, then, lies a very important dimension of lying, motivation. Intrigues, conspiracies, deceptions, gossip, scandals, and rumors are the culmination of the lies we encounter from politics to religion. Motivation varies and is shaped in many cases with specific goals and pre-planned implications.
The ostrich … and the lie
As the ostrich does, hiding her head in the ground so as not to see the danger that frightens her. This phenomenon is another form of falsification of reality, which may include lies. Ostrichism is very strongly observed in modern societies where alienation leads to a general indifference to what is really happening. In other words, “roll your eyes”! In this case, the person wants to lie to himself in order to avoid reality or to beautify his own. An extension of this phenomenon is the way we avoid seeing a mistake or a problem that concerns us. And the even greater extension is perhaps the deliberate efforts to forget or avoid what torments us, creating a reality-myth in order to never face our fears.
From fiction to mythomania
If we all lie, how can we understand the limits of pathology? The truth is complicated with lies! Thus, fiction is slow to be perceived as pathology by the fictionalist environment. This is because it is often “justified” in the context of “exaggeration”, “joke”, “carelessness” or “character”. In reality, however, the pathology we call “mythomania” is an intense, permanent second reality, full of imaginary experiences and non-existent memories that sooner or later cause communication difficulties and anxiety in the environment. This is a very worrying pathology that needs psychotherapeutic support. Most of the time, mythomania is just an indication of much more serious psychopathology that may require psychiatric medication.