Monday, 30 March 2015

Lies all Lies | Part 2: Hard Lies

Hard Lies

This is another broad category of lies. A simple way of defining this is that it is a ‘a lie that harms others’. This type of lie is based on greed, envy, self-interest and hatred and so forth. I will only talk about three major sub categories of Hard lies here.

Three Key Source of Hard Lies

Lies of Greed

I keep this on top of the hard lies list. Human beings’ constant competition to improve its condition and to defeat others requires using lying as a key tool. This is often in shape of concealing information or intentionally being ambiguous to have the situation to a liar’s advantage.

The earliest lie recorded I imagine is when a tribal leader assigned a group of man to go hunting for the very small community they formed. Some greedy man then would have hidden some meat or whatever they hunted and thought of using it to attract a female partner or to sell it in secret to a hungry man for something valuable in return; or merely to just fulfil his desire to enjoy a great meal instead of the small portion awarded by the leader. 

Thomas Hobbes’ (1588-1669)

I am inclined to agree with Thomas Hobbes’ (1588-1669) proposition that either hunger or sex determine human action and probably the fundamental route of greed in human nature before society and notion of power comes in human psyche. Hobbes writes that,

“Specific desires and appetites arise in the human body and are experienced as discomforts or pains which must be overcome. Thus, each of us is motivated to act in such ways as we believe likely to relieve our discomfort, to preserve and promote our own well-being. Everything we choose to do is strictly determined by this natural inclination to relieve the physical pressures that impinge upon our bodies. Human volition is nothing but the determination of the will by the strongest present desire (Leviathan I 6).’’

A contemporary example of lies of greed could be assigned to multi-national corporations dodging tax to increase their profits. Starbucks and Google come to mind. Here, as human kind progressed greed took an institutional form. Shall we call it institutional greed or collective greed? Collective greed inspires institutional lies. Lawyers and policy makers invest their expertise in defending institutional lies to fulfil institutional greed.

A big example of a lie of greed on a state or international level is Bush-Blair justifying the war on Iraq with a sexed up dossier. What motivated them? The greed of power, the greed of oil money and political legacy, all elements were at play here. So we can say civilisation often lie or nations lie to fulfil its greed which is often defined as national interest. Whereas if you compare them with each other, they have enough resources to sustain an average quality of living but they are continuously aspiring to secure their country’s wealth and justifying invading other nations to accumulate more of this.

Another historical example of a lie of greed comes in mind. Mir Jafor betrayed Bengal’s last Nawab Siraj-Ud Daula by conspiring with Lord Clive of British Raj and  securing a place in history. On 23rd June 1757 at the battle of Palashi (I don’t know why we allow distorting the name Palashi to ‘Plassey’ - just because the English masters then didn’t know how to pronounce it) Siraj Ud Daula lost the battle and later was arrested and executed by Mir Jafar. Greed of power was certainly at play here and Mir Jafar used lying as a tool to deceive Siraj Ud Daula.

Back to current times, lying in general is mastered and practiced by businessman and politicians in gross volume. For some reason ‘Machiavellian’ thought is used to represent the context of lies, deception and cover-ups. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Machiavellianism is "the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct"

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469- 1527)

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469- 1527) in his great work ‘The Prince(1532)’ stressed that ‘’The general theme of accepting that the aims of princes—such as glory and survival—can justify the use of immoral means to achieve those ends.’’ Lying is of course one of the main component amongst the immoral means he meant. So we can conclude that manipulation and lie for greed, as rightly observed by Hobbes is inherent in human nature and serves its state of nature (of being selfish and greedy).

Humans often lie out of hatred

Lies of Hate

Another big motivation for hard lies derives from hatred,   a strong passion human being inhabits. Humans often lie out of hatred and would lie pathetically to take revenge on their enemies or people they hate. This is closely associated with tolerance and humans not being able to live in harmony. I mean why people hate, if investigated, will resolve into discovering the mere ignorance and fear of the unknown or unfamiliarity inspired it.

African American people in the US had to go through a big phase of familiarising themselves with people of alien colour, attitude and gradually they recognised that actually Black people are also human being and its ok to tolerate them and put a break on hate. With much progression since Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’, hatred is still there as evidenced with institutional racism and cover-up events to quote the recent Ferguson incidents as an example. So who lies here? The answer is the establishment. The FBI, CIA, the Senate and the Congress where you still have people lying in front of cameras and resisting truth in the reports and analysis produced massaging and manipulating data to demonstrate desired conclusion in reports and ultimately to execute the inner hatred they have for certain kinds. White Oscar is white not only because Blacks are behind in culture but because some people at the top of the industry still feel they are of a superior race and are still not convinced and at ease with Blackness or equality. They hide this discomfort with many lies.

An interesting study could be to explore the process of hatred. Why do people hate? In Bangladesh, secular extremists and Islamic extremists both will lie to hurt each other. They will resort to bizarre irrational lies to prosecute their enemy. The Bangladeshi International War Crimes tribunal, though set up in a historically justified spirit of justice, ultimately ended up  being a circus in state sponsored lying, arranging witnesses and justifying the hanging the Islamists who are thought to have committed crimes against humanity. To ensure political gain and to use the historical sentimental issue, Sheikh Hasina organised a huge stage where lies has becomeher key component to ensure victory and to persecute the enemy she hates. 

Lies of Envy

This is lying out of envy or competition. Envy is another universal and deep seated emotion? One of the most influential modern philosophers Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) devoted a whole chapter on envy in his famous book ‘The Conquest of Happiness (1930)’. He used an example that can demonstrate how lies of envy occur. In giving an example of envy Russell says,-

“Among average respectable women envy plays an extraordinarily large part. If you are sitting in the underground and a well-dressed woman happens to walk along the car, watch the eyes of the other women. You will see that every one of then, with the possible exception of those who are better dressed, will watch the woman with malevolent glances, and will be struggling to draw inferences derogatory to her. The love of scandal is an expression of this general malevolence: any story against another woman is instantly believed, even on the flimsiest evidence.”

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

What Russell means here is that lying becomes a tool which expresses people’s envy. It will be a sexist blogpost if I now don’t add an example to show man being guilty of envy and resorting to lies. To strike a fair analysis of gender then, I would like to mention that Russell goes on to say,  

‘’Exactly the same thing, however, is to be observed among men, except that women regard all other women as their competitors, whereas men as a rule only have this feeling towards other men in the same profession.’’

Russell gives a fantastic example in the following,

‘’In the correspondence of Leibniz and Huygens there are a number of letters lamenting the supposed fact that Newton had become insane. 'Is it not sad,' they write to each other, 'that the incomparable genius of Mr Newton should have become over clouded by the loss of reason?' And these two eminent men, in one letter after another, wept crocodile tears with obvious relish. As a matter of fact, the event which they were hypocritically lamented had not taken place, though a few examples of eccentric behaviour had given rise to the rumour.’’

I have personally observed lies in our community spreading faster than any other information through our sisters, aunties telephone lines or friends WhatsApp messages, most likely derived from the acute envy of some people surrounding them who they are envious of.

Note: Have you missed first part | Soft Lies in my previous post. 

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