Common Ground

“All I want is the truth. Just gimme some truth.” – John Lennon


The truth is out. We’re all full of shit (Some more so than others). So much so that if someone were to give us the god’s-honest-truth we’d swat it away as if it were a fly. No. It’s better to believe in the lie. Or so we think. Better to paint a facade than to face the cold concrete facts. Milan Kundera called it a “kitsch”, where an intelligible lie smothers an unintelligible truth. Which is a way to say, we want to believe our lie as soon as it leaves our mouths even though we know they’re only empty words. We even coddle lies by calling them “white lies”. They’re just innocent little fibs without malice, what harm could they do? But what if your life is one big fib, always foolin’ around in a cute little way, never serious in the least bit about anyone or anything. Does it not snowball and find its way into a larger field of white lies? The modern term is “fake it ’till you make it”. We justify this by thinking, “If we believe it whole-heartedly and we get others to believe it, then maybe it’ll come true.” Maybe you’ll change. Maybe the world will change around you. It’s highly unlikely, but MAYBE.

The most bizarre nature of this common fallacy is the disbelief in truth and to write-off anyone who speaks it. They are at once branded a fool, an idiot or an ignorant naif, a ‘poor knight’ unable to play along in the common charade. The perfect portrait of this idea can be found in Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, where a certain prince comes on the scene in Petersburg and speaks plainly and honestly to those he encounters and through their own disillusions of reality become hostile and even condemn the prince with haughty and contemptuous remarks; mainly calling him “an idiot”. We love the lie so much we are ready to make a martyr of anyone who speaks with honest and sincere words because no one likes to look themselves in the mirror and see the true horror of it all. Paradigms would shatter like glass! And we can’t have that. We can’t be caught dead sweeping up the mess of our own fabrications. The magician doesn’t clean up his act! It would be too embarrassing. And we don’t want to be embarrassed. Oh no. It’s better to keep the lie going. It’s better to build a whole world around it. To live it out in the flesh so that we can bring others into our lie and so we too adopt theirs into a greater, nasty web of lies stretched out over a great expanse of Time and Space down to lineage and legacy. And we will hate the truth and those that speak the truth and we will raise up and praise the biggest liar of them all because they will condemn the world and its lie and wrap it up in an even greater lie. Baudelaire said, “The devil’s finest trick is to persuade you he doesn’t exist.” Well, take a look around you, into the faces of your family, your friends; at the gas station attendant; your barista; the person driving the car next to you. Take a look in the mirror and tell me, who’s foolin’ who.

Do we really know ourselves? Or is it all fantasy caught in a landslide? The sooner we realize this, the sooner we can start being honest with ourselves and everyone else. No foolin’.