Inside Looking Out: The truth about lies
Let’s be honest. We all lie.
Most of us tell a fib once in a while so we still believe we are truthful people.
That’s what Alex Lickerman says in a Psychology Today article. He also says we are only dishonest in ways that we think don’t matter so we can easily live with ourselves.
Lying protects us from conflict or emotional harm more than brutal honesty does. The truth is that lying can make us feel good and also make the people we lie to feel good as well.
Research says that our brains cannot lie. Our mouths do. The brain records and stores the facts of our experiences. Of course, we hold the power over our brains to override the truth whenever we feel like it.
There is an alpha state of consciousness where truth lives deep inside the brain. According to the website, the Mind Unleashed, alpha brain waves are present when we are in a state of deep relaxation and our visualization, memory and concentration are at optimum levels. The alpha is the gateway to the subconscious mind and when drawn to the surface level, deep intuitive thoughts are revealed.
Imagine if we lived every moment in the alpha state of consciousness and nothing but the truth from our brains could come out of our mouths. You’d hear things like, “Yes dear, you do look fat in that outfit,” or instead of faking that smile at your boss, you’d say, “You’re an idiot!”
On a more serious side of the alpha, murderers would always confess. Adulterers would tell their spouses they cheated. More politicians would say, “I really don’t care about anyone but me.”
What if a known gang member shows up at your doorstep and wants to speak to your son about a “deal” they made on the street yesterday? Does your mouth say he’s not home (and he is) or does your alpha brain say, “Just a minute, I’ll get him”?
We trust in the honesty of doctors, the clergy and especially our family, but let’s be real, lying is a relatively common occurrence from a child to his parents. Catch the kid just once in a lie and all trust between you and him is fragile at best from that moment on.
On a humorous note, actor Jack Nicholson once said, “There are only two people you should lie to — the policeman and your girlfriend.”
Singer and songwriter Tom Waits said, “Most people don’t care if you’re telling them the truth or you’re lying as long as what you’re saying is entertaining.”
I find honesty to be both comforting and calming. Lying requires effort. You have to be an actor on a stage selling a bag of fiction to win the applause of your audience. But then again, who’s to believe I’m telling the truth? Who knows when anyone tells the truth?
Fear of consequences can make us lie, but when I was a child going to confession as a young Catholic, I was more afraid to tell the priest the truth about my lies.
“I lied to my mother that I was with Mike all day when I was with Eddie, the playground troublemaker,” I confessed.
“My teacher accused me of making monkey noises in the back of the classroom. I said, ‘not me,’ but it was.” I was 12 years old telling my lies to a man of God. Really?
I would leave the confessional while thinking, I forgot to tell him this one or that one. When I got home my mother asked me if I told the priest all my lies.
“Yes,” I lied.
So how do you know if someone is telling the truth to you? Some people are very skilled liars. For me it’s all about the eyes. If you look directly into my eyes, I believe you’re telling me the truth. Liars like to avoid eye contact because their brains are protesting what their mouths are saying. Our eyes are windows to see the truth.
They say that when we die, the organ that stays alive the longest is the brain. Perhaps it needs that extra time to unburden a lifetime of untold and unwanted truths that were spoken as lies.
By the way, I just got paid $1,000 for writing this column. My editor is so happy right now that my alpha brain doesn’t force my mouth to tell you I was really paid …
Rich Strack can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.