The Many Faces of Lies

By | 16/02/2015

At some point of our early lives, the complex workings of our brain learn how to lie.

To keep our lives running smoothly, we lie through wordplay, by holding back a gesture or behaving in ways that might be acceptable in a given situation, yet are against our beliefs. We attempt to hide personality traits we dislike by hiding our true selves.

There are so many ways of dodging the truth that it would be wiser to always mistrust our fellow human beings, at least until proven wrong.

Being afraid and vulnerable is part of human nature, yet we keep pretending to be unflappable; then, other people believe in the image we project and start acting as if they were not vulnerable either.

People lie so that others, who they perceive as strong, won’t think them weak. On our daily stage, we feed the dissimulation cycle: I feel the need to impress you, because I believed in the false image you projected.

Wouldn’t it be easier if we all admitted to not being superheroes and that there’s nothing to protect us from the unknown future?

Usually, people who don’t like their bodies avoid beaches and pools. They claim to not enjoy the sun, when actually they can’t bear to show the imperfections they hate, just like shy people say they don’t like parties and public places. At home, their inability to socialize remains their secret.

We are very afraid of being shamed and ridiculed. Because of this fear, many of us would much rather just move out of town after losing a lot of money – it’s easier to be broke and find the peace of mind needed to rebuild our lives among strangers, than amidst those who knew us when we were rich and successful!

These lies are defenses we put up to protect ourselves from being the object of ridicule, criticism and judgment. However, there is another, more insidious kind of lie: the calculated deception, meant to exploit other people.

A man might use his extroversion to pretend he’s the stereotypically perfect guy – stable, independent and strong – just to seduce a woman; after he gets her, he reveals himself to be needy and weak.

A woman might behave provocatively to seduce and feel superior to men. They sell a promise of mind-blowing sex they hardly ever can deliver, because women like this tend to be sexually repressed. Their sexual appeal is just a shortcut to achieve a specific goal.

Clearly, people who lie because they are weak are much less morally reprehensible than people who use deceit to take advantage of others.

The former could distance themselves from the latter if only they understood an obvious and palatable truth: the people who intimidate them are as just as fallible and vulnerable. It’s always good to remember: to others, we’re the intimidating, unknown quantity.

Tradução: Amanda Morris