Friday, January 30, 2015

Lies My Son's Father Told Him

I finally have a few moments to myself so let me share something with you.  My son had a trying week.  He wants to be a professional soccer player so badly - and he just missed being picked by the elite 'A team' at the soccer academy where we live.  His best friend, however, really was so lucky - so fortunate that he made the grade and joined the team.

You can imagine how much fun this week was for me.

I love my boy more than anything and I knew how sad he would be when it finally unfolded.  But what could I do?  Well, if you happen to be a parent you already know what I did.  I followed every good parent before me and lied.  What else could I have done?

The truth is that I was really proud of my boy.  To think that he managed to get to be eleventh best in his age group at one of the best soccer academy in the country having played the sport for less than seven months.  That was good enough for me.  But I know that for my son, that wasn't going to be enough.  So I made up a story.

The truth is that my attitude toward lying is a rather complex one.  I assure myself often (when I catch others telling untruths) that I 'hate' dishonesty.  I don't like people pretending to be one thing but demonstrating themselves to be something else.

Yet when it comes down to it, when I had to face my son's dashed expectations I saw a different side to myself.  I had to acknowledge now that 'sometimes there simply is no other way.'

I tell myself that even in the Bible, the Patriarchs lie.  They say 'this is my sister' when standing there was really their wife.  Jesus doesn't tell people who he was.  In the heretical narrative he leads his enemies to a cliff knowing that they are going to try to push him over the edge.  You can imagine what happens next in the original Coyote and Roadrunner conclusion to that pericope.

Indeed the older I get, the enigmatic my relationship with dishonesty gets.  On the one hand, I am tired all the time so I am too lazy to actively tell untruths.  A young liar is an active fraud.  I lie to avoid problems.  Call it preventative dishonesty.

But I think dishonesty is far more common in society than most people are wont to admit.  It's not just that 'everyone is a hypocrite.'  That's the revelation that comes to teenagers and college students.

It's not just that we are always lying to ourselves - or as Nietzsche more eloquently put it - 'few of us have the strength for what we really know.'

I think faith is a necessary lie - 'the belief in yourself' or 'the belief in truth,' 'the belief in rules,' 'the belief in God' - whatever.

There are so many 'mythicists' on the internet, at least in the circles I 'hang.'  They are so interested in the question about 'whether Jesus existed' or not.  My son the other day asked me why it is that the Bible is filled with so many miraculous stories but miracles no longer happen in the world - or in his words 'magic is fake.'

Surely the ancients who read the gospel or the Pentateuch must have recognized that the enchanted world described therein - filled with angels and talking animals and wondrous demonstrations of power - wasn't the world they lived in.  None of them had ever witnessed the sea parting or a man raising the dead.  Was it just the rich and the educated who figured out that these things the rabble held to be so sacred were 'full of shit'?

I think there comes a time where every young adolescent wakes up and realizes that love is nothing more than willing self-narcotizing; that this person for whom you longed so deeply is no better than you are - is just another person.

If nothing is true and everything is self-deception then lies strangely take on a new meaning.  In an inverted world black becomes light and light black.  If all is 'vanity, vanity' then truth isn't possible.  Yes 'science' can measure and quantify the physical world - but none of it has any set meaning.  I wonder sometimes whether climate skeptics are simply unable to acknowledge the nihilistic revelation that came upon them.  Nothing matters, not even life on the planet earth because everything is a lie - or at least none of us can escape the self-narcotizing lie that is human consciousness and human existence.

In such a world - and we can only presume that this was the nihilistic social landscape that gave birth to Judaism and Christianity - it isn't a matter of telling a truth but of making up a holy lie, a lie that empowers people, that gives them hope.  This is the real building block of the Bible.  It isn't that Jesus never existed or God is unknowable but that existence was simply the greatest of mistakes without faith - or if you will 'the holy lie.'

Isn't that what comedians do?  Is that the reason why people become entertainers?  Why does it matter that you make people laugh?  It really doesn't.  The same piece of garbage you were cursing at for cutting you off on the highway is now in the audience watching your show or sitting in the movie theater watching your film.  The same shitty world is still shitty, but the lie - or 'art' as only most beautiful lying gets to call itself - succeeds at makes life worth living.

Why?  Because lying is the most holiest of acts.  Faith is nothing more than lying.  Magic is a lie, entertainment is the art of lying and life, my friends, is nothing more than a series of lies strung together on the wisps of angels wings.

So it was that when my son didn't make the elite soccer team and instead had to settle for 'the next best thing' I did what all people do.  I uttered to him the holiest of holy truths - I breathed upon him the all powerful spirit which heals, sustains and creates - I lied ...

Email with comments or questions.

Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.