Truth or Lie and Vice Versa

“Who To Consult” by Mark R. Turner. Prints HERE.

The lie is a widely accepted and legitimized technique for getting what we want. It seems the general public thinks lying is a normal option to employ as needed. To many it is not remarkable that a public official or industry leader uses lies to get their agenda forward and succeed in their life goals. It is also a convenient attack point to diminish one’s opponent: “They lied but we are of the Truth.” Many learn the subtleties of lying like an art and pass the skills on to their progeny — how to lie and look like the truth — the arts of the cover-up and misinformation — how to misdirect and distract like magicians and the movies do.

Then there is the strategy of corporations to subtly confuse us when it will serve to engage us, such as the constant changes by global social media platforms and even some software “updates.” And it is the age of photography popularly assumed to be the truth — except now we have Photoshop, and you can make the “truth” be whatever you have the skill to make it be.

Making It “Our Kind” of Real

But I am not surprised that this ancient practice has proliferated so much. I remember seeing the difficulty my parents had distinguishing between a movie and reality, between the actors and the characters they played. Recent generations have grown up with a relationship to stories that has subtly twisted toward untruth aided by religious loyalties, nationalism, and imitation science.

While I appreciate receiving spiritual sensitivity through stories from scripture and church history, I note that the understanding of the literary form of myth has been set aside in favor of “realism” and actualizing. As a youth starting out in the arts, I zealously tried to make the stories of the Bible “really happen” for audiences, an honest attempt to show the Bible characters and deeds as relevant and believable in today’s terms. But I have watched religious leaders turn global “evangelizing” into an urgent numbers game employing “show business” techniques to build followings and solidify loyalty to their institutions.  Some politicians have associated themselves with this success and mimicked the evangelists.

Myth and fantasy are forms of storytelling meant to be vehicles of higher Truth, but personal theories and tribal interpretations of scripture have been promoted in seemingly concrete realism and gained popular appeal causing masses to think of the Bible as an “owner’s manual” for success in the world. Myths, intended as symbolic and metaphorical, have been reframed as actual expectations for the end of the world and masses of people militantly promote them as reality.

Preference Over Truth

Truth is being redefined as what we can touch, control, and consume. Narratives of ultimate consumer satisfaction are created for us which many prefer over reality; it’s the truth because — we like it.

For example, prevailing narratives of the day reinforce the belief that “true believers” are escaping this evil world and going to the ideal realm of heaven where we don’t have to think about material problems. This religious stance promotes the idea in the rest of society that the material realm is disposable, only exists for us to consume, while the spiritual realm is a separate system you must join for heavenly benefits. With this view we tend to abuse our bodies and the environment, denying and overindulging depending on the substance in question. So, one might claim to be “pro-life”, and still say the need for life-saving actions such as vaccinations and mask-wearing are “lies”. Or, while believing God commands us to be good stewards of the earth, we can indulge industries that deplete forests, pollute the water, and make animal species extinct. Of course, the claims that such atrocities are happening are labeled “lies” by material empires benefitting from these abuses. “Truth” is made into a tool adaptable to whatever we prefer to perceive.

Devising and promoting delusions to amass a following, displace science, control culture and actualize untruth globally has been practiced by the greedy and powerful for centuries, (from the Renaissance to Hitler’s propaganda master Goebbels) and has reached unprecedented power to mobilize popular preference for lies. Focusing on people’s fear of the truth, professional liars urge us to ignore it and not participate in the real world. Jesus’ promise that knowing the truth will make us free is bypassed by replacing truth with delusion, enslaving us.

Moving from Media to Heart

Again, the foundation for our predicament has been built over the centuries by reducing creeds and scriptures to simple verbal and intellectual assent rather than experiencing the truth in the heart. The words of the Bible have become more important to many than the Truth they refer to, which cannot be bound by ink on paper, pixels, audio, or images. Truth is known in the human spirit by experience. As a story artist I know story can reveal Truth and help us live the Real, not replace reality. Myth, the arts, and the revelations of real science are aids, not replacements for this heart knowledge.

If allowed, every human is capable of pausing and communing with the Reality from which we all emanate. That spiritual capacity will guide us in wisdom. Modern slave traders know not to allow people to think for themselves, but to dominate our attention with an unrelenting stream of media and verbiage for eye and ear, to keep the world virtual and our attention occupied so that we will not grow in realization of Truth. Their goal is to contain us, to keep things as they are or reestablish “the way things were”, “make America great again.”

How To Be Real

The antidote is to keep growing in our discernment of true reality, to exercise personal control of what we believe in our hearts. For millennia prayer and meditation in many forms has helped awaken our sensitivity to Ultimate Reality. I recommend pausing daily to wait patiently for your heart to sense authentic, not dictated, experience of direct communion with God. This experience, cumulative over time, can guide our intellect and actions in Truth for the real world. (More on this at my post HERE.)

Yes, we all are shaped by our cultures and being influenced by each other is unavoidable, but we can still ask the higher Reality to help us reach beyond the assumptions of our cultures and reveal Truth. This is a community matter of Love and good will. We can compare notes, learn from one another and choose not to insist that only our tribe has the Truth.

In my personal experience this attitude has freed me to grow more loving and confident; it has increased my wisdom in choosing which narratives to consider. Gradually my core constant is becoming anchored not in narratives themselves, but in our Supreme Origin Who endowed us with the capacity to make and participate in narratives.

This frees me to be a storyteller and art maker with the motto “sparking imagination.” My contribution to humanity is to help people imagine how to build Good in the real world – to heal, fix, save, liberate, Love, reconcile to others and to our Origin, to be the real, united Body of God growing the more wonderful universe.