Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive! ⃰⃰
Thanks to Sherry, from Monroe, Louisiana, a Facebook friend who reminded me of this quotation today. It came to mind as she hunted in the pantry, suspecting her husband of eating HER gluten-free rice cakes. I think I might have reserved my frustration for something a little more appetising, however, the point was made!
My Mum would regularly caution me against lying. Honesty was a highly espoused value in my childhood upbringing. Like any child, I tested what I could get away with and the consequences of deception were always severe. Rather unintelligently, at the age of three (my sister was a defenceless baby at the time) I denied being the one who had nibbled a bite out of every single chocolate in the sweet bowl.
On a couple of occasions, I lapsed into the vice of hoarding a secret stash of sweets for consumption as and when I so chose. Being found out was a majorly shameful life event! Mum used to say that if I got into the habit of lying, eventually I would lose track of what I had said to whom and ultimately I not be able to tell the difference between truth and lies! I found that hard to believe then as everything was so black and white to my simple mind. Deliberate lies were easy to spot. I thought so, when a junior school classmate told me that she and her family had moved house to our town from the sun. Lucky for me, I had previously researched facts and written a poem about the sun, I knew of the sun’s 93,000, 000 miles’ distance from earth and that it was as hot as a newly baked currant bun. (“Bun” rhymed with “sun”).
In later life, discernment is not so straightforward and we may genuinely struggle to know what to believe. At one extreme, an established legal system depends upon the sheer capacity of prosecution and defence to make the most compelling argument to the bewildered jury. However most exercising of discernment between truth and lies comes in the everyday jumble of encounters we have with each other, words, tone and body language, media messages and hype, propaganda even and fear of disapproval by embracing the “wrong” thing.
Taking a stance is a risky business unless one has a starting point, a foundational truth. Then we realise that we have already built a foundation. Yet the materials that we chose to build with, the concepts handed to us, we accepted uncritically and unquestioningly before we had the power of critical choice. Now to begin to unpick those is a daunting task indeed. Is it necessary? Many will turn a blind eye to the possibility.
I have a sense of what and why I believe and it is liberating. However there will always be new discoveries and challenges to its integrity if I choose to remain teachable. My question today is How might you be tangled? It might have happened without any conspiracy on your part, or even your permission!
⃰ Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17. Scottish author & novelist (1771 – 1832)