Deception is something we perceive as the resolute to bend another’s idea of what is real and what is not (Bhattacharjee, 2017). Twisting the truth is an fair means that can be utilized for the positive or negative, to educate or sway (Bhattacharjee, 2017).”
According to University of Toronto psychologist Kang Lee, acquiring the understanding on how to lie is an organic stage that takes place during child maturation (Bhattacharjee, 2017). Dr. Lee has spent his time examining how children turn into more refined liars as they become older (Bhattacharjee, 2017). I recall very early childhood memories of being in first grade, making up “stories” to my teacher about why I didn’t want to wear glasses and asking to be moved to the back of the room; I felt ashamed of my appearance and feared ridicule from my child peers, and even though there was nothing seemingly harmful about my juvenile behavior, I was learning how to alter other’s perceptions about me through testing tactics of manipulation.
As children, we tell lies because we feel emotions that we may not want to feel and then react in ways to bring a sense of peace, love, or comfort to our environment. Children want to feel safe and secure, and whenever they are not feeling stable, they can easily “test” the waters and say or do things to bring that sense of security into their world. Crying as a baby is a primitive example of “trial and error.” The baby can connect at some point: “If I cry, I can get what I want or need to survive.” Most of the time, parents or guardians will come in and appease the baby, showing them through nonverbal response by simply being there that their actions bring about a reward.
Understandably, this psychological behavior increases as children grow older. As teens and into adulthood, our lies and inward dialogue that we construct for ourselves become like a guiding map on how to interact with the world, get a job, and pass school. We are more likely to see our “fabrications of truths” as ways to survive. For example: a teenage boy may think at school: “If I do x or x to compromise my integrity to fit into this or this click, then I will be more popular with the girls.” When we continue to receive positive rewards for our fictional world that we’ve made up for ourselves, then we are more likely to continue acting in the same deceptive ways.
Take the other instance when plans don’t work out the way we would like them to, and someone at school or home calls us a “LIAR!” We (1) are prone to react with self-defense tactics and continue the lies out of feeling a negative emotion, or (2) go through the remorse process and then attempt to alter our behavior.
We, as a society, are fed lies daily. These societal lies are those which again, serve as a means to feed our egos and keep the pleasure-reward system going. Societal lies range in everything from, “success and beauty are the most important values” to “you should be married and have children by age 35.” The outcomes of societal lies are: If you don’t fit into these categories, you are abnormal; alter yourself to fit into these preconceived normalities. So therefore if we feel inadequate because we are unmarried, without kids, and think ourselves to be “ugly,” we will focus on achieving the perfect relationship and fixing our appearance until we have blended into societies standards. This process of undergoing societal transformation involves, lying, manipulating and twisting our authentic selves, and as part, deceiving others.
But let us remember, there is no such thing as a “perfect” anything. Flawed humans construct the so-called “experts” in society who then tell us what is “bad,” “good,” “perfection,” and so forth. So when faced with a difficult challenge in adulthood, such as a public official attacking another for something he or she has done “wrong,” or lovers who cheat, who is the more justified individual? Can we blame another adult if they lie in response to feeling fear, shame, guilt, or embarrassment? What about people who have a reduced ability to feel emotions and empathy for others – the “serial killers, psychopaths,” etc., of the world. Is their reward system different than those of use who can feel emotions in a full, healthy spectrum? Even if they are “different” than us, who are we to judge? The psychology of lying and the art of accusation are never-ending cycles depending on who, what, when and where is occurring and each individual’s perspective.
At the end of the day, as it is said in Matthews 7:1-2:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Lets take this out of a religious context and observe the words of Earl Nightingale who said: “When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself.” Gabor Mate, author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction stated, “When I am sharply judgmental of any other person, it’s because I sense or see reflected in them some aspect of myself that I don’t want to acknowledge.”
Bhattacharjee, Y. (June, 2017). Why We Lie: The Science Behind Our Deceptive Ways. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/06/lying-hoax-false-fibs-science/