We’ve all been lied to. Believe it or not, everyone has also lied. It is a part of life and humanity that we do not often speak of. Something inside us holds on to the idea that we are all noble at core. Values based society honors truth and fairness but that is often at odds with our interests, our feelings, and even our well-being. It is this society itself that we trust is help together by mutually beneficial agreements to uphold higher ideals, but as we have come to know in recent years it may not be an entirely trust based system. But what are we to do?
If we can not put faith in the religious, government, and corporate institutions that hold our civilization who can we rely on? This question has become particularly interesting to me as a member of the creative community. At core, the notion of citizenry implies a sense of duty not only to contribute to our culture but in some way help police it. Who then is to police those charged with maintaining order. We will browse the now famous stories of Edward Snowden and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, less for the narrative and more to seek underlying intent behind their actions. Are they rebels, heroes, anarchists? I find it impossible to answer myself what I would do in their shoes.
But deception is not all about conspiracies and threats. Sometimes it is as simple as telling a loved one a white lie to protect them. “Honey, yes you look fabulous in that tie!” ,is a common example of these little instances of the half-truths we tell to even people we care most about. We do this of course to pad their feelings but it is amazing how these are accepted lies in our society. Even a young child learns to cross his fingers behind his back when telling a fib. The question is, at what point do the consequences of these lies override the pleasant feelings they invoke? For the artist, especially the one who engages in commercial endeavors this is a pivotal and reoccurring question. We’re always asking ourselves if we are selling out, or acting from a place of integrity.
Even still, as artists we take great pride to show polished professional works that often require a but of deceptions themselves. The magic of Hollywood is an industry that’s primary tool is the deceiving of the senses. With the new proliferation of virtual reality this is taken even a step further. Since the advent of photography we have sought to create evermore convincing mediums to fool the brain. Wonder is one of the greatest assets of the entertainment world. Without a sense of realism our ability to immerse in the story is radically deteriorated.
With all these instances it becomes clear that these deceits are not only acceptable, but sometimes enjoyable, and often completely necessary as a function of our lives, relationships, and society. After this month we hope to have a better hold on when and where out boundaries lay and reach a greater understanding of the famous words of Colonel Nathan R. Jessup in A Few Good Men,
“You can’t handle the truth!”