A News Week in Review: Deception and Liars

I’ve noticed a theme running through the news in the last couple weeks. Lance Armstrong confessed to lying about taking steroids while he was cycling in the Tour-de-France. He convinced himself that he wasn’t cheating. Manti Te’o was allegedly the victim of a Catfish-like scheme where he thought he was dating a woman for three years that he met online only to find out that it was a man behind the scheme. The man had stolen pictures from a woman’s profile and created a fake profile that he used to communicate with Manti Te’o. The most recent story has been about whether Beyonce sang the National Anthem or used a pre-recorded track during the Presidential Inauguration.

The underlying theme is deception. I wouldn’t put these stories in the same category of deception, but the energy that was put into all of them involved deceiving those around them or the nation at-large. One thing that I noticed in all instances was that something was at stake in every instance. For Lance Armstrong, he had won money, gained endorsements and fame by continually winning race after race. Manti Te’o had to face immeasurable embarrassment because of his situation and his judgement would be called into question. As far as the Beyonce situation, if her voice cracked or the band sucked during the inauguration, she would never live it down. It seems that she can’t win because people are unwilling to let her get away with lip-syncing either.

Whether we like to believe it or not, there is an incentive to lie. We create them in our world. When the stakes are high and someone has the choice between losing everything or telling the truth is when the temptation to lie is the strongest. If someone has a choice between survival and telling a lie, most people will choose to lie. But, there is a price for every lie we tell.

The lies we tell not only affect the person they lie to, it also affects the liar. One lie always requires another to cover up the first lie. As the lies continue to build up, the liar must keep track of what has been said. Eventually, the liar will become paranoid. When you do something bad in your life, you project it on to the people around you. If you are lying, they must be lying too. You began to analyze the actions and words of those around you until you distrust them. Guilt and shame will set in. They become a prisoner of their own lies. A liar never gets off free. Their whole view of the world changes with each lie they tell. It becomes a hostile, uncaring, unfeeling place where no one can be trusted.  There is a large emotional price to pay.

When you lie to keep something, it’s an illusion because you won’t be able to enjoy it. It’s better to be brave and tell the truth, even when it hurts. Our goal in life is to seek the truth of who we are and our purpose in living. The biggest lies we tell are not the ones we tell others, but the ones we tell ourselves. When you lie to keep someone or something in your life, you are telling yourself that you are not worthy of it by being yourself. Lance Armstrong told himself that he couldn’t win the race without the help of steroids. Manti Te’o told himself that he wasn’t worthy of a relationship with a woman who would be by his side and be more than an online fantasy. Maybe,  Beyonce didn’t want to take the chance of what might happen to her voice if she tried to sing the song live.

We all make choices in life, but we have no control over the consequences. When you choose to lie, you have to understand that you are choosing to delay the outcome and compound the reaction. On top of what you already did, you broke trust when you lied. Trust is not something that you can easily repair or keep. So, you have to ask yourself, is it worth it?

“Just because something isn’t a lie does not mean that it isn’t deceptive. A liar knows that he is a liar, but one who speaks mere portions of truth in order to deceive is a craftsman of destruction.” ― Criss Jami