There was a very interesting broadcast of 20/20 last night focused on people lying about themselves in chat rooms. And it made me stop and think. Don't we all lie to one degree or another? I'm pretty sure we do.
For example, I'm probably lying to myself that my books will sell. And yet I continue to write and work of them. I often wonder why? And the answer is because I know my first novel is a good one. So what if is does not sell, I am satisfied with it. Additionally, I've not been promoting it much so it is possible that the book will sell with the right promotion.
We will wear masks too to hide from others what we don't want them to see. These masks are lies. They do not tell the whole truth of who we are or what we think or what we can do. I don't think people will ever be ready to show themselves full and raw to others.
But the real issue around lying in many cases is perception because what many people believe as true is based on what they experience. If you see someone shoot someone guess, you assume that the person doing the shooting may have killed the other people. You are no idea if the shooting was staged for your benefit or maybe there are blanks in the gun.
The 20/20 program wasn't about these kinds of lies. It was about posing as someone you are not. So a middle-aged man becomes a 20-year old marine. A middle-aged woman becomes a 19-year old model. These lies are not open to interpretation since it is hard to dispute the fact of age or occupation.
This sort of lying -- to escape the dreary reality of life -- has gone on well before the internet. Con artists have always posed as someone they are not. Shades of Professor Harold Hill. It is just earlier to pose as someone else and often it is earlier to debunk the fraud too. It's just we get caught up in the online experience and assume everything we read out there is true. It isn't. We need to remember that.
A good bit of skepticism goes a long way.