Stop Lying!

Nathaniel once said "Here is my two-word prescription for personal growth: stop lying!" Or something very close to that, anyway. Here is how I interpreted this.

Stop Lying!


Stop lying about your version of the nearly universal experience that damaged you as it has much of humanity: your childhood. The unfortunate truth is that our species' child-rearing practices have not caught up with our relatively rapid evolution: we have transitioned from a savage, "kill or be killed" type of existence to an infinitely more successful (at least potentially) type of civilization based on specialization and exchange. But most of us go through our "formative years" with much more emphasis put on teaching us the superstitions and rituals specific to our particular tribe than developing our own capabilities as individuals.

(Actually it's more complicated than this: our progress as a species has been hijacked by that small group that wants to live by exploiting others; the various institutions that keep the older, primitive types of societies in place are a result of this group's ongoing efforts. More on this in a later chapter.)

Anger and fear

Stop lying about the combination of anger, fear, and mistrust of others caused by your early experiences. Your anger is a perfectly understandable reaction to having your spirit broken in the name of supporting your society's superstitions (aka culture). Your fear makes perfect sense -- like all living creatures, you have the fundamental instinct for survival, but your unique tool for survival, your mind, has been intentionally weakened. Now what?

And the mistrust of others? The same people on whom you were 100% dependent for life itself wound up becoming the source of almost unbearable pain as your independent spirit encountered and was weakened (if not broken entirely) by their need to preserve the fiction that all is well. Of course you are suspicious of others.

Other People

Stop lying about the nature of your relationship to other people. Some part of you, deep down in your reptilian brain, knows that the idea of pre-existing obligations from others to you -- or vice versa -- is fundamentally and irreparably as illogical as dropping a stone and expecting it to rise, not fall. Human interactions become much more understandable when the myth of pre-existing obligations is removed from the equation. But doing so usually requires revisiting those early, exquisitely painful memories of our own subjugation -- which most of us really, really don't want to do.

So we lie.