Would it be an exaggeration for me to say that I dread these Petri Dish essays? No... it would not. Some might think that Smoking Mirrors is over the top but that’s because a lot of people equate the truth with the spiritual equivalent of jock itch. They don’t mind hearing it but they wish it would go away afterwards and not require all that involuntary scratching. Then again, a lot of people believe that if they live between the toes of the world that all that bacterial activity will feed and care for them even if it’s feeding on them and ...you wind up with an osmotic athlete’s foot environment.
I may not be batting a thousand where the truth is concerned but I’m pretty good at spotting lies. Lies don’t compute... that’s the bottom line. Some of us have this condition. I assure you that this condition is nowhere near universal. Some of us have this condition that causes a severe irritation when we hear what appears to be a lie and our mind can’t help but endlessly probe at it like a wounded tooth. On a positive note, after awhile, those of us with this condition will manufacture a pearl; the philosophers stone... something... something.
Or... is it the other way round where the truth gets inside and begins to irritate all of the lies and eventually the lies become compressed the way coal eventually turns into a diamond? I have no idea about the process since I know the process is carried out by an oversight agency and we the recipients are only following along with Milton’s statement that, “They also serve who only stand and wait.” And we probably have to go blind to see that too.
You’ll note that you were required to make certain leaps of association in the preceding paragraphs so those of you who come directly to the main location to read can continue along and those reading this at other locations will note the hanky waving from the ship and please accept our commiserations and enjoy the open bar at the dock. It will remain open until the ship sails out of sight.
Lying is the sort of art that can only be truly mastered by those accustomed to telling the truth. If you don’t get what that means it probably means that you are one of those liars whose lies aren’t as effective as you would like them to be and that’s unlikely to improve. The ego seems to be somewhat involved in hampering this as well. There’s an inclination to imagine that you are dancing with the stars but you’re really dancing with Heather Mills.
The ordinary liar is equipped with a de rigueur blind spot that causes them to believe that their lies are universally believed when some people are merely being polite. Usually the people believing these liars are liars themselves and they all play in the tone deaf symphony that weaves the distorted courses of their lives. It’s like gardening. You can sow flowers and you can weed. You can sow flowers and weeds and weed. You can sow just weeds and some flowers will grow anyway and a point comes where you can’t tell the difference.
I read somewhere that 500 tons of dust falls on the Earth every day. If you want to experiment with the reality of dust falling, take a mirror and stand it outside somewhere and just leave it there. Eventually the image reflecting ability of the mirror will be lost. If I were speaking literally and being of a philosophical bent, I might wonder if the image seeking reflection wasn’t lost too. You see what I’m getting at? Polishing the mirror certainly helps with the comprehension end and in a spiritual sense, meditation accomplishes this. One way or another, it’s a good idea to clean the mirror, especially when the mirror is a metaphor.
I’m one of those people who like to practice something to see what the results are. Sometimes there is great advantage to be had in doing something new. Aleister Crowley- at a certain point in his career- would cut himself with a razor blade every time he said the word, “I”. I’m not suggesting you do this but he had a good point and it served him well in arriving at a particular state of consciousness where he could accomplish supernatural events. Alas... in his particular case the final results were mixed. I like to take a day and watch everything I say and see where I catch myself lying... shading the truth etc. Then you can study the situation on a deeper level and observe what caused you to lie.
Sometimes we lie out of habit. Sometimes we lie out of laziness. There are a lot of reasons why we lie. Many times we lie because we don’t know what we are talking about in the first place. Often we lie because we are after something that we’re not sure the truth will provide. I like to look at why that is too. I like to take something and look more closely at it until I see something else which leads to something else. For instance... take two opposite poles like hot and cold or good and evil. These poles create another pole and that pole winds up in opposition to another pole and so and so on. This can become exceedingly complex but it can also become very illuminating as well.
There are a lot of reasons given why a person shouldn’t lie. “It’s wrong” they say; which doesn’t stop ‘them’ from doing it either. We are told it is harmful. We are told that it is a sign of weak character and we’ve told a lot of things about this behavior that nearly everyone participates in every day. The real reason that you shouldn’t lie is that you always have to lie to yourself first and that is akin to suicide. If you lie to yourself you are going to be in a world of hurt sooner or later. Truth inevitably informs every lie of its presence and anyone connected to it and... depending on the degree of the investment... on that will depend the degree of suffering that attends it.
You’re probably wondering at this point where the hammer and tongs are; this being a Petri Dish offering. Maybe we should think of the velvet hammer in this case. Even a kiss can kill. When you tell the truth- inasmuch as that is possible in the medium of words- your words acquire power. You can see this in your own life... whether you are telling the truth or not, you can certainly see it in the lives of those who do tell the truth... even if their words only attain a greater meaning once they are gone.
Lying... like those endlessly replicating poles has the sure capacity to create a host of negative conditions that the liar generally is unable to associate with the compulsion to lie. There’s a bit of a conundrum here because we see that many liars are extremely successful in the world and they get that way due to the lies they have told in relation to the amount of people who hear and believe them. Thinking this is going to endure and thinking one could do worse than emulate them is short sighted. The opportunity of the moment carries no promise of perpetuity.
Many old liars are lying on or near their deathbeds as I speak. David Rockefeller comes to mind as does Henry Kissinger. You might say that they beat the game. Nothing has happened to them has it? Some imagine that nothing ever will. That sounds like a lie to me. It sounds like the truth to others. Like Pinochet and the vast procession of liars before him they will slip the knot just as Bernie Madoff expects to... just as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney expect to.
What I have observed is that the pursuit of the truth opens doors into other worlds. Lies do this too. We enter into these worlds and in both cases we may miss the moment of entry but we will not long be unaware of the changes in circumstance and terrain. Well, I’ve come to two and a third MS Word pages and so I must bind you adieu. We’ll be seeing each other again or for the first time here or somewhere else depending upon what it was we did and said that caused us to arrive there.
'Fade Away' is track no. 3 of 10 on Visible's 2006 album 'Songwriter'
Lyrics (pops up)