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Professions of an Ontophile

The beliefs of an unbeliever.

11.

d.s

"Lies wouldn't exist but for believers"

If someone tells a lie, and there's nobody around to hear it, does it make a false impression?

If someone tells a lie, and no one believes it, is the teller actually lying?

Usually lies are believed to be true because they're not recognized as lies. Yet sometimes we suspect a lie, but choose to believe it anyway. Then there's the lies we tell ourselves to avoid a discomforting truth. Also, ever notice that lying is only ever punished when the lie is identified as such in the context of truth; but believing a lie, recognized or not, inevitably leads to some form of suffering? In all cases, to be effective as a misrepresentation of reality, a lie must be believed—be accepted as truth.

In short, belief enables lying.

Though difficult to admit, typically we rank our beliefs ahead of reality as a clever way of insisting we know what's real. "If I believe it, it has to be real." The firmer the belief, the harder we pretend that we know better than reality. And if we decide to believe something because someone else said it's true, we're nonetheless attempting to supplant truth with belief—now on behalf of a would-be liar. "If 'we' (the plural form of 'I') believe it, than it must be true." And we can uphold this psychogenic tautology until of course reality comes along in the form of suffering and proves the belief is empty of the truth—or counter to it. Left holding a harmful belief, it's easier to scapegoat some liar that sold it to us than admit to a bad cognitive investment. But a mind that consistently looks to reality instead of belief for the truth isn't such an eager lie enabler.

As we favor reality over belief, we aren't so easily deceived nor frequently punished for misrepresenting reality in our own minds, and our lives will go better. Reality, which never lies, guarantees it.

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