Monday, April 23, 2018

Happy Tenth Anniversary


I'm a bit belated, but I do want to celebrate the fact that this blog has just reached its tenth anniversary. Think of it… ten years of posts… some good, some bad, and some ugly. Some have even been readable. As for the number, I am approaching 6,000 posts.

To celebrate the occasion, I will repost my first post, a short philosophical disquisition about lying. It might not seem to be a blinding insight, but, take it for what it’s worth.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride, regardless of when you hopped on the train. I am deeply appreciative of those who have kept up with the blog and who have contributed to the lively discussions in the comments section.

Expressions of support, in the form of donations, are always welcome, even more so on this anniversary. Please use the Donate button tot he left of this post.

Here is my first post, reprinted verbatim, called: Why Lie?

I cannot guarantee that this story really happened. Call it apocryphal, if you like.

A student walks into a philosophy final exam and looks up at the blackboard to read the question he is going to answer. That question is: Why?

While he is considering his answer another student walks up to the professor, turns in his bluebook, and walks out of the room.

The professor opens it and instantly judges that the student should receive an A. The bluebook contains two words: Why not?

So, ask yourself this: Why not lie? This might help us to understand the recent incident where a much-admired politician got caught in a whopper of a lie.

Some people lie to gain an advantage. Some tell small lies to avoid offending friends and family. Others lie because they are afraid of the truth. Still others lie because they can get away with it.

Finally, there are people who lie because they are rewarded for it.

In that case, why not lie?

Imagine that you get caught in a lie. Some people are appalled, but others come forth to defend you. They say that it was only a minor distortion, that it was not relevant or germane, that you were in touch with a higher truth, and that those who denounce you have a darker purpose.

And besides, who is to say that lying is not therapeutic. Isn't a liar merely rewriting his or her life story. Isn't that what therapy is all about?

Of course, you might have to own up to your lies. If your supporters have been properly acculturated they will see this as a challenge to their capacity to offer unconditional love.

As you bask in the glow of this impassioned defense, you might say to yourself that lying is not so bad after all. Perhaps fiction is closer to the truth than mere facts. Besides, if lying has brought you fame, fortune, and power... why not lie?

Why not, indeed?

10 comments:

Freddo said...

Have been enjoying the blog for quite some time. Thanks for the insights. Amazing and humbling how much quality content is made freely available if you know where to look for it and/or are lucky enough to stumble across it.

Unknown said...

Your site is one of the few that I read every day! Congratulations!

Ares Olympus said...

I certainly can't imagine the devotion needed to do a daily public blog for 10 years. Congratulations!

The most troublesome lies to me are the ones where you're not aware you're lying since your conscience never gets involved. Richard Feynman talked about these two levels of dishonesty in science...
http://calteches.library.caltech.edu/51/2/CargoCult.htm
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool. ... After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that."

On the other side, the quote "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt" may have it backwards since speaking up allows the possibility your biases and blindspots to become exposed. Of course sometimes the reason we speak out is to reject the opposite which we don't want to be true, and to the degree we can seem to convince others, we can strengthen our denial.

Sam L. said...

I read everyday, too, but it's one of about 24-30, which is "few" considering just how many there are. I can't recall when I started here. My memory is not what it used to be, if it ever was.

ted said...

Congrats! Great blog always!

whitney said...

Congratulations. I also really enjoyed your book.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I found this blog.
James

Pete the Streak said...

Daily reader, but rare commenter. Thanks for all you do, and the common sense and sanity you provide.

David Foster said...

Congraturations!

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Congratulations, Stuart. I am very happy for you. You have an outstanding blog because you are an exceptional writer. Thank you!