The Contradictions of Genius, Part l.
On Lying
An analysis of the relationship between lying and reality
As man separated from chimps we began to distinguish ourselves in a few primary ways — the most notable being our ability to deceive ourselves. See, deception is a precondition for confusion, and without confusion there can be no innovative ideas. For, to be deceived is to hold a view that contradicts reality, and to be confused is to recognize that there is a contradiction, and to innovate is to reconcile contradictions that no one has before you.
So, what is a lie, exactly?
A lie is any statement espoused with the intention of contradicting reality. For obvious reasons, behaving in ways, or propagating behaviors that, contradict reality, is unsustainable, counterproductive, and maladaptive. No positive outcomes can be brought about by continuous deviations from what is real. No matter how harmless, or necessary they seem in the moment, any statement that is untrue is by definition anti-existence.
If deception is in fact needed for innovation to occur, then shouldn't lying serve some sort of adaptive function?
No. The liar is not deceived about what is real; they only propagate deception. Whatever seeming innovation that occurs from the reconciling of the contradictions that lying creates, can only serve to return to the state that existed before the lie was told.
But if not all lies are equally false, then wouldn't a lie that is espoused for the purpose of replacing a more harmful lie, be to some extent adaptive?
All deviations from the truth are of equal value, in that they inevitably lead to nothing. Whatever sequence of falsities, espoused for the purpose of eventually culminating into an adaptive statement, or action, are merely sets of lies told for the purpose of eventually reaching a truthful end. And given that not lying is always an option, telling a lie can never be the most adaptive choice.
Largely, what separates humans from other animals is our ability to abstract. Nearly all of the qualities that we regard as fundamental to the human experience are direct byproducts of the sense of self that the ability to abstract creates. Indeed, we likely developed the sense of an "I" so that there would always be a contradiction for us to reconcile — always a reason for us to further our adaptations to our environment, and our adaptations of our environments to us. But alongside the inherent contradictions that we call ourselves, often comes the belief that one can simply propagate contradictions without any recourse. Insofar as I can tell, there has never been a more common justification for lying than the belief that the repercussions of the lie will somehow be better than if the lie were never told — but as was demonstrated earlier, the claim implicit to this belief contradicts reality. And to innovate is to produce the solutions to contradictions, not the contradictions themselves. Moreover, given the human body's proclivity for habituation, as one continues to lie and become more oriented towards producing contradictions, their capacity for producing for innovative work should also diminish. So not only does lying decrease the span that the human species is likely to survive — to some extent, it also makes you dumber. Moreover, ponderings on the relation between innovation and lying inevitably beg the question: "do geniuses lie?" Or, more specifically,
What is a genius, exactly?

Text Author: Antjuan Finch

Published: September 7th, 2018

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