The truth. That painful part of life that we spend so much time trying to avoid, cover up, divert or destroy. The truth always comes out. Always. Whether you choose to ignore it or not, it is still there telling you the truth. That is why your gut instinct is always right. It tells you the truth even when you try to tell yourself something else. Having said this, I am now going to discuss being ‘economical with the truth’.
I have long been a believer that there is, more often than not, absolutely no need to spell out all of the facts in a situation, no need for every detail or all of the insignificant minuscule points that so often bog down the truth; we know the truth anyway, and so to overstate it simply smacks of insensitivity. On the other hand, there is no need to be so ‘economical with the truth’ that you are lying. There are two ways of being ‘economical with the truth’ – the right way and the wrong way. Governments, religions and financial advisers do it the wrong way; they tell you total fallacies that seem to be true but are actually totally ridiculous if you scratch the surface. For example:
1. Governments try to cause concern when they tell us that population decline is disastrous to our economies. Now, this seems to be true in the short term – there will be less people to make and spend money and therefore less money to support the older generations and the infrastructure of the nation. Seems true. BUT – if you think about it, if you allow the birth rate to fall, then within one or two generations that problem will be eradicated because there will be less old people on the planet that need to be supported by the government and therefore the status quo will be resolved.
And so, I ask, why don’t governments simply encourage saving rather than spending so that old people can pay for themselves when they retire? Why don’t they build less roads but maintain them better? This would be better for our environment and health and therefore better for the medical system. Why not encourage people to have less children so that they are not stretching themselves emotionally, physically and financially to the point of bust? Why? Because the more people a nation has, the more power it maintains in the world and the more disposable its population becomes and the easier it is to use war as the answer. That is the truth. But they won’t tell you that.
2. a) Religions encourage small children to believe in an imaginary friend called God. Why? Because then they can take your money by scaring you into believing that it is what God wants. If you believe in God, then you are an fool. Yes, let me repeat that; if you believe in God then you are an fool. The existence of a God is so childish, far-fetched and fantastical and yet what I just said has probably offended some of you. But, if I said I had an invisible person living on my shoulder who told me what to do and helped me do the right thing, then you would tell me I was nuts. There you go. End of discussion. God is an untruth. And deep down, you know it.
2. b) Religions also have you follow some human entity who was ‘divine’. For example the religious doctrines who have you follow Jesus and then tell you that he was born of a virgin, walked on water, died on the cross, rose from the dead and then flew up to heaven. Come on, people. Grow up! Jesus may have existed, but he was simply a preacher, a guru, a sage, who was not born of a virgin, did not die on the cross (because crucifixion was a week long process and he was taken down after 6 hours), and therefore did not rise from the dead (he simply looked like death warmed up) and did not go ‘up’ to heaven, he was whisked away to France (or India) and was given political asylum from the Romans. End of the religious fairy tale. And if you still doubt my argument, then ask yourself this – if you were Joseph and your girlfriend got pregnant, would you believe that it was an imaginary Divine Being or your best mate who did it? The truth is that Jesus was born out of wedlock and the church covered it up, they changed history to maintain control. The truth is that Jesus was a bastard. That is the truth. Before you start thinking that it’s just christianity that thinks this way, know that every religion is filled with the same type of far-fetched ridiculousness.
3. Financial Advisers somehow make money from speculation, they take your cash and make money from guessing which companies will do well and which will fail. Now, I have one question; if they are so good at it, then why aren’t they already retired? Thank you. Makes no sense. They have as much idea as you do on what is going on, but they manage to wiggle the facts and make it look like they are dealing the truth.
So, now I have dealt with the wrong way of doing this, let us look at the right way.
In reality, the best way to apply ‘economy with the truth’ is in your personal relationships, the love and the friendships, where we make fantastical promises of forever and fidelity and we encourage our loved ones to believe in fairy tale fueled dreams of eternity – now, I am not saying it is wrong to get lost in the moment, to make the one you love feel special, to express the depths of your emotions, to enjoy the love you feel; I think these things are important, they make a life and a moment a little more exceptional; but, I do have a problem when we take it too far, when we make promises that we cannot keep, when we drag other people into our fantasy and make them waste time, money and effort on a fallacy.
Guess where I’m going with this:
Yes, marriage – the most ridiculous, pathetic, over-rated, over-populated and insecure institution ever invented; the reason that we have so many messed up kids, the reason that those messed up kids end up in messed up relationships with outrageously idyllic expectations that only serve to disappoint and destroy.
Now, the truth is what I intend to preach, and the truth is that too many marriages fail, too many promises are broken and too many relationships end because the expectations are too high. We are given the wrong end of the scale when it comes to being economical with the truth about marriage, we are told a lie, and we are led to believe in the happily ever after which is so far-fetched that it simply leads to failure. The truth is not like a movie, a movie is economical with the truth, it takes something totally improbable and makes it appear totally normal, possible and achievable.
But, if we were a little more economical with the truth in the correct way, then we could handle marriage far better, we could manage our way through the jungle, navigate the complicated oceans of emotions that we all so desperately wish to conquer, overcome the difficulties that we encounter with relationships and then we might actually end up with far better relationships that lasted far longer than most marriages; and these could all be achieved without having to go through the rigamarole of marriage in the first place.
If we were economical with the truth, if we saw things for what they are without over-stating that truth, if we realized that a lifetime of fidelity is an impossibility in a relationship, if we accepted that flirtations will always be a part of life, if we learned to not dwell on these things, then we could live truthfully without having to be fully truthful or overtly honest, we could continue our partnerships without that feeling of possession that we have been taught to desire, we could allow our partner freedom and therefore we could accept our own freedom without condition, we could, in the end, end up with a life in which knew what was going on without needing to know every detail, every problem, every issue, without lies, and without probing and problematic and penalizing questions that only lead to downfall and heartbreak for all concerned.
We know that our loved ones don’t always behave as we might like, and we know that we are guilty of the same, so, rather than seeking out the drama, let’s accept it as it is and then move forward knowing that it is sometimes best not to know everything. And when you do find out the truth, let it flow over you a little, let it be a part of the relationship, not the whole thing. Provided you both still want to be there, as partners, parents or lovers, then you move forward and accept that nothing is perfect but some things are worth fighting for.
Being economical with the truth, both as the recipient and the deliverer, is sometimes the best thing we can do to maintain our love – however, it should never be at the expense of knowing that if you are going to be economical with the truth, do it the right way.