In the Semitic tradition, it is far worse to lie than to be deluded.
Ignorance is bleak but deceit is bleaker.
To be deluded is a blindness we can sometimes do little about.
To lie is an act of ill-will against humanity; it is an attack upon the real. And the real is all we have to build on.
So a line is drawn between being wrong and telling a lie. They are not the same.
As Meister Eckhart said at his trial in Avignon, ‘I may be wrong – but I cannot lie.’
He drew a line as well.
Perhaps the most depressing aspect of our present political leadership, (and I use the term loosely) is the determined use of the lie.
Lying is not a verb, an activity; it’s a noun – a policy.
The Trump handbook is well-thumbed in Westminster; you can literally lie beyond belief; and some are happy enough for now.
Black is white; failure is success and cronyism is simply ‘getting the job done’.
For Tory supporters, if the lie helps the cause, then all is well and good. With a view to the polls, they chose a well-documented liar to lead them.
If the lie gets them elected, then all is well and good. And they are hardly alone in this death camp.
Most of us, in my cracked experience, whether political or religious, don’t mind a lie if it furthers our own cause or faction.
We laugh it off with a guilty smirk or perhaps attempt threadbare justification.
‘Well, its not as if the others don’t do it as well!’
For others, though, the slow drip, drip, drip of misdirection and untruth kills; and brings the rage and despair that can dismantle energy for good.
‘What’s the point?’ they ask, brought low by the deep poison of falsehood. It not just democracy lies kill; it’s the human spirit. Beneath every lie is deep cynicism; such a bleak foundation.
To be wrong is human; to lie is evil, by which I mean, it is against life. Healing can only start with the truth.
So we are mindful of the boundaries between delusion and lie; mindful of when one becomes the other.
And wish for more like Eckhart, who may be wrong but cannot lie. And maybe it must start with me.
The lie is a different land.