Friday, April 27, 2007

The Vital Lie

The Vital Lie grows to maturity believing it is the stretcher, the bender, the twister that cultures organizations, and institutions often inscribe in some conspicuous place as a justification for questionable if not reprehensible behavior. 

If it were music, it would be the mythic anthem used to justify existence. In it's natural state, it is the lie cultures, organizations, and institutions least want to hear brought to account. The vital lie becomes truth, rendered in such degree that those who hear it are irrevocably struck uncomfortable.

The men, women, and children who tread across the pages of fiction are informed by such lies and will fight to keep them from being revealed. The men, women, and children who tread across the pages of Reality are no less informed by lies, either those they willingly accept or those they manufacture.

Put it down as defensiveness. What are They defensive about? What am I defensive about? What lie(s) will I tell about myself to keep you from intuiting the dreadful secret about me? What secret does your character nourish? Is she like the recently discovered dean at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who invented a cover story of a degree commensurate with the qualifications needed to perform a job she performed with distinction for thirty years?

The Vital Lie becomes the secret dream writ large, our secret image of our self for which we must concoct a bogus resume, invent bogus references.

The Vital Lie is the imaginary banquet we each provide for our self, sans rubber chicken, which is yet another kind of lie.

You believe we all have them, hidden away somewhere.

Does this make you a pessimist about the human condition?

Although animals sometimes lie, they do not have vital lies, only occasional lies to save face, which says more about wired-in sense of self than it does about morality.

Is it a Vital Lie to insist to our self that we will never act out the thing we fer the most.

You are reminded of these questions and answers by a book you have just read, and sent forth your review of for your weekly appearance in the Montecito Journal review. You know the answers to the questions in relationship to the book, which happens to be The Sea Lady by Margaret Drabble, wherein you have seen that the lies characters tell themselves is a major step on the way to the satisfying payoff of the long form fiction, change.

In the stunning National Book Award winner, The Echo Maker, Richard Powers takes the Vital Lie to a more remote extreme than you've seen before: Is it a Vital Lie to say you are a truthful representation of myself?

We have to do some remarkable scurrying in our art and our personal life to get the Vital Lies out into the light, where we can examine them