Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Vital Lie

Most cultures and many organizations have one or more ingrained traditions which do not withstand a rigorous exposure to examination.  These traditions fit such definitions as propaganda, social manipulation, and the one you most often heard used during various stages of your life, The Vital Lie.

This instrument, The Vital Lie, is the cultural equivalent of a car wash, giving itself the shining patina of respectability while at the same time protecting a particular ruling tip of the organizational pyramid.

Cultures and organizations develop vital lies for reasons of self-preservation, or they believe they have invented these lies to protect values of the greater good for the greater number.  In reality, the lies supplement the power structure of a ruling class.

You needed time to think about the ramifications of some of the vital lies you heard, before you could connect these inventions with the lies that are story.  Most cultures have a range of mythic tales in which the creation of their culture began.

Difficult for you to think of story without giving some passing memory and tribute to the early tales taken to be actual.  Some of the earliest of these in your memory go as far back as the middle years of the fourteenth century, when a writer who may have been a woman wrote an account of the travels of a knight errant, based entirely on imagination and speculation.  This project reminds you of the earlier years in your reading past when you were drawn to tales of knighthood errantry in the mistaken belief than errant meant wrong, thus a wrong knight or a knight who would commit a wrong, then set about attempting to correct it.

You will get on this citation tomorrow, because it is important to you, and because the source is not at hand because you are at this moment errant at 11:15 of a pleasant evening, seated in your car, writing on your laptop, connected to the Internet with your cell phone, which has a wi-fi hot spot.

This much is true.  Vital Lies and stories have some grounding in actuality and logic, but for the most part are inventions, each with a specific agenda.  You will expand on these, no doubt by tomorrow.  But mark this:  Vital Lies and stories are inventions meant to protect visions of Reality and human behavior.  They have some overlap, but not enough to cause any gray areas; each is specific in its intent and in the source of truth from which it is derived.  A story is one kind of lie in the sense of it being an invention, a creation the writer is in fact striving to make seem true.  A Vital Lie is a condition those in power cannot tolerate in those of lesser social orders, an alteration of truth that has been made to assume the gravitas of a respected conventional wisdom.

Stories, if they are successful, go a long way toward undermining the Vital Lie and those who concoct it.

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