2 readers online now  |  69 million page views

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies...

Reader comment on item: Where the Nazi "Big Lie" Endures
in response to reader comment: Truth

Submitted by Farid H. (Germany), May 2, 2007 at 20:06

What's really depressing, is that people often prefer to be lied to than to be confronted with the truth; a truth that would force them to review and adjust their opinions. They'd rather ferociously cling to ideas they're used to, than to consider that they may be mistaken, or worse, having systematically been lied to like the lemmings they are. This would be too much truth for them to endure, so "it simply can't be true."

Every culture, every nation state, and every tribe (people) is built upon a foundation of common ideals, taboos, and "truths"; not all of the latter necessarily accurate. Were I in a provocative mood; I'd even say that every nation is built upon a mixed foundation of truths and lies. Substitute "myths" for "lies" to make it less harsh.

You ask if truth will prevail over barbarism. Of course truth will always prevail. But I'm very skeptical if truth alone will be enough to deflect barbarism. Considering how difficult it is to convince people that their "truth" is indeed merely a propaganda-induced collective self-sustaining hallucination (like e.g. the dismal view most Arabs hold of Israel today, or the dismal view most Germans held of the Jews back then), I'd bet that they'd collectively (save a small minority of decent people) turn a deaf ear to the truth. Unless some catharsis happens to forcefully break their habits.

This barbarism is like a mental disease; but not one that befalls individuals. It's a mental disease of a whole society, culture, tribe... Sadly there's no cure to handle this, but to forcefully turn off the indoctrination machine. And even this is far from enough, because this collective hallucination is self-sustaining: with enough people believing something, therefore holding a meme alive, it's nearly impossible to fully eradicate it. It can be pushed back though; but it takes whole generations to phase out old ideas and introduce new ones.

So, will Civilization prevail over barbarism? I sure hope so; but deep within, I'm not very confident. Why? Our civilized societies are only superficially civilized: civilization is just a tiny eggshell; it's hard enough to withstand moderate shocks, but it can also get cracks and break. The horrors of the Shoah being the most prominent example of this eclipse and breakdown of civilization. But civilization is also quite resilient: after the chaos, civilization emerges again from the ashes. Not necessarily the same civilization that broke down; but something new, with built-in immunity against that which destroyed its predecessors.

Civilizations too are living in a darwinistic world: they compete for survival, and mutate and try to adapt to reality. Only the fittest civilizations survive (for a while). Are we in such a phase of history (because of the islamistic threat)? I don't think so. Our civilization is quite stable nowadays. It could get worse once the big wars for drinking water start, but all of us here are old enough not to see that happen in our lifetimes. And maybe those wars could be deflected with technological advances?

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies... by Farid H.

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List
eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2020 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)