It’s not the lies themselves that anger me. It’s that we believe those lies.
Every day someone with a vested interest in something tells us something that’s not true. The CEO lies about his company’s intentions. The marketer lies about the benefits of her product. Everyone from the second grader who wants your lunch money all the way up to the President of the United States lies.
Can we blame them for lying? We’re all looking out for our best interests. It’s inevitable that some people use deception as a tactic. Many of them will perform mental gymnastics to justify these lies, assuring themselves that telling the lies is in everyone’s best interest.
We don’t have to believe them. Yet it seems that only a tiny fraction of the population expresses any skepticism.
Skepticism is not pessimism. We’re not looking at the world with a glass half empty if we don’t believe everything that everyone says. We’re simply acknowledging that people have reasons to lie, that they might even believe their own lies. It might not be part of human nature, but it is a way that humans act.
If only a few more people started expressing skepticism at the lies we’re told every day, our society would be in a better place. But as long as we continue believing lies, we’ll continue on a path where the powerful usurp a greater piece of the pie. And the pie isn’t getting any bigger.