Turning off the Lie Machine

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“Turn off the lie machine” is a brilliant slogan I came across in the wonderful Anne Lamott book Grace (Eventually) – Thoughts on Faith, in the essay “Bastille Day.” She explains that her Dad had published a book in 1967 called The Bastille Day Parade, in which he’d had “protesters carry signs that say ‘Turn Off the Lie Machine.’” (This essay is awesome! I just re-read it, & it made my day!! It’s brilliant, compassionate, wise & so funny. It makes me want to grab Anne Lamott & give her a great big hug. Thank goodness there are people like this woman on the planet!!! Perhaps there is hope for us????)

“Turn off the lie machine.” Isn’t it brilliant???

I can think of lots & lots of corporate & political & government types I’d love to see “turn off the lie machine.” Of course, I’d most especially like to see the nuclear industry turn off the lie machine (especially right now, in the wake of the nuclear disaster in Japan…).

But it sure isn’t just “bigshots” who need to stop telling whoppers.

We all do.

At least, that’s what I think.

I know I personally have led a very privileged life. (I was born & raised & have always lived in Canada, btw.)

Unlike many millions of people around the world, there is so much I personally have always been able to “take for granted.”

Privilege, I’ve noticed, seems to lead to feelings of entitlement. We begin to feel entitled to the “goodies” & the privileges. As though we are owed these things.

And goodness me, on that note, could I ever go off on a very long tangent! But I won’t. I’m going to keep myself very reined in here…

I would dearly love for all of us – especially those of us who’ve led & lead lives of privilege – to muse deeply & honestly on “the lie machine.”

Because I think we are all (certainly pretty much everyone I can think of) implicated in it.

I am, for sure!

I own a car, & every time I turn it on, I’m taking part in a lie that says I am entitled to use a lot of the earth’s resources & contribute to climate change in this way (far as I can figure, dear Reader, there is no such thing as “ethical oil.”)

When I consume too much electricity, or fossil fuels in any of their myriad modern forms, I am helping keep the nuclear plants (that I hate) open.

You see what I’m saying?

That darn lie machine is all over the place… isn’t it??

I think it would be very very useful for all of us to stop bullshitting ourselves. & each other.

I heard someone say recently that he wants to move into a more sustainable kind of living arrangement, but doesn’t want to give up any of his customary “comforts.” As though he is entitled to those comforts – some of which no doubt contribute to the climate change that causes flooding & storms & destruction in other parts of the world (the blog post ‘What is a person to DO??’ references the film ‘Climate change: does anybody care if Bangladesh drowns?’). I know my own “comforts” do…

I think we do all face, in the days to come, the loss of material “comforts” we have taken for granted.

I suspect it may even be true that our species has a terminal cancer. And I sometimes ask myself, does it really matter when one has a terminal diagnosis, if one casts off the lies one has always believed in, & has some sort of spiritual epiphany – even at the very last minute?

& for me, the answer to that question is, “Yes. It does.” (I don’t know why I believe this. But for some reason, I do.)

So. I’ll go on trying to tell the truth. & encouraging corporate pillagers of ALL stripes to “turn off the lie machine.”

And also encouraging myself to turn off the one I’m hitched up to – as in, recognizing my own lies & hypocrisies.

And I think until we all work at turning off the lie machine, the lies will just keep on & on & on & on & on & on.


p.s. truth & freedom go together, btw. Very cool song about that...

Quote of the day with this post: “Lies are infinite in number, and the truth so small and singular.” – from The Lacuna, a fascinating novel by Barbara Kingsolver (pg. 247)