Reviving the Spirit of Existential Rebellion in a World of Propaganda, Lies, and Self Deception

Search for nothing anymore, nothing except truth.
Be very still and try to get at the truth.
And the first question to ask yourself is:
How great a liar am I?
— D. H. Lawrence, Search For Truth

Like existential freedom, honesty and truth-seeking demand a perpetually renewed commitment. No one ever fully arrives, and all of us are blown off course on the journey.  Even when we think we have reached our destination, we are often startled by the enigma of arrival, and must set sail again.  We are all in the same boat. The search for truth is a process, an experiment, an essay – a trying without end.

Yet surely it is not an exaggeration to say that most people are liars and self-deceivers.  Honesty, while touted as a virtue, is practiced far less than it is praised.  There is almost nothing that people are less honest about than their attitudes toward honesty.  Few think of themselves as dishonest, and even to hint that someone is so is received as a great insult that usually elicits an angry response.  So most people follow the advice of the character Jean-Baptiste Clamence from Albert Camus’ The Fall: “Promise to tell the truth and then lie as best you can.”  In that way you satisfy your own and others’ secret desires for deception and play-acting, and other people will love you for it.

However, it is widely accepted that political leaders and the mass media lie and dissemble regularly, which, of course, they do. That is their job in an oligarchy….

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