October 2013

* true lies

"The prince's robes and beggar's rags, Are toadstools on the miser's bags. A truth that's told with bad intent, Beats all the lies you can invent."
(William Blake)


If pride comes before the fall, what comes before pride? I am putting my money on insecurity.

If this is true, it makes parenting or emotional education of children and ourselves that much more critical. How parents recognize and respond to a child's facial and body signals generated in stress has a lasting influence on a person's future potential of pride.

Think what insecurity brings to pride: a fear that drives the need to control; emotional neglect creating attention-seeking and show-off behavior; personal aggrandizement for the glory and honor of men, to compensate for feelings of inadequacy; increased neural tone that keeps the body on alert to be always ready to compete; loneliness, which prompts a disregard of others; difficulty asking for help, so humility is counterintuitive; and a desire for power, to counteract the whole sense of weakness.

Imagine a person from infancy who experiences pressures of pain, fear, hunger, sadness, and the caregiver doesn't recognize the external signals generated by the biological storm inside the brain. Not understanding the message of need, there is either no reaction or there is a wrong response to the child's distress. Now think about these emotions happening thousands and thousands of times. It becomes easier to see how with susceptible developing minds, such infants learn they are alone and have to do everything themselves. They struggle with stress, always on guard and in competition with others, and they need to gain recognition but never feel fulfilled.

"Pride ... is competitive by its very nature ... Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others ... Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone."

This spirit of competitiveness fits nicely with the concept that the biological root of pride is insecurity. When a person is extra vigilant from lessened assurance, his or her fear mechanism for fight and flight is up-regulated to compete for survival.

(Joseph Cramer, What a child is not)

Sam Harris


"Lying is, almost by definition, a refusal to cooperate with others. It condenses a lack of trust and trustworthiness into a single act. It is both a failure of understanding and an unwillingness to be understood. To lie is to recoil from relationship."

"Of course, the liar often imagines that he does no harm as long as his lies go undetected."

"By lying, we deny others a view of the world as it is. Our dishonesty not only influences the choices they make, it often determines the choices they can make - and in ways we cannot always predict. Every lie is a direct assault upon the autonomy of those we lie to."

"One of the worst things about breaking the law is that it puts one at odds with an indeterminate number of other people. This is among the many corrosive effects of having unjust laws: They tempt peaceful and (otherwise) honest people to lie so as to avoid being punished for behavior that is ethically blameless."

"Unlike statements of fact, which require no further work on our part, lies must be continually protected from collisions with reality."

"To agree to keep a secret is to assume a burden."

"A wasteland of embarrassment and social upheaval can be neatly avoided by following a single precept in life: Do not lie."

(Sam Harris)


"A simple rule in dealing with those who are hard to get along with is to remember that this person is striving to assert his superiority; and you must deal with him from that point of view."

"A lie would have no sense unless the truth were felt dangerous."

"The greater the feeling of inferiority that has been experienced, the more powerful is the urge to conquest and the more violent the emotional agitation."

"Exaggerated sensitiveness is an expression of the feeling of inferiority."

"The truth is often a terrible weapon of aggression. It is possible to lie, and even to murder, with the truth."

"The neurotic is nailed to the cross of his fiction."

"In the investigation of a neurotic style of life, we must always suspect an opponent, and note who suffers most because of the patient's condition. Usually this is a member of the family."

"It is always easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them."

"The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well."

(Alfred Alder)