“The Santa Claus Lie –
A Gateway Drug to Collective (Self) Deception”
By Cognitive Dissonance
“I spend what some might imagine is an inordinate amount of time thinking about lies and self deception. But from my point of view it is a fundamental flaw that cripples us as individuals and as a society. Lying and lies permeate our culture from top to bottom in ways we often never perceive and rarely wish to see. Essentially it is the foundational building block that supports all that is wrong with us and why we continuously repeat our oftentimes disastrous personal and societal mistakes. Deception, self and societal, is the fatal flaw, something we have come to call ‘being human’.
Do as I Say, Not as I Do: Consider for a few moments how often we as parents come face to face with the sometimes embarrassing problem of explaining to our young children why we tell public and private lies, but that they should not lie to us. How our telling a lie can actually be good under certain circumstances, such as shielding our self and others from a painful (self) truth or a blow to (our) their ego. What is often unspoken is that we lie to others in order to be lied to by others.
The odd thing is that if you were to ask random people on the street if they believed themselves to be honest you would get answers along the lines of “Yes”, “It depends”, “For the most part” or “Most of the time”. I suspect my readers have answered the question in a similar vein; I know this author has. We really do believe we are (basically) honest because we have willingly (eagerly?) deconstructed the dividing line between ‘honest’ and ‘dishonest’ and reformed it into a soft squishy malleable moving target somewhere near the center.
In other words we ‘know’ that stealing $1,000 from our employer or family is dishonest, but taking some pens and paper from the office or an old mechanics socket set from gramps………well, that isn’t really ‘stealing’ per se, just sort of borrowing on a semi permanent basis. Unless of course we want to believe that they ‘deserve’ to be stolen from, thus righting some previous wrong. Then all bets are off.
Seven Billion and Counting: The examples of personal and social dishonesty are as numerous and varied as the people who practice (self) deception, which pretty much means all of us. And while just about anyone can conduct a reasonably honest philosophical discussion about self and social dishonesty, few of us would reveal our deepest darkest secrets to even our closest friends, family or spouse because those secrets often revolve around overt or covert dishonesty, even if only to ourselves.
And then there is the self deception that we aren’t consciously aware of, clouded by both denial and social programming. While my previous articles have discussed denial ad nauseam I wish to focus a bit on the social programming aspect promoted mostly by herd behavior and alluded to by the title of this article.
I have long felt that religion was (and in many respects still is) a gateway drug to rampant self deception and public enabling of the cultural lie. Please understand that I am talking about manmade and man administered ‘religion’ and not about whether or not there exists a supreme being. But as the world’s population slowly drifts away from blind religious obedience and begins to recognize the inherent hypocrisy of those who promote religious fervor and division (my God way or the highway) another mind control mechanism has risen to take its place... narcissistic consumerism based upon the lie of endless resources and ever increasing debt.
I propose that some of, if not most of, our lying behavior is programmed into us culturally by social acceptance of ‘harmless’ self deceptions such as the Santa Claus lie. The key is that the lie must be perceived as harmless or as causing less harm (a wonderfully relative term that can be made to accommodate any lie) than the ‘truth’ might cause to the victim of the lie. From that point on our own internal psychological rationalization and justification process takes over and we reform the lie into a (relatively) harmless half truth/white lie in our own ‘eyes’. Or at least a lie softened enough for most of us to stomach.
Of course this entire process is infinity more complex than I have just outlined and yet amazingly it is that simple. And it all starts when we as very young children begin to receive our own personalized imprinting courtesy of our initial programmers, our parents and primary care givers who themselves have been, and continue to be, imprinted by society at large and their inner social circle of personal peer review. From there it trickles down into our inner consciousness for final fine tuning and assimilation.
Infinite Creativity: We are all individual conscious entities engulfed within a herd of like minded individuals, interconnected yet separate, seemingly born without an operating manual yet infinitely capable of self expression, creativity and inspiration beginning at a very young age. We are born into this reality as individuals, yet we spend our entire lives trying to be just like the rest of the herd, a product of centuries (millennium?) of conditioning to ignore the innate knowledge and wisdom that springs from within in order to blindly follow the herd and the alpha directly ahead.
Seen from this perspective, something like The Santa Claus Lie has great utility in the conditioning process. Something that started out innocent enough, a tale of Saint Nichols, is slowly hijacked and commercialized by entities who wish to condition us in a way that creates ‘demand’ for products and services, many of which we do not need or even desire except for the fact that others in the herd are conditioned to believe they ‘need’ them, thus we do.
I find it endlessly fascinating that in ancient indigenous cultures the shaman or healer’s purpose was not just to administer the natural healing arts to his local tribe members, but to teach and guide the tribe to be emotionally and psychologically healthy and fit. Call it original sin, call it ‘being human’, call it herding behavior, but the shaman understood these self destructive tendencies and worked to help his people overcome this strange attraction in order to grow and blossom as powerful reality creators.
Intraspecific Kleptoparasites: Yet the modern sociopathic man, essentially parasitic individuals who present themselves as our so called ‘leaders’ and thus the ultimate in Intraspecific Kleptoparasites, (Kleptoparasitism may be intraspecific (the parasite is the same species as the victim) or interspecific (the parasite is a different species) make every effort possible to exploit and enflame the very human flaws ancient shaman tried to heal. At the very least the shaman helped the tribe be aware of, and thus better able to defend themselves from, their own psychological and emotional flaws.
Seen from the perspective of the larger battle between reality creating humanity and those who wish to subvert and control humans for the parasite’s own benefit, one must question everything and anything that presents itself as (innocent) cultural expressions.
We tend to think that large population ‘control’ is nearly impossible because there are so many different human (re)actions to control. The key to understanding how this is done is to recognize that subverted humanity is perusing what it believes is its own self interest rather than that of the parasites. Thus total control is not needed, just a deceptive nudge here and there to move the willingly compliant herd along in the general direction desired by the Intraspecific Kleptoparasites.”