Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Art of Lie Spotting or "Yes, you've been lied to...and you probably liked it"

Hi everyone,

Well today, I'm going to make you work a little. Before continuing to read the rest of the post, I would like for you to watch the video below. It is a very interesting TED Talk with Pamela Meyer, titled How to Spot a Liar.

And, go. :D

Now I came across this video when I was doing research for something else and came across a YouTuber that I follow covering this very subject as well. I thought this would be especially interesting since - here in the United States - we are going through yet another Dog & Pony & Clown Show. Or what some also still know as being the presidential elections.
Another reason I wanted to start to talking about this is because it DOES have much to do with what is often discussed here on this blog, sometimes on my YouTube channel, and even a little with what I write in my fictional stories.

See, here's the thing. We live in a society where we hold truth in a most high regard. We often say that honesty is the best policy and that we would rather cold, hard honest truth than be told a pretty lie. But the real truth is that we are lied to everyday. And everyday, we are willing participants in those lies.

To paraphrase Meyer in her TED talk, there has to be at least two active participants in order for a lie to work. Meaning the one doing the lying and the one being lied to. And as Meyer states: if you fell for a lie, regardless of who it is from,  it is because you were willing to be lied to. And here are a couple examples of how we allow ourselves to be lied to:

Since the presidential elections for 2016 is underway (and here is also where I will ask you to do a little work), I want you to think long and hard about what you want to hear from your political candidates. Now whether you are liberal, conservative, independent, I don't really care. But think about where are you the most vulnerable? What really grinds your gears? And what would be the one thing a political candidate need to say in order to 100% sway your vote to him or her?
(Now I will add if you are a reader from outside the US, you can also participate by imagining the same thing of a prime minister or any other leader you would be electing.)

Really think about that and let it sink into your brain.

Now with that in mind, imagine one political candidate that got up on the podium and stated the following:

"The country is in a state of turmoil and distress. While some things are starting to look up, there are many other problems that I'm not even sure we can effectively get to in four years, much less make so much as a scratch in it. But I will certainly try. However, much of the responsibility is also going to be yours. Yours to try and turn your own lives around and learn to be self-sufficient again. And through doing that, we can perhaps also learn to be decent human beings again.  It will be a long, hard process though and without everyone taking responsibility for themselves and their own actions, I'm not sure we can even start rebuilding."

Now, candidate number 2 takes the stand:

"This is a great nation and you all are great. And I promise that in my four years as president, I will put an end to problems like racism, sexism, homophobia, and every other type of 'ism and phobia you can think of. And I will see to it that every last persons needs and wants are met without anyone having to lift a finger. Everyone will prosper under my presidency!"

Okay. Now which candidate do you think would get cheers, pomp, and circumstance, and which one would be booed off the podium?  Of course, people say they want transparency and honesty in their candidates, even if that transparency involves that voter hearing what he or she may not necessarily want to hear. Hey, at least we would all know what's really up, right? But when it comes down to who they vote for when they step into the booth, what is that voter most likely to lean toward?

And did you notice how burger and fast food establishments often use swimsuit models in their ads?

Meanwhile, logic would tell you that if these girls ate like this every day, the likelihood of them maintaining that look would be pretty nil.

But we are fed (pun not intended...well, maybe sort of...I do like puns) these types of advertisements everyday. And of course, many seek to soley blame some sort of patriarchal system, but the fact of the matter is that these companies continue to make such advertisements in order to sell their product for a very top secret reason. It's because...get ready for it...such tactics WORK. Whether we want to admit or acknowledge it or not. That is also why everyone from advertisers to politicians are constantly collaborating with Hollywood celebrities. Sure you might say that seeing Beyonce or Chuck Norris endorse a certain candidate has no effect on who you vote for, but even if that much is true, tactics such as that do work in other ways. Perhaps seeing Beyonce actively support your candidate of choice offers some validation in your own choice, or if you aren't already a fan of hers, it might make you want to respect her "at least a little more." Because people tend to have this strange habit of idolizing and idealizing those who are famous and have their faces all over the media.
The thing is that humans are - overall - very tribal (and very territorial...but I will get to that in another post). Most like doing things in packs, and the need for humans to feel as though they are a part of something big or part of 'the group' is constantly being utilized by our media. From a young age, we are conditioned to fear being the lone wolf. And why not? Don't you want to be one of the 'cool kids'?

Yes, we are lied to everyday and yes, we probably like it. Learning how to spot when you are being lied to is not necessarily meant for you to simply say "aha! gotcha!" But what it can do is give you the ability to arm yourself and make yourself less vulnerable. Because you are at your most vulnerable when you are being told what you want to hear. And it can actually be the beginning of bettering ourselves and society.
As I said earlier, there are so many ways that lie spotting ties into much of what I not only discuss on this blog, but also what goes on around us in our everyday lives. And it can go further down the rabbit hole. Therefore, I will leave it here for now, but watch for the subject of lie spotting to be woven in to many future blogposts. :)

Until then, I leave with this video in which Paul Eckman discusses the science behind being able to read faces:


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