Monday, March 29, 2010

Lying Revisited.

Now, where was I? I believe I was talking about the one example that is at the very heart of the film's troubles (note: the picture doesn't have anything to do with the scene I am talking about, it's just to remind you about the film). Now, during the time Mark and Anna were together, he told her a story about his father... a thief.

As audience members we were privy to seeing the story played out before our eyes. Mark's father is seen breaking into someones house. Unfortunately for him, that person was home. So here is the confusing part. The man answers the door as Mark's father attempts to pry it open with a crowbar. The man asks, "What are you doing?" Mark's father asks the owner what he is doing home? Mark's father explains that the robbery would have gone smoothly if the owner had been at work like he should have been. The owner informs him he will have the police here soon to arrest him. Mark's father informs him that the police would do no good because the owner does not know his name. The owner asks him his name and Mark's father responds, "Richard Bellison." He then waits with the homeowner for the police to arrive.

Now ignoring the idea that in this society people freely give away information and the first time Richard tried to spend the money he might blurt out that it had been stolen, if he was in the process of robbery couldn't he have been honest by telling the homeowner that he didn't want to share his name so that he couldn't be identified? Could he not have run away?

And this is the problem with all truth weapons, spells, science experiments, conditions, the easiest way to not lie and not incriminate yourself is to say nothing. This is a strategy I use when confronted with the police. I know you have to tell the truth, and I know an lie of omission is to tell a story and leave something out. But you can't lie if you don't talk. But, if the idea is that we are compelled in this society to not only be truthful but to always answer when questioned and even to volunteer information never asked about, how could anyone be a thief?

I've lost my train of thought, but the what I want people to take away from this is not a negative review of this film. It is actually really interesting, funny, and thought provoking. And I actually believe there was an idea behind it; but perhaps due to focus groups asking it to be more funny, time constraints, budget, or just the impossibility of imagining a world without lies, there are problems with the film.

So, my goal in writing this was to get people to consider the idea not only of a society that cannot lie, but of a society which has evolved without lies. Imagine for yourself how the world would be different and how history would change. What would be normal for people? People in the film lacked compassion, lacked tact, lacked pity. Is that how you imagine a society without lies?

Take a moment to appreciate the wonders and terrors that lying has given us. And imagine that honesty might not always be the best policy.

Your obedient,

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