Sachi R

Obiter dicta on music, men and matters

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The invention of lying

Posted by rsachi on April 1, 2010

I saw this movie on the plane recently. I think it is telling. It is written and directed by Richard Gervais, the English comedy actor. The Invention of Lying ( paraphrasing Wikipedia) is set in an alternate reality in which no one has ever lied and where people speak their minds, blurting out very blunt remarks and opinions that people in the real world would normally keep to themselves. The concepts of fiction, imagination, and speculation do not exist which results in the movie industry being limited to documentary-style historical readings, with television commercials being straightforward, and an absence of religion. In a hilarious parody, the movie features an ad for Coke. Coca-Cola’s advertising slogan is “Please continue buying Coke–it’s very famous” ! and then there is one for Pepsi too..”Pepsi–when they don’t have Coke.”

The protagonist Mark  is a proverbial loser, with neither looks, charm, nor talent as a movie script writer, and cannot impress his reluctant date. Here is the Youtube video from the movie:

 He begins to lie when his bank teller (remember there”s no lying there) says the computer is down and how much balance does he have.. and Mark makes up $800 when he has about $300 in the account. Thus begins a wild ride for him as he starts turning his life around by simply lying… and finally he makes up, to cheer up his dying mother,  a lie about  “The Man in the Sky” who can give you boons and alter your future… Soon he is hailed as a messiah by the town.. an oracle who can interpret for you the man in the sky!

I have been thinking about how our concept of an all loving, all giving personal God is constantly challenged by our real life experiences, and how we find, except our own childhood beliefs of religion, all concepts of God according to “other” religions pure poppycock.

So what can I believe in? I quote Osho, from his talks, “The Discipline of Transcendence” :
It will be easy if you understand Lao Tzu’s concept of tao, or if you understand the vedic concept of rita. There must be something like a law which holds everything together. The changing seasons, the moving stars… the whole universe goes on so smoothly; it must have a certain law.

The difference has to be understood. Jews, Christians, Mohammedans, Hindus, call that law ‘god’; they personify it. Buddha is not ready to do it. He says to personify god is to destroy the whole beauty of it, because that is anthropomorphic, anthropocentric attitude. Man thinks as if god is just like man — magnified, quantitatively millions of times bigger,but still, like man.

God is not a person. You cannot annoy him and you cannot buttress him, you cannot flatter him. You cannot persuade him to your own way. Whether you believe in him or not, that doesn’t matter. A law exists beyond your belief. If you follow it, you are happy. If you don’t follow it, you become unhappy. Look at the austere beauty of the concept of law. Then the whole question is of a discipline, not of prayer. Understand the law and be in harmony with it, don’t be in a conflict with it, that’s all. No need for a temple, no need for a mosque, no need to pray.

If you obey, you live in heaven. If you disobey, you live in hell. Hell is a state of your own mind when you are antagonistic to the law, and heaven is also a state of your own mind when you are in harmony.

Coming back to lying, Osho again says elsewhere something VERY significant. “Satyameva Jayate”. This expression is on Indian currency notes and is India’s official motto. But in the real world falsehood seems to be winning! How do you reconcile this? Osho says, in the real world, people are cunning. They wait to see who wins, and  interpret “Satya” only after seeing who wins…in other words, the winner is always right! That is the misery of our world. No wonder we invented lying!!!!!!


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