Life seems to have become a lie. We are told that we are living in a post-truth world. In such a world fake news reigns and lies stand for truth. We may rightly describe our world with Derrida’s term: Pseudology. Derrida employed the term to a long tradition of philosophical rumination on lying in politics. We never have the whole truth nor can we say the whole truth. Does that mean lie is part of what we think, speak and write as truth? Not having whole truth does not mean all that we have are half-truths. What we really have is the verisimilitude that is progressively taking us to the truth. Linguistically lie is not a constative statement. It is a performative statement and hence has moral and intentional dimensions. Thus, lying involves a promise of truth that is simultaneously betrayed. Lie, therefore, has an unbreakable link with the truth which it paradoxically breaks.
The act of lying with an intent to deceive is ethically culpable. But there is still an aporia. The person lying should know the truth in order to conceal it. This problematizes absolute lying because it would require absolute knowledge which itself is impossible. But we can hide the truth that is already known. This means there is no full knowledge and what lying does is put limits on it being known to some and even all. But Lying can bring good consequences. It can be also clandestine civil disobedience. Secrecy can be resistance. Morality calls it a mental restriction. The mind stays with the truth while telling a lie. Thus, when asked for a pen one may say one does not have one. It means one has a pen but not to give to the one who is asking. In this case, we still tell a kind of truth by telling a lie. Hence, we cannot simply dismiss every shade of lie as totally evil.
There is also another way of lying. It involves the destruction of reality to which lie refers to. This is possible because today the image does not refer to the original but replaces it advantageously. This means a lie is no longer a dissimulation that comes along to veil the truth but is a simulation that destroys the reality or the original archive and replaces it with a manufactured one. The original state of affairs is displaced and replaced by a manufactured archive and lie then can take the place of truth. This is what is going on in the name of post-truth. Pseudology has become normal and natural to our society and it has become difficult to separate truth from lie and falsity. It is indeed difficult to distinguish the real from the fake. We seem to have come to believe in the primacy of lie. The simulacral character of lies has taken away the analysis of intentional lies.
We are circulating images of reality as well as are consuming the same without any intention to deceive anyone. The image or the copy has become real. The fake or counterfeit has become actual. We have reached this state where lie is our present and our future. Even the past is painted with the colours of lies to give us a future. Lie has become our future. Pseudology has become the way of our life. But it has taken out intentional lying as everyone seems to be living a deception. The deceiver has disappeared from our de-factualized world. But there is hope for us. The life expectancy of images is short. Besides the diversity as well as the democratic reach of the global web impedes the construction of a ‘big lie’ in a single country although it can lock us into familiar echo chambers where we like to hear our own voice. Hence, our devotion to the truth can still survive this onslaught.
It seems that there cannot be a triumph of a ‘big lie’ that destroys rather than hides the truth. There always remains a stubborn residue of truth in the lies that might enjoy traction for some time. This is why we can hope in the parousia of the truth. The truth will finally win. The excess in the lie that carries within it traces of truth provides us opportunities to bring about the second coming of truth in our society. The truth stays in the coming even when lie surrounds us and reigns in our society. There is always more truth to come. We have both the challenge and opportunity to work to let the truth stage a comeback. We can certainly stand outside the simulacra of a lie. We have the ability to transcend and not simply get immersed and go with its flow. It is the ability of distantiation that enables us to trace the residues of truth in the lie and deconstruct the reign of the lie.
We do not have to think that the reign of lie as one that is siding against us. It is not on the other side and is building opposition against our side. We can think beyond this oppositional thinking and think together truth and lie. This thinking together both truth and lie enables us to think that lie is on the side of the truth. We have the opportunity as well as challenge to let the truth come by tracing the residue of truth in the lie. This excess that transgresses the world of lies can enable us to deconstruct the reign of lie and make way for the parousia of truth. We do not just have a sacred imperative to tell the truth but we also have the responsibility to make way for the coming of truth. Truth stays in its coming. There always remain more truth to come at least on this side of the grave. We have the power of distantiation that enables us to interpret, discern and identify the traces of truth that are supressed by the lie yet remain interspaced in the dance of the simulacra of lie. It is for us to respond to the sacred imperative to tell the truth as well as make way for the Parousia of Truth. Truth will certainly prevail over pseudology of lie.