One spokesman for the Chinese, when given the chance to comment to the west about the revelations published in Wikileaks, simply said that they were of no consequence. The politicians in the world understand that their diplomatic counterparts are all presenting a certain image to each other and an entirely different image to their trusted allies. It’s no big deal. Though it was an embarrassment to those who were outed, it should come as no shock to anyone.
Information control is an age-old pastime, older than the good book itself. For every embarrassing secret revealed on Wikileaks, there are a hundred thousand like it buried forever. Fortunately, lies make the truth stand out in higher relief. All attempts to obscure truth only help clarify it.
When leaders spy on people, they wish to know the truth. It slips from their grasp when they try to control it. Spying and truth control are futile. We need not invade each other’s privacy to find the truth because, thanks to the movies and storytelling, we already know each other’s deepest secrets.
No responsible person can be lied to. We lie to ourselves. Those lies are the most dangerous. I only believe the lies of others after I have told them to myself. If I’d stop telling myself lies, all others’ lies would stand out. The truth lives out in the open where anyone who desires to take personal responsibility for it can know it.
Lies do not stand for truth. They do not change the facts. Lies are like gas, invisible, but among the most obvious things in the world. The air we breathe contains a variety of gases but a body requires oxygen. Truth is everywhere mingled with lies, but our survival depends on truth. We can tell pretty quickly when we’re breathing something else.
Popular stories expose the common lies we all tell ourselves, precursors to the kind of lies our leaders feel it necessary to tell us. The enlightened storyteller gives away all secrets because he or she understands that there are none worth keeping. Popular stories contain endless examples of characters coming to terms with truth. Accounts of a hero’s triumph in a story counteract attacks of hopelessness brought on by revelations of cowardly maneuvers such as those exposed on Wikileaks.
Official lies are born of the same denials that we all must confront personally before we can ever expect to transform them collectively. News and gossip are constant reminders of the selfish, indulgent sides of our nature. Stories and movies contain compelling examples of the courage and conviction humans are capable of summoning to achieve their highest potential in service to the common good.