“Beware trying to bend the Truth to fit your story instead of facing it head-on… Because the more you bend the Truth to fit a story, the more it turns into Lies without you even realizing it.”
– Lancelot, Quests for Glory
The School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani
When Lancelot says this, he is speaking to a young King Tedros, the son of King Arthur. Lancelot is rather famous for his adulterous affair with Arthur’s wife, Guinevere, and now they are speaking of the rising possibility that Arthur might have been unfaithful to his queen. Lancelot and Guinevere both dismiss this possibility, but Tedros does not dismiss it so easily. He can think of several scenarios where it could have happened, and Lancelot admits each of them could be, but also cautions him against trying to make the Truth fit a narrative instead of simply facing what is true as it is.
The irony here is not only that Lancelot dealt in lies himself, to terrible result, but it turns out the idea of Arthur being unfaithful to Guinevere is more possible than Lancelot realized. He is, at this very moment, doing exactly what he is telling Tedros not to do, bending truth to come to a false conclusion.
The sequel trilogy of The School for Good and Evil deals heavily in the conflict between Truth and Lies, among other things. There are parties which craft an expansive web of careful, cunning lies which are so diabolical and convincing that they seem to turn the truth itself on its head, as piercing the veil of one lie seems to just unveil yet another lie beneath. There are people who lie to themselves, trying to make reality be what they say it is by saying it often enough, thinking it hard enough, and doing it forcibly enough that surely it must be true. Most of all, there are the masses who believe and support the lies because, in the midst of a tumultuous whirlwind of a world, it is more convenient than getting at and standing by the truth, without compromise.
Lies are easy. Truth is hard. Hard to discover and to live by.
And yet, if we do not live by truth, then are we not already broken and ruined?
There are many examples I could point to, but I will refrain, as I do not want to drown my blog in political arguments. I will simply say that many are the lies today which are preached, accepted, and enforced as “true.” Some of these lies are new, and some are very, very old, almost as old as the truths they oppose. Many of them are offered in mixture with truths, couched in soft, charming, flattering terms, couched in convincing charisma. It is so very easy to simply go along with them, at least until they turn and bite us for it. And bite us, they do.
Lies always bite both the liar and the deceived. But none of them change what is true.
No lie ever changed the truth.
The world is a confusing mess, made more so by people who profit by that confusion. All the same, we have to put in the effort, and be cautious of what we take to be true, because that is what we build ourselves on.
Even liars build their lives on what they think is true, that’s how they justify themselves.
But lies are self-consuming, while truth is a foundation we can trust.
Far better to have that sure foundation as the storm of the world bears down on us, no?