A Look at Lying and a World Without Vices

9 Mar
2010

All My Vices by Todd White

The film ‘The Invention of Lying’ has a really unique premise where the entire world cannot not lie. Humans were simply incapable and didn’t know how. What they knew as the truth was what was spoken. How refreshing right? We’d all be open books and not have to worry about how someone feels.

Well, as the movie points out this leads to an onslaught of insults, insecurities, breeds contempt and most of the population was in a state of depression. Think about it. Ask someone “Do I look fat in this dress?” and their reply is “Yes, lay off the desserts you fat slob.”  Or ask “Does my hair look okay?” and your friend says bluntly “I really hate the color.” Imagine the horror of going on a date and being told, “You’re not really my type and I only went out to get a free meal”. Who knew lying was a good thing?

Ricky Gervais portrays Mark Bellison in this film, and actually gets told that last tidbit by Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Gardner) when he picks her up for a date.  How does all the lying ability start you ask? Well suddenly one day, Mark’s brain allows him to tell one lie. He is at a bank and needs to withdraw all of his measly $300 left in his account so he can move, because he is getting kicked out of his apartment for not being able to pay the full $800. The computer system is down, so the teller can’t check his balance. When she asks how much he wants to withdraw, he lies and says he has $800 dollars in his account and wants to withdraw it all. The system is just coming back up as he says this mind you. When the teller sees the $300 dollar balance noted, she thinks the computer is in error and believes him, for no one can lie.  You can see where this is going. The movie was a thought provoking story about how we treat each other, social normalcy and how fibbing is actually necessary.

After viewing this film, I started musing in my head and wondered how would the world be if we had no vices? If there was no such thing as drinking, or smoking, or Internet porn, or the ability to food binge, and nothing done in excess like shopaholics or hoarding or World of War Craft?  What if you could not utilize these items and past times to make yourself feel better? What if it just didn’t exist?  Would our world be a better place?  Or would it be just as depressing at it was in ‘The Invention of Lying’?  What would you do with your time if all those social and personal additives were non-existent? Would we learn to accept ourselves better? Would we be healthier, would there be less crime?  Or would something else that we cannot fathom take its place?

We basically would be a world of monks. But they’re happy and seemingly at peace with themselves. I guess we’ll never know how the world could be unless we all trek to Tibet to gain enlightenment and vow to live as they do.

What do you think?

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