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  • Writer's pictureDan Thompson

Lying By Omission

I recently had a HUGE epiphanic realization, to wit…

That the phenomenal world, everything behind it, and everything in front of it–that is, the epiphenomenal effects that perception has on those phenomena and the noumena from which they are suspended–are examples of lying by omission.

We do not have the facts, nor have we ever had the facts.

For many of us, our conscious, waking lives are a sort of tunnel vision directing us without reflection towards some goal or end, usually provided or foisted upon us by over-zealous ‘guardians’ with the idea that this is what life is about.

While for others, life is a slow, distracted survey of everything around us as we progress through the phenomenological world, or in some cases fail to progress at all, but simply gaze in wonder at what we see, feel and experience in each given moment.

The former is an uncritical, nearly blind progression through the ‘stages’ of life toward a goal–that of the system, the family, the culture–the latter is a more independent, yet socially insignificant wandering over uneven and undiscovered terrain.

Neither approach is informed by much real knowledge, although in the former, it is the guardians that tell us what we need to know, while in the latter it is we ourselves that provide the knowledge (because no one else is going to, unless it is revealed through some kind of code or jargon that we would have had to be in the former group to even recognize).

As a general rule, society and culture only tell us what we need to know, what we really, really need to know in order to survive, which is really what the culture needs in order for it to survive.

Human institutions, including literature–my field of study and practice–also follows nature’s lead, as Vladimir Nabokov says in his Lectures on Literature (1980) “Literature is invention. Fiction is fiction. To call a story a true story is an insult to both art and truth. Every great writer is a great deceiver, but so is that arch-cheat Nature. Nature always deceives. From the simple deception of propagation to the prodigiously sophisticated illusion of protective colors in butterflies or birds, there is in Nature a marvelous system of spells and wiles. The writer of fiction only follows Nature’s lead.”

The writer is alone at nearly every turn in the creation of a work of fiction. They follow nature (because it is the only way). Culture does not aid or even encourage the writer, on the contrary they may discourage them, as we have said of the first group above, while those in the second group persist in what is seen as their folly until the end, thus proving to the others that what they have accomplished is theirs and no one else’s. It is their name on the book, not the name of some brainless corporate entity. And while they might not receive a lot of money, what they gain is the completion of a great work achieved through natural law and the blueprint for the creation of further works in honour of the One author behind them all.


If we want to know something for ourselves, something true, something that speaks to our soul, our origins and the nature of the universe, we have to teach it to ourselves. But in either case the knowledge or information it is based on, is occluded, or disguised behind the appearances.

Appearances blot and mar the reality behind the phenomena, convincing the unreflective, hasty individual that what they are seeing is all there is, while denying whatever it is they see; the thing-in-itself–whether it is an object, another human, or an animal–of any independent, autonomous reality that might not agree with its appearance.

So all we really have is incomplete information that amounts to a lie; and hence, lying by omission.

We are deprived of any kind of transcendental truth because we do not trust our intuitions or convictions on such matters, certainly nobody else does–unless they have intuitions or convictions of their own. But as we have demonstrated through this simple syllogism; if one does not trust their own intuitions, or does not possess them, then they will not trust other people’s intuitions either, which feeds back into society until all such intuitions are dismissed along with all metaphysical ideas of truth, form or substance.

What was lost stays lost.

And we are put in the position of rediscovering it again for the Nth time.

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