Too... Much... Synthesis

I used to think of all sorts of great things whenever I was drunk. Maybe that's because alcohol is a neurotoxic drug, right? Duh... but were my deep thoughts merely impulses associated with the throes of death, or the freedom that sacrifice afforded the remaining, vital neurons? I'm inclined to believe the latter. Artistic creativity is often famously founded on drug use; philosophy merely has the additional constraint of aspiring to truth.

(Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies is a fascinating overview of similar developments in people who simply lack integrity, which turns out to be most of us. It was almost as good as getting hammered and watching infomercials... and no hangover! At first it seems cowardly that professor Dan Ariely eschews religion's eternal assault on psychology by referring to his subject as "behavioral economics," since being any kind of sociologist is itself tantamount to abandoning a claim to truth. But the guy came up with at least one great experimental model, and the documentary generalizes from the science to a multitude of headlining U.S. scandals, complete with surprisingly sympathetic interviews with the red-handed.

Bells were ringing in my head all through this movie. They even had a little something for my summer parenting issues, which the PTA will be implementing. There is an actual story about shaving, tangentially based in Dr. Ariely's personal skin care experience. But with respect to my studies here, what resonated with me were insights into conflict of interest, and the mechanism by which lying can contribute to an accepted identity. I see commercial interests forming the wet shaving "online community" around an industry in really poor, homemade soap; but even to me, a living osmometer, the mistake wasn't immediately obvious.

There is just an overwhelming amount of hype being generated, by people who don't know how to shave on the one hand, and people who don't know how to make soap on the other. People who would have us squander the 20th century's pinnacle achievements in shaving, for nothing but a lousy buck. Even where the liars have been identified, opportunists keep throwing into the pile of lies. It's all quite natural, apparently.

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