The Innovation of Lying


How many lies did you tell yesterday? It is said that we lie more than 200 times a day, no worries. “The innovation of lying” is the title of a comedy movie, not new but more than 10 years ago. The movie really wowed me at that time. Mind you: I can’t recommend it. The plot was boring, and there was nothing new in film editing, etc., but I personally think the story setting was impressive. It depicts a world where human beings don’t lie like other animals. Store clerks and restaurant servers are cursing at customers instead of greeting friendly; lovers exchange not compliments but blunt remarks about their appearance each other. The movie clearly shows the tragedies that will happen if we don’t lie.

Most of us have grown up being taught “lying is bad.” The boy who cried wolf lost all of his sheep by his repetitive lies; Pinocchio’s nose grew every time he lied, but I’m sure a world without lies is too cruel for us to live in. Although it’s difficult to clearly define it, some lies to protect others are necessary, I believe. Some reports have said chimpanzees can also lie, but it’s for deceiving others for self-interest. In that sense, it seems that human beings are the only animal to tell a white lie. Our brains have evolved enough to imagine others’ feelings and to empathize with others. The ability of lying can be said to be our karma and also a gift. Another lesson we learn from here is the importance of feelings for our lives. They are so important that we can’t live without lying. In other words, we are controlled by emotions rather than rationality.

In Japan, the wooden furniture industry is sometimes called a “sunset industry.” The industry has few new entries, and its size is shrinking. If anyone thinks about it, it’s not rational at all to continue business in this industry in Japan. I believe what drives us to still go forward is only passion for manufacturing. It’s not a lie.


Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.


Photo Credit: https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/why-do-humans-lie/