Lying for Happiness

by Anita Menon

I have delayed watching this movie for long now. I was supposed to watch it atleast 4 months back but kept postponing it. More for its cast, than anything else. Ricky Gervais isn’t my favourite actor and his sitcom EXTRAS bores me to no end. Though Amit thinks it’s the only straight-faced self-depreciating comedy on TV. Well, such sitcoms are in bad taste, if you ask me. But then to each his own.

Now, Invention of Lying is a cool movie to begin with. Yes it has Ricky Gervais and Jennifer Garner and both of whom I do not admire too much. They both do a decent job of whats given to them. Ricky Gervais is doing what he does best, that is, acting like a loser. O! for that matter he is the loser in the movie. He lives in this perfect world where people do not lie. They tell the truth no matter how harsh or unfeeling it might be. This kind of environment makes it even more difficult for losers like Ricky Gervais to survive. So when he is fired from his job, evicted from his rented accommodation, rejected by his love interest and despised by the world in general, he feels a rush inside and lies for the first time.

From then on, he lies continuously for his on benefit and people around him believe him without contest because they do not even know what lying is. All this time, it is so much fun to watch the movie. How he rises to fame by concocting a story about Heaven and angels and GOD ( Man in the sky! Though, I thought it was a bit sexist). Finally even when he tells people, that he was  telling them something that was not true, nobody understands the concept.

The movie ends because they had to end it and so it was mediocre. But the whole concept where lies, deception do not exist, intrigued me and got me thinking:

1. Do we lie to shield ourselves from harm/hurt or lie to shield the ones we love or care for?

When somebody has an affair outside their marriage, the lying and cheating that goes with it…. is that saving the partner or us from hurt?

2. If we lie for our benefit, why is it considered bad? Are we not supposed to do well in life? Even if we have to lie and cheat for it?

Though lying is bad according to our moral texts, there wouldn’t be single person in this world who doesn’t lie. A child, who knows nothing of this world, when he/she comes to this world, learns to lie by himself/herself. Nobody even needs to teach them how to lie.  Lying, in my opinion, is one of our survival instincts and yet it is considered to be a bad thing.

Why Oh Why, do we lie then?

To be happy.

We all want to be happy and happiness comes in all forms. By doing well in life, by being with someone or lot many people who we love, ensures that we feel happy. Even if it is only for a moment, we would do anything to be happy for that moment.

Then why is lying bad, I ask?

Personally, I would hate to live in a world where people do not lie.