The problem with being deceived is that you don't know any better until you know better.
A perfect example of this is Truman Burbank in the 1998 movie, “The Truman Show.” Truman is the main character on a TV show—except Truman thinks it's all real. If you haven't seen the movie I recommend renting it, as an excellent way of visualizing deception.
How much of the life that you will live over the next twenty‐four hours will simply not be real? How much of the stuff coming into your head will be fake… no matter how convinced you are otherwise… just fake? How many of the circumstances facing you will be direct consequences of lies… lies you believe to be completely and absolutely true?
Over the next few days, I'm asking you to think about deception. The subject is not as glamorous as “Living in Divine Health” or “Saving the Lost.” But then… maybe we're all a bit deceived about the importance of recognizing deception.
If you need a little convincing, consider what you (and all the rest of us) have said time and time again: “If I'd only known then what I know now!”
“In a past time a queen affectionately known as THEY ruled the small country of NobodyFoolsMe—as did her mother and grandmother before her. No one alive could ever remember a time when anybody did anything other than what THEY said. But strangely, THEY's subjects considered themselves to be quite thoughtful and independent.
“Whenever a stranger passing through the land would question one of the practices of the citizenry, the standard response from any of THEY's subjects was: ‘Why are you questioning what I'm doing? Why are you telling me I'm deceived? Nobody fools me!’
“NobodyFoolsMe considered itself to be the most advanced country in the western hemisphere, if not the world… an odd conclusion to come to since no citizen had ever traveled outside its borders. But as THEY would always say, ‘Why would you want to visit any other place?’ (And if THEY said it… well, it just had to be true.)
“It was a strange form of control THEY had over her subjects. She did not need a police force to keep the people in line. She just had a way of saying things to make them seem believable, and the folks just went along.
“Everybody remembered the near‐revolt in the summer of the big drought. What THEY said was obviously not working—the corn crop was dying. And some of the less compliant subjects bravely suggested a different idea. But when one of THEY's loyalists caught wind of the possible mutiny, he made the comment: ‘Well, we all know what THEY would say about this.’ And suddenly, the new idea was scrapped—without even a whimper.
“On the far eastern border of NobodyFoolsMe was a town high up in the hills. This town overlooked the country of Truth. The sights and sounds coming from Truth were so very different from what THEY's subjects were experiencing, she had to say something to keep her people from becoming curious. And she said a lot—so much in fact, every conversation, no matter what the subject, ended with: ‘Well, we all know what THEY says!’ THEY's propaganda was so thick in this town it created a sort of fog over the citizens, keeping the people in the dark about what was going on over the border in Truth.
“But, alas, there came a time when the town's most popular teenager, Seeker, was overcome with curiosity. He waited for a day when his parents were on a business trip, and he skipped school to sneak across the border into Truth.
“Truth was governed differently than NobodyFoolsMe. The people of Truth were governed by a book. When Seeker asked about their leader, the people replied: ‘He says’ and pointed to the book. Seeker spent the entire day just watching and learning from the people, and then he returned home (with a copy of the book).
“Seeker spent every minute he could secretly studying the book. He managed to make it all the way through in less than three months. He spent the next four months just getting to know the ‘He says’ who wrote the book. Finally it was time to talk to his friends.
“Seeker was known for having great parties—which contributed to his popularity. But this party was going to be different. He sent out invitations to all his friends with the heading: ‘Bring Your Answers.’ Of course everyone's curiosity was at an all‐time high by the day of the party.
“After the usual food, beverages, and chit‐chat, Seeker asked everyone (about twenty‐five kids) to sit quietly together on the floor. Seeker gave the group their instructions: Seeker would ask the question and someone in the group would provide the answer. Here is a partial list of the questions and their corresponding answers:
- ‘Why do we dress the way we do?’ ‘Because THEY says this is the way stylish kids dress.’
- ‘Why do we come down with colds in the winter?’ ‘Because THEY says it's that time of year.’
- ‘Why do our parents fight?’ ‘Because THEY says it's normal.’
- ‘Why do we always do what THEY says?’ ‘Because THEY says everybody always does what THEY says.’
“After a few more questions and answers, the kids all started looking at each other with a facial expression that read, ‘What's up here?’ And Seeker knew the time was right to share the book with his friends.
“That day was the beginning of the end for Queen THEY. After three years THEY was eventually overthrown—replaced by the book and whatever He says.
“Since nobody was being fooled any more into thinking, ‘Nobody fools me,’ the new administrators thought the country should have a new name. As the new names were being discussed the oldest administrator brought up her concern: ‘What's going to remind us to pay attention so we don't get fooled again?’ After another period of discussion the group decided to rename their country HisWay, as a reminder to the people: What He says in his book is all that matters.”
Have a good day,