What Came First, The Concept or the Complication?

How could you say no?

Lying, in the long run, is usually more difficult than telling the truth. By that I mean it is often more complicated. When someone lies, they initiate a whole new timeline of events, about which they must know all the details, they must remember all caveats, and inevitably it begins to require more lies to sustain. A single lie, if carried out to it’s fullest, creates a kind of alternate reality. We have enough trouble with our own reality without having to manage a second one.

So, telling the truth, is just simpler. Not always easier in the moment, but simpler. But for me, this always begs the question—what came first, the complication or the concept? I wonder about this somewhat regularly.

Pretend there is no word for ‘lie’ or ‘truth’. The reality of those two things would still exist. One is real, one is not. What I wonder is whether or not the concept of a lie, as something negative, came first, or if the reality did and we shaped the concept around the inconvenience it usually creates.

“When I tell someone something happened that didn’t, it always gets complicated and difficult and it sometimes ends in a fight. I hate that. from now on, I’m going to call that a ‘lie’. But if I just say what really happened, then the whole thing just stops there. That’s easier, I think I’ll call that ‘truth’.”

In that vacuum, a lie could be considered neither bad nor good, but would have to be decided by the person’s ambition and willingness to support multiple realities. In a world lacking any concrete notion of ‘good’ and ‘bad’, the decision to lie would be decided purely by whether or not the person felt like putting in the effort. In fact, I could imagine that lying could become something of a recreation.

In a way, I would argue that fiction novels, cinema and virtually every kind of story-telling art are a sort of caricature of the whole concept.