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Deception is our inability or unwillingness to discern the truth. Since no person possesses all truth, we all live with some deception. Self awareness is a spiritual awakening whereby we incrementally perceive our own deception. To lack self awareness, is to abide in self-deception.
Deception, like truth, is an infinite continuum, not binary states. Truth is not a thing to possess like learning, it is a way of seeing. Deception is a way of not seeing (perceiving). It’s blindness. Seeing implies action or navigation, thus our self-deception is seen in our failure to either apprehend or apply the truth..
Every problem in the world is therefore a truth problem, or said another way…deception.
The whole world is deceived. Let this truth sink in.
We understand deceit as something a person or institution does to another… like politicians to their constituents. Looking closer, there is a much more common form of deceit…self deceit.
Our self deception began as children. No child knows who he or she truly is. Instead, our imaginations, desires, and environments mold an external version of the self which we either accept or reject. Throughout life, we entrust ourselves to institutions which give us validation in exchange for their version of self. Self deception… not knowing oneself…potentiates socially through every institution of family, peers, religion, education, business, career, art, or hobbies.
Self-deceit is easier to see in others. This comparison reinforces our assumption that we know ourselves. Most people only know a surface level self…a pseudonym. We live a fictional life and go around as empty shells, fulfilling various roles, filling our days with distractions, anesthesia, and pretense. We are hopelessly stuck, we have no conception of who we are apart from what Paul calls rulers, authorities, cosmic powers over this present darkness, and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Liberation take wisdom. Many offering authenticity, require payment, like the ferryman, but leave you just as lost upon another institutional shore. Jesus warned about this dire trap: “Let them alone; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
So what are we to do? How can we be saved or made authentic? How do we find ourselves?
The darkness of self deception is displaced by the light of Truth. New wineskins of truth must displace our old, small, frameworks. Removing deceit is always deconstruction. Our pseudonym, our Fake ID, its affections and attachments will all have to die. The path up is actually down. Out is through. Our first indication of liberation is our loss of certainty. New questions emerge which relocate us to the periphery of our institutions.
Deceit screams to us: “Think of all we will lose.” Salvation reminds us: “Haven’t we lost enough?”
“The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
The “reconstructed” you…found on the other side…is worth it.