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Telling lies as a political mental imbalance

Ikebesi Omoding

Telling lies as a political mental imbalance

ikebes

Two years ago, An NRM operative contracted a woman to cook food for delegates to a conference. Naively believing that she had hit a jackpot, especially with the ruling party official, the woman, who did not have enough funds at hand to provide such a service, mortgaged her house to raise the money to buy fresh food to prepare the meals. So far, then, it was so good!

Two years down the road, the money lender has sold her house to recover the 8m shillings he had lent her for the food business. All that time, the ruling party cadre had failed to pay the woman for her services – at least, as at the time of this issue.

A number of things can be deduced from this case. One, sheer arrogance on the part of the operative; two, from the start, there was no intention to keep their side of the bargain; but three, and related to that, is the manners of simply cheating people. This conduct is prevalent among the whole gamut of the NRM leadership. And it has a definite pattern of how the brain behaves and reacts to repeated acts of falsehood.

A recent scientific study reveals an area of the brain that biologically responds to this phenomenon. Psychologists; Neil Garret and TaliSharot, of the University College London, have published a study in the journal, Nature Neuroscience that, on deceiving someone, the amygdala – the part of the brain that regulates that emotion – is activated.

The amygdala, a small structure at the front end of the brain’s temporal lobe, has long been associated with negative behaviour, specifically with fear. “Whether it is evading taxes, being unfaithful, doping in sports, making up data or committing financial fraud, deceivers show that small acts of dishonesty snowball [into massive fraud],”Sharot told reporters. Over time, the amygdala reacts less and less, every time a lie is uttered.

According to the study, the scientists found that dishonesty increased over 60 times, especially when it was self-serving. According to Sharot, “there might be a basic biological principle of how the brain works that contributes to this emotional adaptation.” Thus, depending on the scenario, dishonesty benefits the proponent at the expense of their opposites. Adds Garret, “lies increased over time when the proponent benefited, suggest that self-interest was necessary for dishonesty to escalate.”

American scientists; Michael Platt and Steve Chang, from the University of Pennsylvania, patterning their British colleagues, have used what they refer to asfunctional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to more accurately study the amygdala and other regions of the brain that change when a person lies.

Their findings indicate that dishonesty requires the brain to work harder than honesty. This is reflected by increased brain activity in the amygdala. Studies even show people take longer to respond when lying. In the real world, lies are self-generated, often high risk and emotionally charged.

This may also indicate why, when persons in positions of power utter lies, they expect the lies to be believed by the public; and they react angrily and sometimes fatally, against anyone who refuses to believe the lies. It derives from the fact that a lie is made up of two parts: a person must create the lie and also withhold the truth. The people in authority sometimes refuse to   distinguish between these two positions.

According to the Society for Neuroscience, “Everybody lies.” Or, as the Bible puts it in the Book of Romans 3: 23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Therefore, the human being can only cancel this shortcoming by confessing their sins and repenting through the faith that the blood of Jesus gives, declaring (24) “His righteousness for the forgiveness of the sins that are past…”

But with the findings of the recent study,”It is the first empirical evidence that dishonest behaviour escalates when it is repeated,” Garrett said. He reflects what has come more than 70 years after World War Two, which closely mirrors what Adolf Hitler’s minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels,used to say that, the bigger the lie and when repeated forcefully, the more people would believe it.

Yet, lies have had adverse effects on societies, as the consequences of WW2 discovered: more than 20 million people were killed in the prosecution of that war. Or, more poignantly, for the woman who offered to cook for the NRM cadres, she forfeited her house at the expense of believing a lie.

szumuz@yahoo.com 

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