The linguistic/philosophical conundrum, to begin with, is the question: Can a person lie to one’s self? Conceptually, it is an interesting phenomenon; for, the same person to whom one is lying to is identical to the one who is conveying the falsehood, and so — assuming that individual X does not suffer from some psychological state of a “split personality” or has a disengagement between one side of the brain with the other — is it even conceivable that a “lie” could be told if the person to whom it is told cannot possibly be duped into believing it? For, isn’t the purpose of lying to someone to persuade that someone of its truth?
But if the falsehood is known from the outset, then what would be the purpose of lying to that person in the first place? Of course, there could be a more subtle form of the phenomenon — sort of like the “world’s best-kept secret — known by everyone” type of experience where, although X knows that it is a lie, X feels comfortable in living the lie and thus continues on “as if”.
Take the following hypothetical: X’s kids are spoiled brats. Everywhere they go — to restaurants, friend’s house, Grandma’s home — they fuss and whine and throw tantrums. But instead of trying to correct the problem you say to yourself (and everyone else affirms it): Oh, they are just such brilliant kids that their rambunctiousness is merely a testament to their inner creativity — or some such similarly meaningless fodder as that. Or, what about a health issue which is becoming progressively debilitating? Don’t we lie to ourselves about that? Oh, it’ll go away. It’ll get better. Today, I feel better, etc.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition continues to progressively worsen, and has impacted one’s ability to continue in one’s career — it may be time to stop lying to yourself, and to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. For, while the lies we tell ourselves may not always be harmful, it is often the one that we secretly know to be a falsehood that comes back to haunt us.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire