It seems that the older I get the more cynical I become. Much of that cynicism comes from being suffocated by lies. The politicians lie (but then we all expect that), companies lie, both public and private, individuals lie to others, and people lie to themselves.
You can argue as to whether it is ever ethical to lie (philosophers are on both sides of that argument) but the reality is that we all lie for one reason or another as it’s in our nature to lie.
We all tell white lies, and many of us do more. We exaggerate, fabricate, fib, tell half truths, make false excuses and accusations, mislead, and in extreme cases perjure ourselves.
Many of our lies are secondary to stress, feelings of inadequacy and personality quirks. Stress can make us uncomfortable, moody and fatigued. And we’re constantly under stress adapting to our mandated day to day existence and all its demands, and dealing with our mortality.
The Worst Liars
Lying outside of close relationships, usually told to be polite, not to hurt feelings, to hide depression and/or fatigue, or to avoid unpleasant events are understandable and even excusable, but lying to deliberately deceive is something else.
The worst liars are those trying to suck you in and bleed you dry. The world is full of people whose sole purpose in life seems to be trying to scam you in one way or another. Whole companies are dedicated to finessing the art of separating you from your hard earned dollars by whatever way they can.
Not that this is anything new as it’s likely the oldest profession, even older than the one people think is the oldest profession. But with the Internet and email it’s gotten a whole lot worse. The internet allows people to find personal information about you, including what you buy, what you do, what you own, your address and email addresses, where you work, etc., which they can exploit and exploit they do.
Then there are the ones that may or mostly may not know you or of you, but who, often ingeniously, try to suck you in by whatever way they can, usually by pandering to your wishes, needs and desires, physical and psychological. Those using marketing and advertising are at the top of that heap. They’re almost all liars to some extent, some by ignorance and most by intent. Those who are the worst of the lot should be ashamed of themselves – lying right to your face, sacrificing their integrity on the altar of the almighty buck.
Everywhere you turn you see it, on the Internet, on TV and radio, in magazines and newspapers, on billboards, on the backs of buses, and even park benches. You can’t get away from it. It’s all pervasive promising all for just a small economic sacrifice. The constant harangue numbs your mind to the point where you sooner or later give in.
Best selling author/guru, money back guarantee, just $19.95, but wait, order within the next ten minutes (or hours or days) and get another for just the exorbitant price of shipping. You buy and usually stow it away, the thrill of the buy dissipates in soon realized reality that you didn’t really need it.
Besides the lying ads, there’s the scam letters and emails.
Buy a car, then be prepared to be scammed into buying extra coverage – a professional looking letter let’s you know that an “immediate response is required” to keep your car coverage going. Only it’s just a scam to get you to pay an exorbitant amount of money for a worthless warranty.
Then there’s the letters from what appears to be a state water agency telling you to get your water tested because of possible contamination. Another scam to get some huckster into your home to demonstrate just how horrible your water is and sell you a water purifier. It’s the deception that I’m opposed to because a lot of tap water isn’t healthy to drink although companies selling bottled water are also deceptive as their water is often no better than tap water.
On the other hand we have municipal water companies telling us that their “treated” water is safe to drink. They know that their testing is inadequate and that their tap water for the most part contains many chemicals, with varying degrees of toxicity and effects on our metabolism and hormones. In fact, a recent government paper tested tap water in several areas of the US and found at least 21 dangerous chemicals in treated tap water, including drugs such as antidepressants and antibiotics, and chemicals used as herbicides and pesticides. So like the hucksters they’re deceiving us as well.
And then there’s the emails trying to scam you for anything and everything. Your best friend got mugged in a God forsaken country and just needs enough money to pay his/her bills so they can come home. There’s several hundred million dollars from a dead father who squirreled it away just so it can be handled by someone with integrity and honor, meaning you, for just a pittance so the money can be freed.
And so on and so on.
The Nutritional Supplement Industry
Marketers aggressively pushing their own agenda to sell you your dreams, dreams they’re often responsible for manufacturing in the first place, are the norm and the nutritional supplement industry is no exception.
Recently I looked at several body building magazines, mainly to look at the ads. What I found was disturbing. The ads occupy much of the magazines, each one offering results that could only be obtained by a pharmaceutical over user (some using more anabolic/androgenic steroids in a month than a normal man produces in a lifetime, plus dozens of other ergogenic aids) and/or a genetic freak (for example people that are myostatin deficient).
The deceptive and inane ads treat bodybuilders as if they were gullible kids reaching for some reward that is normally out of reach but is still attainable with their products. Their marketing relies on incredible hype, shocking colors, exaggerations and mostly just plain lies.
Looking at other magazines for both men and women and you see much of the same deceptive advertising. Ads everywhere, including in magazines, on the TV and Internet, make ridiculous and outrageous claims for weight loss, pain relief, curing arthritis, making you younger, etc. For examples of these claims just Google “deceptive advertising” in images.
The problem with these companies that lie about what their products can do is that they’re hardly ever brought to task before they’ve made their stash. And even if the Federal Trade Commission catches up with a handful of them, they just pack up one corporation and move on to another.
To see some companies that the FTC has caught up with and new guidelines they’re using have a look at the following.
Jan 7, 2014
Jan 7, 2014
Jan 7, 2014
Now I’m not saying that companies shouldn’t advertise their products in the best light possible so they can complete in the marketplace, but the current hype is out of control. At the very least keep the hype on this planet instead of outer space, and try, however difficult it may be, to give consumers value for their money.
For more detailed information on the nutritional supplement industry see the following articles:
So What Can You Do?
We all fall prey to their claims to some extent or another because that’s the reality of our society. The hectic pace of our lives coupled with our unending and boring routine results in physical and mental fatigue and jaded boredom. This combination makes us susceptible to media dictated norms that we’re led to believe can only be satisfied if we purchase their product(s).
The fallacy is that consumerism, capital/material accumulation, and escapism aren’t the answer to our societal and personal malaise. We need to see ourselves realistically and realize that while we can’t meet the imposed ideals we can make progress and reach goals that are more centered on our makeup and abilities.
For that we need to escape from unrealistic media perceptions, fueled by deceptive marketing, and thus arrive at a place that is realistic, encouraging, reachable, and comfortable. Realize the lies for what they are and above all don’t lie to yourself. Do this and you won’t feel the need to lie to others.