Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. (Ephesians 4:25)
Fr Alexander Schmemann makes some comments about lying and ‘inflation’ which could be very contemporary though he wrote these words in 1974. It seems the words are as true today as when he wrote them, especially if you apply them to current political debates.
“I heard on TV the President’s speech about inflation. What nobody says, and obviously does not understand, is that ‘inflation’ in our times is, above all, a spiritual, psychological condition, a form of consciousness. The whole world has become ‘inflation’: inflation of words, of feelings, of relation with life. Inflation is the condition of the frog that starts to puff up and bursts (a fairy tale). When one starts calling the janitor in a store ‘maintenance engineer,’ it is inflation. And when the air that we breathe is full of inflation, life is destroyed.
If everything is a lie, if everything is endlessly exaggerated, distorted, puffed up, there is no more measure or moderation in anything. Why should a price be increased by three cents when one could increase it by a dollar – and it will be accepted? One should start, not with an economic, but a spiritual struggle – a struggle with inflation – as a condition of the heart and the mind.” (THE JOURNALS OF FATHER ALEXANDER SCHMEMANN, p 50)
The inflation of the heart and mind which he describes is very true in today’s political atmosphere in which political activists seem to leap to the most extreme positions in their own talk or when they characterize their opponents. Life is destroyed, as Schmemann asserts, when everything is a lie. As the 60’s rock band Buffalo Springfield said in their song, For What It’s Worth:
There’s battle lines being drawn
Oh, nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong