What it means to be authentic, why truth leads to happiness and fidelity, truth is a basic need that is worthwhile, lies make you sad.

Is it worth telling the truth?

Dr. Fernando Sarráis explains a key to human maturity: to live according to what each and every one of us is. Knowing and loving the truth fills existence with authentic meaning.

Knowing and satisfying human needs.

Human beings have faculties - physical and mental - that help them to survive biologically and to be happy psychologically. Each faculty has a certain need that drives the subject to act to satisfy it, and in doing so, the faculty improves until it reaches the fullness of which it is capable according to its genetic endowment. Unsatisfied needs produce discomfort and their satisfaction produce well-being.

There are biological needs that must be satisfied to maintain physical health and quality of life (eating, drinking, sleeping, breathing, procreation). There are psychological needs whose satisfaction produces positive feelings or well-being (security, esteem, belonging, identity). And there are spiritual needs whose satisfaction produces happiness (knowing and loving).

In other books I have explained the psychological needs, so in this one I will focus on the need to know the truth, to adapt well to reality and to be able to know how to live a happy life.

Basic Need to Know the Truth for a Happy Life

The need to know has its origin in the faculty of knowing, which is called intelligence (reason, thought) and drives to know truthfully what things are, how people are, how one is oneself, and what is the purpose of life and how to achieve it. With true knowledge of reality one can succeed in living well, and thus avoid mistakes and conflicts that cause suffering and can lead to illness and death.

The need to know is manifested in the impulse to ask, to inquire, to investigate and to experiment, which the human being feels from the beginning of his life. The discovery of a truth produces joy, and love impels us to transmit it to our loved ones so that they may also rejoice. This psychological phenomenon is at the origin of educational institutions, literature, the various information media and the Internet, which serve to spread knowledge of the truth.

On the other hand, we do not feel the need to transmit lies or error, which are sometimes spread because they are mistakenly thought to be true or because of the interest of deceiving others so that they act to the benefit of those who spread them. Later we will explain the most frequent reason why people lie, which is not a reason of reason but of emotions: the fear of suffering.

Psychological experiences that manifest the innate desire for truth

This need and desire for truth is also manifested in various psychological experiences, such as: the strong impulse felt to correct someone who says something wrong and the discomfort felt when reading something that contains an error or a lie; the discomfort and rejection produced by lies, error, ignorance and everything that is not true (hoax, swindle, deceit, fraud, slander, dissimulation); the discomfort produced by the fact that someone does not believe that we are telling the truth or doubts it, and, therefore, considers us a liar or false; and the bittersweet feeling that the liar has when he sees that someone believes his lie, because, on the one hand, he deceives him to feel good, but, on the other hand, he feels bad for deceiving him, being this discomfort greater when the person who is deceived is a loved one, and it is less when his lie is not believed.

Another example that manifests the natural attraction to the truth is the discomfort and inner conflict produced by inauthentic or false lifestyles: a life of apparent fidelity to a person, while leading a life of unfaithfulness to him, as with a married person who has at the same time a lover; a life of apparent hard work for some people, while leading a life of caprice and comfort in the absence of those people; a life of loyal friendship with a friend, while being disloyal to him in being with other people; a life of apparent honesty, while leading a hidden life of corruption.

The need and attraction for truth is also manifested in the fact that when someone, through ignorance, says or does something wrong or false, and is corrected or realizes the error himself, he feels bad for having failed to be truthful and feels a strong impulse to rectify immediately by saying or doing what is true or right.

Knowing the truth is valuable and leads to being faithful

From which, it follows that the known truth commits one to be faithful to it and not to betray it, that is, every person feels a natural impulse to say or do what is true, except in cases in which fear, shame or the interest of seeking to feel good impel to lie, all of which we will see in detail later when analyzing the reasons for lying and falsehood. In addition, when someone realizes that he ignores, doubts or is in error, he feels frustrated, sad, insecure and fearful, and is driven to know the truth in order to feel good.

Everything that satisfies a need obtains the qualification of valuable and is appreciated, admired and desired. The opposite happens with what leaves any need unsatisfied. For this reason, authentic (true) things and people are esteemed and loved, and produce happiness when possessed. On the contrary, false things and people produce frustration, anger, resentment and rejection.

From the above, it follows that it is natural for every person to strive with determination to be sincere and authentic. It is therefore surprising that the tendency to lie and misrepresent things has become so widespread, and that "fake news" has even become fashionable to create confusion and conflict, in order to divert attention to certain issues and make a profit in troubled waters.

Therefore, the cause of this frequent tendency to lie and misrepresent things seems to be more powerful than the natural tendency towards the truth.

With this book I intend to shed some light on the motivation to tell the truth and be authentic; to lie and be false or hypocritical; and on the short and long term consequences of both ways of being and acting, with the desire to diminish and avoid the tendency to lie, which is detrimental to individuals and to society in general.

View original article in Spanish

View the book in Spanish

Fernando Sarráis