Parents excitedly note their child’s first step, first word, first potty poo and, in my case, the first time they swore in front of their grandparents. The most recent episode of Deeply Human said we should also jot down with pride the first time our child lies.
When we are young, even if we have learned to lie we often can’t tell when others, particularly adults, are lying or just making up fibs for fun. My dad has no memory of telling me all blue foods were poisonous, probably to put me off an expensive lolly from the ice cream van. He also told me all guardsmen at Buckingham Palace were pigeon toed (some London pigeon dad joke, I presume). The programme has reports of beautiful lies told by adults, including the uncle who told his nephew that at night trees turned upside down and travelled into space.
Lying is an oh so human achievement and, according to some, vital. As one commentator stressed, lying is an important part of a happy life, as “no one will like you if you tell the truth all the time”.
Deeply Human is a new series fronted by Dessa, a rapper and writer with a degree in philosophy. In compact but laden 23-minute shows she explores what makes us human, those issues that don’t seem to be such issues for the other animals. In previous weeks, the show has explored the limited vocabulary for pain, how to build love rather than always just trying to find it, and the latest episode explored our ability to lie. The more frequently we lie, the less emotionally painful lying becomes for us.
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If you saw the government minister who appeared on breakfast TV explaining that Marcus Rashford had no effect on any changes in policy over free school meals, it may worry you to know that this was most probably delivered painlessly. Deeply Human is dense with stories, an immaculate glide through information and ideas that stick.