Monday, September 22, 2008

Concerning lying, And Fisher-Price****

By Carl Sandburg, in 'The People, Yes' -

What kind of a liar are you?
People lie because they can't remember clear what they saw.
People lie because they can't help making a story better than it was the way it happened.
People tell "white lies" so as to be decent to others.
People lie in a pinch, hating to do it, but lying on because it might be worse.
And people lie just to be liars for a crooked personal gain.
What sort of a liar are you?
Which of these liars are you?

The Fisher-Price (Mattel, Inc.) site has online games specifically for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. [The links here are for the US site. I have checked only the UK site's infant section a bit more - it had slightly different games; similar in nature but referring to different toys and products. The toddler section had far fewer games, so I did not compare further. But you could try out the other international sites for Fisher-Price. (If you do find something, leave a comment for others to know please.)]

The infant and toddler section games feature cute simple characters in bright colours. Games are either in a separate small window, or if in the same, rather small in size.

Infants get to play by banging away on the keyboard, whether it is peekaboo, colouring or the alphabet game. This is a screenshot from the Sparkling Symphony peekaboo at the UK site -

The toddler section has games which require more specific responses, but are still sweet and simple. The counting and alphabet games are perennial favourites. The former features three choices of games, and three of the counting number, after which your character will score goals up to the chosen number to great applause. The alphabet game has animated animals complete with sounds, with each letter. Infants can play this by pressing any key and the alphabet runs in sequence, but older children can choose otherwise and only that letter will appear which is pressed.

There are other games as well in this section - like the bubble game, colouring or dressing up, and a few 'stories' -

When you reach the preschool section, the 'cute' factor decreases significantly, and it is because of this that we haven't explored it much, although there are educative games like the one on fire safety below -

I would definitely recommend it for the very young children, especially the alphabet and counting games. Possibly the only reason it hasn't made it to our favourite list is because I found it rather late, and by then had passed the need for 'infant' games.

The url -,game_toddler,game_preschool&site=us

P.S. It was a little, very little incident, but yet again, it left me much more disturbed than its magnitude warranted, and so, for the last day or so, I wanted to write about lying. About lying when there is absolutely no need for it, when it doesn't seem to serve any personal gain whatsoever - not even to enhance your appearance in your own eyes through reflection of what you imagine is elevated status in someone else's. Lying as easy as breathing, thoughtless, heedless, indifferent to truth. The sort of lie that says, with total disregard, what is truth anyway, why bother? And it was the kind of liar who won't believe you if you point it out, if you were so mistaken as to think of it as a slip of the tongue, or of the memory and you showed it to her, ever so gently. No, she won't believe she lied, that her version was a lie. You are the fool for believing that truth is absolute, that it should not be tampered with unless absolutely essential. You are the heartless rascal because you will not allow her little 'harmless' deceptions... It bothered me years ago, and it bothers me still. How can someone be like this?

We have all known people like this. From a distance or intimately, we have run across the kind of people who couldn't resist telling it 'better than the way it was'. But the habit, once ingrained, goes in further, and there is nothing that is not lied about. From the riches you have, whatever be your value system, to the amount of sleep you got in the last hour. Nothing is true any more. The official term, I believe, is pathological lying. Not a medical diagnosis, but a label all the same. A label in your own mind as to the other person's reliability. A label which says 'this person is incapable of telling the truth, ever, and possibly even of recognizing it'. I could not apply such a label, because the infraction suggested is so monstrous, that it is condemnation of the worst kind. A condemnation not to be made easy, even to the proverbial worst enemy. But no matter how truthful you are, how honest, when interacting with such a person, you have to be ready to take an emotional beating for favouring truth every few minutes or so, either wincing inwardly at the version of reality presented, or being the 'bad boy' for contesting it. Or you could change and try to stop letting it bother you, just go along the flow, ignore and comply, finally letting the label apply itself, letting that person be judged as being unworthy of truth from you. Change your own belief in truth, in reality, in the fact that things are the way they are - that A is A, when with such a person. Reserve a part of you in those conversations, suspend willingly disbelief, dismiss in your mind this talk, this interaction, as being totally inconsequential.

And what happens when you do that? Do you change, because after all, you are the sum of your parts? Does lying become easier, having so much practice? Do you get one step closer to being a pathological liar yourself? What if you can't avoid interacting with such a person? What if it is your sibling, parent, spouse, child? How much can you change this person, and how much are you changed by it?

So that is your homework, and mine. To examine this question and answer it.

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