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No Blessing from Lie

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823hoaxI remember being first introduced to hoax chain letter early in my elementary school days. Far from being restricted to childhood play, the ancient concept of pass-it-on-or-else continues to fool adults in hoaxes ranging from dangerous life-ruining pyramid schemes to silly internet memes such as this one that crossed my laptop today. All have in common a threatened curse (or at least grave opportunity loss) if ignored and a promised blessing if accepted.

Some like to pretend that absolutes do not exist. That truth is relative. That each person gets to make up their own truth. Reality is not nearly so casual.

This Internet meme is absolutely false. More to the point: it is a lie. Not a mistake. It is a lie.

Equally absolute: no blessing comes from any lie. Blessing comes only through truth. If anyone who knowingly relies on a lie avoids dire consequences, they do so only by accident or by the grace of God. Anyone who relies on a lie without knowing it to be a lie takes a risk, especially when it is so easy to determine the truth.

And there is no such thing as a harmless lie. Perhaps the malicious harm hidden behind lies such as those in pyramid schemes is more immediate and potentially lethal, but no lie is without consequences.

How does this Internet meme lie to us. Let me count just a few of the ways —

  1. This Won’t Be the Last Time — “This will be the only time you will see this phenomenon in your life!” proclaims this version of this Internet hoax. It doesn’t identify which “phenomenon” it means to be calling unique, but either way — whether the phenomenon of a month with the characteristics cited by the meme, or the phenomenon of being bothered by seeing the hoax passed around again and again and again — count on seeing it more times during the rest of your life than there will exist years by any acceptable actuarial table. In other words, they start out with a lie, even before they get to the meme itself. Believe whatever you want to believe, but the truth is that this won’t be the last time. . . not unless this post is the death of you.
     
  2. August 2015 Won’t Have 5 Fridays — “August, in 2015, will have 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays” claims this hoax. By whose calendar? Did I miss Congress legislate this August authority to steal July 2015’s last day for itself? August 2015 started on a Saturday; the calendar shown here is that of August 2014. Believe whatever you want to believe, but the truth is that your August 2015 will be the same as everybody else’s August 2015, containing only 4 Fridays . . . yes, even if you started your August 2015 in Sydney Australia and immediately flew east across the International Date Line into Friday, since you flew not into August, but back into July.
     
  3. Doesn’t Matter What the Meaning of “This” Is — “This happens only once every 823 years,” says this hoax, in bold no less. We’re not sure what is meant by “This” in that claim, but it doesn’t matter; it’s false no matter how one twists it. Like, August 2015 having what they claim it has doesn’t ever happen, and “never” will never be the same as “only once.” And for the record, lest they waffle that they might be meaning “2015” like I’d say “53” was the year of my birth, dropping prefix digits that are understood to be implied, August 12015 (i.e., 10,000 years from now . . . shades of Zager And Evans!) is exactly the same as this year’s August, ditto every 2015 one cares to imagine. Besides, if they’re dropping leading digits, then August 2015 (with its 5 Saturdays, 5 Sundays and 5 Mondays) happens once every 10,000 years, not once every 823 years. More likely, the hoax means to suggest that any month having 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays happens only once every 823 years. Not so! It happens (almost) as many times as you can expect to see this hoax resurface (or, in the case of this version, which misrepresents August 2015, even more often than that). Wait around 823 years if you believe what you want to believe, but along the way you’ll see something in the neighborhood of 823 months that include 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. So even for Bill Clinton, this Internet hoax sentence is a lie.
     
  4. Eastern Pseudo-Philosopy Can’t Turn Lie into Truth — “The Chinese call it ‘Silver pockets full’,” this hoax explains. No they don’t. Unless they’re laughing at us when they do, for being so gullible. And the hoax proceeds to suggest its lie to be “Based on Chinese Feng Shui.” Again, not so. First, let me be careful to clarify that when I say “pseudo-philosophy,” I’m not referring to Chinese philosophy in general nor to Feng Shui specifically. There’s nothing “pseudo” about either. Rather, I refer to this Internet hoax attempting to lend weight to its lie by falsely pointing to Eastern philosophy. There is absolutely nothing Feng Shui in a claim so obviously false. And any Chinese philosopher since centuries B.C. has known the calendar well enough to know that this supposedly rare event happens quite often during even short lifespans. It’s sad, really, how Western people who are so quick to doubt their own culture and philosophies will so quickly fall for a hoax if an Eastern stamp is giving to it, even a fake Eastern stamp. Not only is the 823-year claim a lie, but it’s an outright lie that any Chinese or Feng Shui philosophy ever taught such a lie.
     
  5. Spreading Lies Isn’t a Surefire Quick-Rich Scheme — “So send this message to your friends and in four days money will surprise you,” this hoax promises. No, that will not happen. Oh sure, scam artists think a convincing lie is the quickest quick-rich scheme there is, and every now and then there’s a Bernie Madoff who can pull it off long enough to make it “work” . . . kinda. Not even the scam artists who avoid getting caught ever truly win. This message is a complete lie beginning to end. If you send it to any friends, most likely you’ll have them invite you to look more closely at your own calendar. If any money surprises you 4 days later, then welcome to the concept of complete coincidence. Most likely, the money that will surprise you most during those 4 days will be as in “loss of,” since no such blessing comes from spreading a lie. To even claim that blessing comes from spreading a lie is yet another lie.
     
  6. A Waffle Word Doesn’t Turn a Lie into Truth — “Whoever does not transmit the message …. may find themselves [sic] poor,” this hoax threatens. The waffle word here being “may” . . . which of course also applies all three other principle ways: whoever does transmit the message may become or remain poor; whoever does not transmit the message may become or remain rich; and whoever does transmit the message may become or remain rich. The only way this sentence carries any meaning at all is in its implied threat: transmit, or else. The notion that failure to transmit will ever be the cause of poverty for anyone at all is a lie, waffle word or no.
     
  7. No I Didn’t — “I obeyed,” the image for this hoax boasts. In the instance of my re-posting it here: no, I clearly did not obey. Transmitting their message in order to point out its lies is not obedience. So even here, the hoax lies, at least in my case. And don’t get me started, but I could pretty easily claim that even the person I got it from did not truly obey, since it’s rather difficult to characterize perpetuating a lie as being obedience.
     
  8. Yes, I Do — “(you never know),” the hoax parenthetically concludes. That’s not any closer to the truth than anything else this pile of lies has to say for itself. Actually, I do know a lie when I see one.
     

“Oh c’mon, macheide, you’re taking this way too seriously,” I can hear some quick to find cause to chide. “Loosen up, have a little harmless fun.” Really? Fun spreading lies? The truth is way more fun. Wanna see? . . . [true fun pending]

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - cache
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Written by macheide

2 August 2015 at 5:46 pm

Posted in cache

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