Is lying a genetic personality disorder?

Everyone lies, and if you claim not to, then you’re lying. Some people are pathological liars (Pseudologia fantastica), which is a form of compulsion, whilst others lie to save face, or prevent distress to others. Being a pathological liar can be a sign of a personality disorder, and we’ve all met someone who matches this criteria. To be an effective, successful liar, you have to have an extremely good memory of whom, when and where you lied, and for what reason. I’ve known two serious pathological liars in my lifetime, and unfortunately neither could ever be trusted, and both struggled in social circles, so they lied to embellish their dull existence. People like for benefit, and it’s usually for some form of personal gain, and whilst it can be innocent, more often than not it’s being deceitful, but pathological liars literally can’t help themselves, and they lie so often and so naturally that it becomes a habit that they are unable to control.

Pathological lying is in itself potentially a symptom of a personality, or behavioural issue, that include:

borderline personality disorder (BPD)

narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)

antisocial personality disorder (APD)

Borderline personality disorder is essentially people who struggle to manage and contain their emotions, and usually results in a person acting irrationally without considering consequences. It’s common that people who suffer from this disorder have suffered a traumatic event from childhood that could have been abuse or neglect.

Narcissistic personality disorder is when a person has a deep sense of self-importance, and delusions of grandeur. They have the compulsion to be admired, even if the admiration is unwarranted and narcissism usually leads to selfishness and a complete lack of empathy to others.

Antisocial personality disorder is perhaps the most destructive of the three as they are very adept at manipulating others for personal gain, and they are experts at deceit, and this disorder perfectly sums up the two people I know. If you said you’d been to Tenerife they’d claim to have been to Elevenerife, as they’d always have to attempt to better you, and both were able to turn people against each other to make them look like the better person.

The main problem with a pathological liar is keeping the lie alive and attempting to keep it undetected, and they start off small, and have to lie again to cover up the initial lie, and before they know it they are within an elaborate maze of deceit and more often than not they are found out. I’ve previously covered lying in an article titled ‘To lie, or not to lie, that is the question‘.

Many studies by neurologists and psychiatrists have linked antisocial behaviour to a genetic component. As much as you try, you have a personality and it’s hard to change that personality as it’s hardwired into you, and whilst illnesses and disease can be genetic, and hereditary, can behaviour be genetically passed on? You often find that people who suffer depression have someone in their immediate family that also suffers from depression, so is being deceitful sometimes genetic? Is lying a survival skill? And if to survive you just be willing to adapt, then is lying a form of adapting to survive?

I’m not a moral nihilist

Have you ever been told that atheism is synonymous to nihilism and you can’t be one without the other? I have, and it’s happened more times than I can recall, but is it true, or is it another in a long line of baseless claims by theists? The Oxford dictionary defines nihilism as the rejection of all religious and moral principles, in the belief that life is meaningless. But to expand on that, true nihilists have no loyalties, no values as nothing is important, and in extreme cases an urge to destroy. Nihilism originated from the Latin word, ‘nihil‘, which means ‘nothing‘, which appears in the verb, annihilate‘, which means to bring to ‘nothing, or destroy‘.

Many theists use moral, or ethical nihilism to claim that without god then any action is without consequence or justification, as there’s no authority figure to answer to. They argue that from an atheists’ stance there’s no such thing as morality, so no action is preferable to another, so how can we suggest that murder is wrong? And if morality does exist then it’s artificial, and man made; thus subjective and meaningless. Because there are no moral truths without gods then there’s no right or wrong, good or bad, there just is, and something is not wrong, but it’s also not right.

“Error Theory holds that we do not know that any moral claim is true because (i) all moral claims are false, (ii) we have reason to believe that all moral claims are false, and (iii) because we are not justified in believing any claim we have reason to deny, we are therefore not justified in believing any moral claims at all.” – Source

Does anyone really know what’s right or wrong, and are theists correct with their claim that atheists have no moral compass? Moral nihilism claims there’s no natural value of purpose. If this is truly the case, then by definition morality has evolved in the human consciousness, as atheists don’t accept the higher, divine authority, so everything has come about naturally.

What theists tend to disregard in their argument that atheists inherently hold mo moral values is we are emotive, intelligent and social animals, that have to understand the nature of existence to mould into society, so I’d argue all day that despite morality being subjective to an extent, it’s intrinsically related to the human conscience. ‘Emmanuel Kant‘ explains it perfectly when he describes morality as good will, and you do something good as it’s your duty, as the actions of a compassionate human being, not because your actions can lead to promise of reward.

This leads me to the golden rule which can be found it most religions or ethical philosophies, which simply summed up means; ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ This is a great philosophy, but isn’t without flaws.. What’s ideal for one person isn’t necessarily, ideal for all, so objective universal morality must be harmful to some, so we must use empathy and reflect on our experiences to make the most suitable ethical decision that’s most likely to minimise suffering, and maximise happiness.

We as a society must forget about this ridiculous notion of divine authority over morality, and consider the implications of our actions, and to do this the focus must be on reason and honest scepticism. What’s the best way to understand someone’s needs? It’s to ask them, exchange dialogue and use consideration to form a decision that benefits them most of all. In other words you need to use critical thinking as what’s good for you, may be disastrous for another, so ethical and moral decision making is unique every time.

Being accused of being a nihilist because I don’t hold belief in a divine authority is derogatory and a huge insult, as just because there’s no objective meaning of life, doesn’t mean that my life, and the lives of others has no meaning, as if nothing has value, what is the point of living? I have many reasons to live, many interests, a loving wife and amazing dogs that bring me joy every day. I’m passionate about many things, be it equality, science, history, philosophy, the arts and sentient life, and I’m a vegetarian as my compassion outweighs my culinary desires. Don’t you dare ever tell me what I am, as everyone is unique, and what one person values, another sees it as worthless, and vice versa. I cannot understand the idea that humans, like all other life forms, exist just to replicate. If that’s the case, why have we developed emotions and not just remained as empty, instinct driven vessels?