Lies and Truth: The Illusions and Reality (Jakob The Liar Film Review)

Jakob the Liar

Back when I was still in high school, we were asked to write a film review of Jakob the Liar.  The story is about Jakob, played by Robin Williams, where he was a Jewish jailed in a ghetto secured by German Nazis. Every day, Jakob witnesses a suicide committed by his fellow Jews as they find no hope in escaping the hands of the brutal Nazis. Despite of this condition, Jakob suddenly think of something that will make his comrades find hope on living in the ghetto: a good news.

He told them that the Allied Forces are coming, which is in truth, a lie. Before he spread “the good news”, all of his comrades are hopeless in the hands of the Nazis inside of the ghetto. And when he spread his falsified news through his comrades, he now sees them smiling and full of hope upon knowing that the Allied Forces will come and rescue them in the ghetto. His false news spread throughout the ghetto and have even reached the Nazis guarding the place.

Upon knowing this, the Nazis tried to reach the source of the news, and they have found out that Jakob is spreading the news and he is even accused of  knowing this by listening through a radio. The Nazis prohibits the Jews that the possession of radios is prohibited and if caught having such possession, it may be punishable by death. So when the Nazi guards have captured Jakob and interrogated him in front of the public, Jakob refused to tell that he made this all up. When the guard pointed a gun on his head, he is given the last chance to defend himself and tell the truth. By saying the truth, he is spared of the death penalty. Interestingly, what he did was to  smile. So the executioner shot him the head and Jakob died with the truth buried on the grave as well. Jakob died smiling.

My high school reflection paper

Now, for the reflection paper, I crammed and even barely made it through the deadline of the paper’s submission and passed it with the help of an ever reliable guard, explaining that I need my paper to be relayed on our teacher.

Luckily, our teacher was out on the field trip in Mt. Banahaw with students during the deadline of the submission so I had the chance to cram the reflection paper after our classes, catch up in my varsity practice duties, and wait in the guard house for me to submit my crammed work to our teacher.

So in my reflection, I wanted to tackle the underlying motives of lying by laying down the information of the psychological perspective of lying. Because I was cramming that time, what I did was to search in the net for something relevant in my writing and paste it in my film reflection.

When the papers were given back to us by our teacher, I saw a statement in the first page written in red ink saying: “This is so good to be true. I’m suspending my judgment.”

Upon seeing my paper, I knew what I forgot to include in the paper: quote my sources.

I really intended to put footnotes in my paper, which I obviously forgot and I only realized it after passing my crammed work.

And what I have learned from the experience? I learned from the film that lies may be intended due to the circumstances of the liar; and I learned from my experience that my circumstances may result to a lie. What?!

The underlying motives in a lie

We must look at the circumstances or the context why a person lies in order for us to understand their underlying motives. Why liars have to lie?

We must remember that lies can destroy a friendship because it undermines the trust of a person. A person can benefit from a lie, but still, it is still a lie.

Going back to what the NLP Practitioner has stated: lies are future intended. Why liars intend to lie in the first place? It may be out of saving oneself from facing a certain consequence or avoiding a not-so-good experience. But who knows?

It may sound so cliché, but even the truth may hurt us, I know it will make us strong and it will set us free. I think we learn from what really happened in reality and we can definitely overcome lies and its circumstances.

“Lies are intended in the future. Because the truth already happened in the past”

I learned this statement  from a Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner when I attended a seminar last November 28, 2009.

Pondering what that statement means, lies are selfish in nature because only the liar benefits from the lie. The truth may hurt but still it is still the reality.

“Who controls the future controls the past. Who controls the past controls the present.” –1984 by George Orwell


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