To understand real estate developer Donald Trump’s tenuous relationship with truth my advice is to read up on the sign Gemini, for he is a paradigm example of one. Gemini is ruled by Mercury, who is mythologically related to the Greek god Hermes, the original trickster patron of merchants and thieves. Add in notes of erraticism, surprise, and crazy brave provocations due to his Gemini Sun being conjunct rebellious, ‘out there’ Uranus, and it will become evident that his contrary, contradictory character is ‘written in the stars’, keeping in mind the bard’s celebrated admonishment “The fault dear Brutus is not in the stars, but in ourselves that we are underlings.”
Here’s a riff on such matters excerpted from the Gemini chapter of my book Signs of the Zodiac: Clothing of the Self
“Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes” – Walt Whitman [Sun sign Gemini]
Let’s go further into the subject of truth and honesty to demonstrate the way Gemini’s are magicians with words, able to talk their way into and out of any situation. They follow Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty’s dictum: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.” Ok, put your thinking cap on and let’s go.
“The secret to life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made” – Groucho Marx
Lying is wrong, right? Well no, not always anyway. To be honest at all times, regardless of context or circumstance, would cause too much hurt and do more harm than good, a truth the movie Eyes Wide Shut comprehensively demonstrates. If the Nicole Kidman character had kept her mouth shut about her attraction to another man, both she and the Tom Cruise character would have been spared much torment and suffering. And what about considerations of tact and prudence? For example, what husband in his right mind could reasonably be expected to give an honest answer to his generously posteriored wife’s question: “Does my bum look big in this”? In my view, Shakespeare hits the right note on the topic with this little gem: “When my love swears that she is made of truth, I do believe her, though I know she lies.”
And let’s face it, to be completely honest is just too difficult for most of us ordinary mortals. We’re just not up to it. Show me a self-described honest man and I’ll show you a liar. Let me quote again that wisest of men, Groucho Marx: “There’s one way to find out if a man is honest. Ask him. If he says he is, you know he’s a crook.”
Finally, the killer argument for these times in which we worship at the altars of democracy and the mighty dollar, too much honesty would destroy democracy and cripple the economy. A politician has to lie by presenting himself as an honest man in order to get elected, and then has to tell the people what they want to hear, rather than what be really believes, in order to stay in power. Broken election promises are the rule rather than the exception, and present no problem that a little creative word play can’t fix. Just apply the formula of former Australian Prime Minister John Howard and define the promises you break as ‘non-core’, and the ones you keep as ‘core’. As for the economy, several professions particularly well suited to Gemini would disappear overnight if dishonesty was suddenly deemed unacceptable – talk back radio, tabloid journalism, public relations, sales and marketing, and the law, to name but a few.
“Whether you’re an honest man or a thief depends on who’s solicitor has given me my brief” – W. S. Gilbert.
Time to address the affirmative side of the debate, keeping within the boundaries of the Gemini mind set. It takes wisdom to handle a lie, a fool had better remain honest. True. Honesty is the best policy? Maybe, but he who acts on that principle is not valuing honesty for it’s own sake. Telling the truth is simpler. That’s a good argument, for to lie successfully requires a good memory and takes up an increasing amount of time and energy to avoid being found out. One lie leads to another, and sooner or later the whole process of keeping track of what you said and to whom you said it takes up too much valuable head space, head space that could be used far more profitably playing chess or doing cross words for example, or chatting with friends, or instant messaging, or posting to Facebook, or downloading music, or writing in the diary, or checking out who’s hot on RSVP, or trading shares, or tweeting on the issues of the day, or really, truth be told, doing almost anything else at all.
“What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive” – Shakespeare
As a creative writing exercise now, I’m going to write a character reference for Gemini, drawing on all of the above. Gemini, trust me, would I lie about you? [Well I might lie for you if you get me a good publishing deal. Talk to my agent regarding my fee. Of course it’s understood I’ll deny everything if this is ever made public.] I’ll write it in the first person for greater effect:
‘Ruled by Mercury, messenger of the gods, patron of merchants and thieves, I’m the original super information highway. I know who’s doing what with whom, when where and how. Tricky, witty, sometimes wise, I’m an honest person in disguise. Trust me, I’ll always let you down. Just joking, anything for a laugh. Trust me – to be myself. Whatever else, I shall not bore, though alas, myself am often bored. For me words mean nothing, or whatever I want them to at the time. I’m a master at dazzling people with their own bullshit – I promise not to believe my own. I’m a brilliant debater, deal-maker, and salesman supreme. I could sell ice to the Eskimos, rice to China. I love to play with words, for humour and effect. Here is my current favorite: Guru = Gee-you-are-you. A final brain stretcher: ‘I’m a liar’ – if true, it’s false; if false, it’s true.’