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The Undiscovered Lie

The undiscovered lie leads to Imminent Collapse. There are countless books and screenplays that rely upon the premise of the undiscovered lie to setup the circumstances for the fall of the protagonist. It is the identity of the illegitimate child who comes home to claim the rightful inheritance. It is the body concealed in the crawlspace or under the gazebo in the garden. It is the embezzled millions that polite society believes was inherited or earned in a well conceived investment strategy. It is the covered up homicide, accidental or otherwise, that only a few frat brothers know about.

The guilty party may rise, especially if he or she rises, to a place of prominence that is beyond all reproach. She may marry the wealth of a prominent family after being a call girl in some obscure city, only to find that someone who comes back into her life was a former patron. He may be a pillar of the community only to have been the person who fled the fire fight and left comrades to die in his absence. He may have been the Lieutenant in the National Guard who found his family connections could mask his absence from duty at a time that his nation was fighting an unpopular war.

Spies and counter-espionage intelligence operatives know that the undiscovered lie is the most powerful inducement to betrayal and treason, more so than promises of wealth and comfort. More so even than threats of pain and death, too. A man may turn down the prospects of money on the principle of being honest and not losing his employment and position in society. He could report the approach of an agent to try to turn him. Even threats of danger and death are reportable as an attempt to infiltrate the organization and gain information. But consider the threat to expose homosexuality. A man's private consensual sexual appetites being exposed would have ruined a lifetime of loyal work in the 1940's , 50's and 60's in particular. For no other reason than his preference for men over women, would have branded him as un-loyal, unsafe and unsuited for any level of secure work. It was not that he was any more susceptible to divulging information in a social or intimate situation, it was that a foreign agent could discover his secret and expose it to the world without any fear of reprisal. After all, it is not a crime to expose your gay lover. Because of the need to hide non-standard sexual orientation, there is a opening for the Principle of Imminent Collapse to enter the scenario and bring about the collapse.

While the lie remains undiscovered, the collapse remains imminent. The higher in the political, social and financial world the person rises, the bigger and more profound the collapse becomes. Every intern who works for a fledgling politician amasses an arsenal of political bullets to be saved for just the right time. While not every young congressional intern is a gold-digger who has sexual liaisons with his or her boss, every one who does waits until the political capital has gained value to the point where it is time to cash in the investment. Why blow (quite literally) the all your capital on a Governor when he quite possibly will be President someday. There are men and women (advisors, secretaries, confidants) who through years of loyalty and reciprocity follow the man who will be king and move with him into every office he holds. They know where the power and influence is and stick close to remain connected. But so do the illegitimate "investors" who maintain the undiscovered lie as it gains value. It is always only a matter of time before such people come forth and expose the sordid truth.

One of the best stories of the undiscovered lie is the story and screenplay, The Changling. It is a ghost story where the unquiet spirit of a dead child reaches out into this world of light to a kindred spirit in the guise of the living George C. Scott who is a writer who recently has lost his wife and child in a tragic automobile collision. He comes to stay in the house where the child died and was secreted away on family property nearby. His innocent replacement rises to national importance and fame while the true heir molders in his grave. Although the replacement son lives to a ripe age of about 80 years, eventually his secret and the undiscovered lie are revealed and his life comes apart at the seams.

In a true story of the undiscovered lie bringing about the Principle of Imminent Collapse, Richard M. Nixon won his Presidential re-election by the greatest landslide margin of any modern President. If his involvement and complicity in the Watergate hotel break-in of the Democratic Party offices had been detected prior to the election, there was a very good chance that he would not have gained re-election. His was a Presidency perched on a narrow beam, ready to fall off rather side into the chasm below. He moved into his second term knowing that imminent collapse was only a newspaper article away, yet believing that all would be okay. Only the shadowy Deep Throat was the nudge that brought down the king.

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