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A Philosophical Analysis of John Duran's Story, "For the King's Pleasure" -- How People "Like" to Be Lied To

Updated: Feb 8


I've received permission from American writer, John (Johnny) Duran to syndicate his story on my website. A day spent in deep contemplation on his story, has revealed a very saddening insight to me about the nature of humans, in their relation to the truth, and in their relation to what they believe to be the truth.

You see, Mr. Duran's story is more than just a description of an anti-social tyrant who has no regard for other human beings. That tyrant, as you'll see yourselves, cares deeply about human beings to deceive them, and sell them what they want to hear. That tyrant knows it well, and the thing is, many of us in the non-fiction world, do not. For the tyrant's profound knowledge of human nature, is our very own... liability.

After the story is read, I will write down my philosophical insights with greater clarity. Enjoy.

The Story

"Sire, I come bearing dire news. I don't know from what quarter it approaches, but I believe that there is an insidiously murderous treachery in your Highness' court!"

Nodding slowly, I sipped my fine goblet of red wine as my minion waited eagerly for my oh-so-important response like a lowly dog awaiting his Master's permission to speak again; In a real way, that's exactly what he is to me. Stretching out his patience in favor of my own response, I savored this moment, as any King would and should.

Finally, I responded directly to him, "Oh, my dear Jeffery... yes, I know of this treachery, and I've known of it before it ever started in the first place."

My confused minion stared at me for a moment, mouth crassly hanging open and looking uncommonly shocked at my statement. By use of this crude expression, he had lost my interest, as well as any favor he thought he had gained over his years of service to my throne.

So much the better. I do so abhor these little petty intrigues, but they do carry certain gleeful satisfaction as long as one is the Royal giving decrees, but the personal orders are my most satisfying duty as Royalty.

Getting up from my dining table, goblet in hand, I walked over to my subordinate, as if to console a friend. However, being King, and a secretly ruthless one at that, friendship was a luxury unattainable thanks to matters such as the one we were about to deal with.

"But Sire, how could you possibly know? I am your personal collector of information, am I not?" Surely a fair question to ask. "Spy, you mean? That was the word you really wanted to say, correct? Yes, you are my spy Jeffery, and a bloody good one."

I looked at his eyes above my goblet, sipping; this seemed to please him. What was to follow could go either way, depending upon his attitude and what he assumed he could find out.

It was time to test the waters and see where this hour would end.

"Jeffery, you are not of royal blood, and so there are certain things you are not fit to fully understand as a commoner. So I am going to enlighten you... Any royal knows that treachery is ALWAYS afoot in any place where Power is held, so there are those that scheme and plot to take it. So this is nothing new, old friend."

"But sire, I know this treachery is from someone in the highest levels of your court! Should this not concern you? If it's from any member of your royal family, we can have everyone followed secretly. I can surely discover the dark heart of this scheme against the Throne. I will not rest until the culprit is proven, and his head hangs from the gate of the keep."

Nodding to myself, I put down my drink, and reaching out I touched Jeffery's shoulder, slowly steering our way towards the entry door. My decision was made for him.

"Yes, I do not doubt in My own dark heart that you would eventually reveal the plot and the culprit. However, the head that will hang from the gate is no one you could accuse, regardless of the proof you would undoubtedly discover."

As we meandered closer to the door, where my royal guards awaited, I saw from his side Jeffrey's eyes slowly widen as my words sank in, and I noticed his spirit sinking as well in utter resignation.

I continued sealing his fate in words- "For you see, my former minion, my loyal spy that never strayed, there is certainly treachery here against the throne at the highest levels. I know this so well because the treachery is my own!"

We were at the very door, and I was about to open it when I heard a whisper "But why?" As if asking the Gods themselves as to the cruelty of fate. So I decided to give him an answer before his head would adorn my front gate: "Well because I say so! I do what I like, and others obey, so I start secret plots in the court against my throne just to see who falls into my web of deceit. I do this for one reason and one reason alone Jeffrey. Executions are SO much fun for me. It's like the power of God, to decree death, whenever I say so. Not even wine compares to it, or personal pleasures with my concubines. Nothing like the thrill you are about to personally experience in my name!"

"Guards!" I yelled. The door was open in an instant with two large men standing there, looking ready for violence, just what I love. "Seize this man, he is a traitor to the throne. Execute him tonight after dinner in public."

As a last bit of salt to the wound, I leaned close to Jeffery as he was sputtering about his innocence "Thank you for your services Jeffery, consider this payment in full in sacrifice to my own entertainment, and by the way, I love your suggestion about the head. I think I'll fulfill that particular wish."

I turned to my guards restraining Jeffery: "Take his head and adorn my gate with it, as a warning to my enemies, and feed his body to the dogs." Jeffery's sputtering turned to struggles.

As he was dragged out to his destiny as decreed by me I again sat down at my luxuriously adorned table and sipped my wine, giddily laughing as only members of Royal blood should. It's a grand thrill to be King, and I fully enjoy it as I certainly deserve to, being what I am by birth. What a fun life, to be King!

The End

My Analysis

The king in the story, has a lot of regard for human beings, but not in what many of us would consider the humane way. After all, if he had no regard for them, why would he bother so much to use his subjects as his little playthings for his own amusement? His planning was very on-point, as he dedicated much thought on how to amuse himself with the sacrifice of his spy.

The king betrayed not only his loyal minion, but also human morality. A very important part of morality is the willingness to be honest. Honesty is key to a better trust between people, rather than having a foundation of lies that build upon each other.

However, the thing is that many people do not like the truth. The spy didn't like the truth. The guards wouldn't have liked if they knew of it. The kingdom will not want to hear that its king betrayed their trust. Why? Because people don't like to hear whatever does not make them feel comfortable. But the truth has no regard for what we feel. The truth exists either way. It is us, many of the human race, that have no true interest in knowing the truth.

It isn't the truth that interests many of us. It is what we want to hear as the truth. Whatever it may be, it can easily be a lie.

Those who find themselves in very high positions of power may often be compeled to lie because they need to retain the support of their followers. In other words, their followers are not necessarily interested enough in the truth to bother understanding beyond what they are told. Instead, many of them are compelled to act on what it makes them feel good enough to be the truth.

To quote Greek philosopher, Plato: “No one is more hated than he who speaks the truth.”

People like to be lied to, but only lies which resonate with their desires. The truth never works that way because the truth isn't tailored to our desires, but exist independently of them. The king in Mr. Duran's story knows that well. Public displays of capital punishment, were a good way to please the populace, keep them in line, and tell people that justice has been served.

Whether or not justice has really been served, matters not. What matters for many, is what they think to be the truth rather than the truth itself.

And he or she who has a monopoly on that feature of marketing "truths", has a monopoly on people's minds. They can toy with them as they please, selling lies as if they were common products on the market.

The only thing the spy in question did wrongly, was the fact that he bought the lie of his king. Just like anyone else in that king's playground of a kingdom.

Personal Commentary

I... I don't like social interactions, because I don't like lying. I hate the pretense so much, I prefer avoiding most human company. I know what that tyrant knows, as well. I don't like deceiving. My social isolation... is a moral protest against the normalization of deception.

I don't want to write what you want to read, exactly. I want to write you what I believe to be the truth. I want to explain in logic and in evidence, why I believe to be correct. I don't want to be like that tyrant.

I want to be alone.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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