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Jonah Lehrer Might Have Been Addicted to Lying

In an interview with Salon, Jayson Blair says that Jonah Lehrer’s tale reminds him of his own. Blair gives some great insight, and as we read the interview, we couldn’t help but notice how often the themes of addiction came up in Blair’s answers.

We understand that these are Bair’s comments and not Leher’s, but below are some excerpts that made us wonder: Was Lehrer addicted to lying?

Often people come into the office seeking me out because of what I went through and what I did, and they say to me, ‘I’ve done this really bad thing and I don’t ever want to do it again.’ And they come back two weeks later and say, ‘I did it again. I can’t stop the cycle once it starts.’ There are fire walls in life, things you never want to do, lines you never want to cross, because once you cross that line it becomes easier to do it again.

Addiction is a cycle. It starts with some feeling — insecurity, loneliness, etc. — and then progresses into a behavior meant to silence that unpleasant feeling, even if that behavior is something that will make things worse. But it stops the “pain” briefly, just long enough to make a person consider doing it again.

I know what went through my mind the subsequent time: this idea that I can’t do it. I can’t live up to it [the expectations]. So just this one time again. Every time, just this one time. I’ll catch up eventually.

Just one more roll of the dice, and then I’ll stop. Just a few drinks tonight, and then I’ll stop. An addict always believes he’s in control even though he clearly isn’t.

I tried to minimize it. I tried to explain to my editors, ‘Oh, I just copied the article, pasted it into a file with my notes and made the errors.’

Minimization is another sign of being addicted to something. When confronted, an addict will always play down the events, telling “half-truths,” hoping that they will buy him some time.

Obviously we don’t know what Lehrer’s motivations were behind this ordeal, but if he is truly an addict, we hope he gets through it and comes out better in the end. Because as Blair tells Salon, “redemption is possible,” but only if you’re ready to change.

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