Crash Course: Tarahumaras

Have you ever heard of the movie Liar, Liar? Heck, you might have seen it, for all I know. After all, Jim Carey is a pretty funny guy with some popular movies. I’m just going to assume you’ve heard of him.

One of his trademarks in Hollywood is going way over the top. Now, he may not be a Michael Bay (who has about three more things to figure out how to blow up before he can say he’s blown up everything in the world, I’m pretty sure) but he certainly knows how to take an idea to the extreme. That’s exactly what gives Liar, Liar its allure. It takes something that is thoroughly ingrained in the human psyche and just gets rid of it.

No more lying. None. Only tell the truth and we’ll see what happens. Sounds like it would be impossible right? In fact it sounds about as impossible as routinely running marathons…

…wait. For any runners reading this you might be thinking, “Hey, what about those people from Mexico? The Tarahumaras? They run marathons like no one’s business!”

Well guess what, apparently they can’t lie either.

I’m not claiming to be an expert about this entire group of people, but I’ve been doing some reading and they’re pretty crazy. First off, people know them for their running.

How good are they at running? Well have you ever heard of the Leadville Trail 100 Run? It’s a 100-mile run at over 10,000 feet. That’s the sort of run that most people couldn’t barely start, much less finish.When the Tarahumaras showed up in 1992 they gave a rather poor showing.

But that wasn’t because they couldn’t run, it was because they didn’t know the trail or the equipment. Their sponsor brought them up to speed, and in 1993 a handful of Tarahumaras returned. How’d they do with a little direction? First, Second, and Fifth place.

So yeah, the Tarahumaras can run. That’s all fine and dandy, but anyone who watched that Stan Lee Superheroes show on History Channel knows that mutations can make seemingly impossible running feats into child’s play.

The bigger deal here is that there is some talk that the Tarahumaras people have developed such a strict moral code that they simply cannot lie any more. It’s not that they get guilted out of it like my Catholic upbringing does for just about everything I do. They actually cannot do it. Sort of like how I simply cannot run 100 miles at 10,000+ feet.

So what are the implications then? Well, this certainly seems to point to the fact that lying might not be inherent in human minds after all. At the very least, it isn’t something that needs to happen. For all those Debbie Downers who say that people aren’t capable of not lying, here might be a little evidence that you’re wrong.

If that’s not something to smile about, I don’t know what is.

 

 

(Also, if anyone can find any other information about this, please let me know. Most reliable sources are in Spanish, and the only Anthropological Journal article on the subject I could find was from 1942, when psych techniques were not quite what they are now)

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