Let’s talk about some of the common lies the Imperium tells it’s subjects.
In the Grim Darkness of the far future truth is not a prized asset. Knowledge, after all, can be quite a dangerous thing in 40K and it almost always comes with a price. As such it’s no surprise that the Imperium of Man, a bastion of superstition and controlled thought, lies to its citizens all the time. Some Imperial attempts to distort the truth are truly for the the good of mankind by keeping the average citizen from going mad under the weight of forbidden knowledge. At other times the lies are more self-serving. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
To the average citizen the Imperium is the only human government that has ever existed. While the more educated might know of the Dark Age of Technology, and stories of Pre-Unity Terra, this knowledge is kept from most. It’s not that there is an inherent danger in knowing that humanity existed before the Imperium, but more a method of control. If people think the Imperium is the only government ever it makes it harder for them to think of revolt. In some cases of course, the lie isn’t even on purpose, 10,000 years of rule just mean everyone’s literally forgotten everything else.
The Emperor, in his immortal wisdom had twenty sons, born of deep science and forbidden warpcraft. These demigods, the Primarchs, were designed to lead his armies on the path to galactic conquest. Along the way two fell to unknown fates, and nine turned traitor, led by Horus they lit the galaxy a flame. Nine however stayed loyal to the Emperor on Terra. These brave souls held back the darkness and saved the Imperium. This story is well known to us. Not so to the average Imperial citizen. To most people there were only ever nine Primarchs, all loyal, who fought against the tide of darkness. To admit that Primarchs turned traitor would be to admit flaws in the Emperor’s plan, and that can’t be true.
This one goes hand in hand with the above. If there were no traitor Primarchs, then Horus, the Emperor’s favored son who led the traitors, couldn’t in fact be a Primarch. Whole those with deeper knowledge know he was, this is kept from the average person. That the Emperor’s greatest and most loved son could fall to darkness and turn traitor would do too much to undermine His infallibility. Instead Horus has seemingly been demoted Often called “The Great Devil” it seems widely know that he did lead an uprising but not what his true origin was. He was the Warmaster, but maybe just a man, or some dark being. Surely not one of the Emperor’s chosen sons.
One of the seemingly worst kept secrets in the Imperium is the true nature of daemons and the Warp. This lie traces all the way back to the foundation of the Imperium and the Imperial Truth. In theory, this one really is for the good of the people, as it is said that true knowledge of the Warp not only can drive you mad but will make the beings of the Warp stronger. Whole worlds and systems have been purged of human life to keep this lie intact. If one has seen daemons (for example someone who often travel the warp) they are told they are merely strange Xenos beings. Still many people, often varying for story to story, know the truth and more are learning with the opening of the Great Rift.
The Emperor’s divinity is sometimes a topic of debate in 40K. The early Imperium, before the Horus Heresy, thought that the Emperor was not a god, simply a super-human being. However even at the time there were dissenters. The followers of Mars believed Him to be a god, while the growing Imperial Cult also believed Him to be a god. In the wake of the Heresy the weight of opinion changed. The Imperial Church now teaches that the Emperor is a god, and this is believed by the greater mass of humanity (and possibly it’s enemies). Only small groups among the Imperium, heretics, the Space Marines, the Emperor’s Last Loyal son Guilliman, still teach that He is not a god. Now it seems that one of these things must be a lie, either He is or is not a god, and someone is lying about it, I’m just not sure who.
Let Us Know What Your Favorite Lie Is, Down In The Comments!