The Superiority of Honesty Above Lying
Lying is something that should be decreased in society. “Speak the truth. People will forgive an honest mistake; they won’t forgive you if you lie” (Mark Goulston). Lying has been interpreted in many ways in society but there is one true meaning. “To lie means to make a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood” (dictionary.com). There are many people who lie for numerously over and over, but it is not a device that should be used. Why do people lie? This is a very common question discussed everyday by many people. Lying is a mutual thought in a person’s mind is telling them what to do at a specific point in time. These lies somehow always find a way to grow into a severe lie overtime. When people tell lies to others around them, their trust will begin to get lost, especially when these lies begin to form a habit. A person’s mental state can also be affected when they become dishonest. Lastly lying can be addictive and could cause lies to be never ending. Certain types of lies may feel necessary in order to protect someone’s feelings or promote positive interactions with others. However, lies that are told with malicious intent to deceive can have negative impacts on the relationship with those who are the target of the lie.
Lying can be used with positive intentions. This is mostly used in the form of white lies. Stephanie Ericsson states, “The white lie assumes that the truth will cause more damage than a simple, harmless untruth” (2). White lies can be used in the smallest of ways, such as telling someone that their brand new kicks look great when in reality the shoes look like they were found on the side of the road after they fell out of the back of a garbage truck. Another example is when someone has harvested a buck and it is the smallest deer in killed in all of California and anyone else that would have killed it would have been so embarrassed that they would have said it was by accident but the person who killed it is so proud of it and people tell him told that it is very big and it should be put on his wall. Lastly is used a lot when someone expresses that the food that has been prepared smells and tastes delicious, but in reality it actually tastes like rotten meal found in the back of a fridge that has had no power for ten years. Other white lies consist of people saying that they are on their way, even though they have not left yet or as Jeff Hancock shares in The Future of Lying Ted Talk that people do not want to answer their phone so they decide to tell the person later that their phone died. Stepanie Ericcson also shares and example of a white lie, “The bank called today and I told them that my deposit was in the mail, even though I hadn’t written a check yet” (1). These white lies do not harm anyone and are intended to protect another person’s feelings.
Lies make a person untrustworthy and affect their relationships moving forward with who they are deceiving. “No one believes a liar. Even when she’s telling the truth” (Sara Shepard). For example, a child lying to their parents about their grades, the child is trying to protect themselves by insuring that their grades are good but are not allowing their parents to help them to get their grades back on track. This can lead to parents paying more for college than if their student would have gotten help with their grades to have a chance of receiving a scholarship to help pay for some of the college fees. Another example is when a spouse lying to a spouse about a diagnosis to try to assure them that nothing is wrong, when they can be changing their diet or seeking medical attention or try to resolve the situation that has come to them. “Lying is done with words, and also with silence” (Adrienne Rich). Lastly, a friend lying to a friend about something that never happened. This can lead to others around them being wary and not wanting to have anything to do with them anymore just because of a lie. These lies that are told can cause trust issues between families and friends which can segregate them from having a positive relationship. “Things come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies” (Dorothy Allison).
Lies negatively impact one’s ability to face the consequences of their own choices in a mature way. For example, a student lying to a teacher about a recent death in their family to try to get an assignment pushed back a few more days. “It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one” (George Washington). This promotes not only a lack of character but not facing responsibility, laziness, and procrastination. If students get away with this, they will use this excuse out in the world which can lead to them in regret later in life. Another example is a child lying to their parents about where they are or what they are doing. If the parent has a false, whereabouts of their child and something is going wrong there is no way to tell where they are. This can lead to serious consequences such as injury but worst of all, death. “A single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity” (Baltazar Gracian). Finally, if employees constantly lie to their bosses about why they are not making it to work on time or not coming in at all a lack of integrity is formed. This will show when they get caught in their lie which can lead to them losing their job altogether.
To those that a person lies to, they are taking away their ability to make informed decisions about how they want to proceed. An example of this is when a designated driver fails to inform his passengers that he had shotgunned three beers before they are about to leave. The people that are about to enter his car cannot make an informed decision whether or not to get another ride or to call their parents to get picked up. This can lead to serious injuries or even death to those of innocent people because an ignorant person lied to them and put their lives in danger. “When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie” (Yevgeny Yevtushenko). Another example is a significant other lies about cheating on their partner. Their partner cannot make an informed decision about breaking up and moving on with their life and finding another person who will love and treat them with respect. They will be in a relationship with their partner who does not have a care in the world and will most likely decide to cheat on them once again. “Trust is so essential for a strong and successful relationship that when it is lost, the chances of total collapse are very high” (A Conscious Rethink).
In conclusion, having integrity in interactions with others is an important goal to strive for. It is imperative to face the truth, speak the truth, and be willing to accept the consequences of a truthful reality. Although there are times when a person may bend the truth to benefit those around them or to spare hurt feelings. A person should continue to strive to be as honest as possible. For example, instead of telling a friend the dinner they cooked was delicious when it was over cooked and tasteless a person could instead say I appreciate your thoughtfulness for inviting me to dinner. The result is the same because feelings were spared but the truth still prevails. White lies are lazy and often roll easily off the tongue but the challenges to continue to pursue honesty as well as kindness with your relationship with others. “Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving” (James Faust). Truthfulness is the respectful path to pursue and in doing so the principle of virtue will shine through to provoke deceiving altogether.
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