Wednesday, January 20, 2010


So I'd like to take a moment to say that I'm back at school for the spring semester, and I'm going to continue to update this as often as I am able to. My goal is, if I can't manage it every day, I have to update it at least four times during the week.

And now back to the daily broadcast.

Lies. Liars. Truth and lies. Lies are defined as a noun with four possible meanings. 1] a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood. 2] something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture 3] an inaccurate or false statement. 4] the charge or accusation of lying.

There are different degrees of lying. There is lying by omission, meaning when you tell someone something and then leave something out. There is a "white-lie", which is supposedly a small, harmless lie. There is blatent lying, where you lie through your teeth and you know they know that you're lying.

What determines a lie? Better yet, what determines the truth? Two people witness a crime. One says the man was wearing a red shirt and driving a blue car, the other says he was wearing a blue shirt and driving a red car when in fact, the man was wearing a white shirt, and red ball cap and driving a blue car. Were they lying by omission, because neither of them mentioned the ball cap? Were they telling a white lie because they simply mixed up the colors in a stressful situation? Or were they telling the truth because each individual truley believed that they described the suspect in full and accurate detail?

When you lie by omission, do you really lie at all? What if there was no specific questioned asked to prod you to answer the small, omnicient detail? Does that mean that technically, under those specifications, you're not lying at all? Or is that stretching to truth too far to still be considered the truth?

How is it determined. You tell a story to a friend. Something that happened last week, and as you tell it, you exagerate a few small details. Your boyfriend didn't really ignore you all night, he was just busy. And just becuase he was texting some girl didn't mean he was being sleezy behind your back, but when you tell the story, you make it seem like you're so sure that he is. Is it lying? Is it individual interpretation of events?

Lying is tricky business. Each lie you tell is another chance to get caught up in the truth. Why lie at all? Is it fun? Is the lie really better than the truth? Does it really keep you out of trouble?

What about those little white lies? Are they really harmless? Does a certain number of white lies equal a big lie? Are there degrees of white lies? You go to the hair dresser. She asks how your home life is. You tell her it's wonderful, and gush about how sweet your boyfriend is. In reality, your boyfriend ditched you last night to play fantasy football with his friends, and didn't call you to even tell you. Then you go to the store and try and buy a new jacket. Your credit card is denied. You realize you're broke but out loud you say, "Oh! This must be the old card I cancelled last week!" You're saving face in both circumstances, but you're lying. Does that make you good or bad?

Does good and bad even factor in? Picture this. You're a mother. Your husband has left you long ago to raise your only child. A son. He's fifteen now, and being teased horribly in school. He tells you how upset he is and that he wants to kill them for being so mean. And then he does. You're on trial. What do you do? To you try and save your son even though you know he committed the crimes in a premeditated fashion? If you tell the truth and tell the jury your son told you he wanted to kill them, you sentence your son to life in prison. If you lie, you may save him from the horrors of jail. You can be a good mother, or a good person; A bad mother, and a bad person. What do you do? What kind of lie is it? Does it matter at that point?

Lies... oh the tangled web we weave. What kind of web will you weave? Will you weave one at all?


Anonymous said...

It's so odd that you chose "lies" as your word today because it was the topic of my ethics class as well...spooky. But there was a discussion of Bentam's Utilitarianism theory where the hope is to achieve the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people vs. Ayrnard's Egoism theory where the goal is that each individual finds the greatest happiness for yourself and which situation is best served by a lie that got me wrapped up in this blog. It was those theories and your questions that got me wondering: Do we lie to make ourselves feel better or do we lie to make others feel better...? And even if we do both, who are we really serving? Then again, on the other side of the spectrum, if you are too brutally honest that could be a vice equal to that of a lie. Basically, what we choose to say and not to say, balances on a very thin line of morals. One of which we test from time to time. To error is human, am I right? No matter what the circumstance or purpose for the lie, however, I think the lesson is to choose the lie carefully. Weigh out the meaning and the consequences and decide if it is really worth it.

WordMonger said...

It is interesting that your class discussed the same topic. It's something that I've pondered time and time again and I'm glad to find that someone else wonders the same things. If you lie to someone to avoid hurting them, aren't you just hurting them more when they find out you lied? And if you chose not to lie, aren't you doing the same thing? Morals are something that we're supposed to learn as we grow, something that's supposed to define the good from the bad, but in certain religions, it's moral to want to kill Americans. To us, that is immoral. It all leads back to whether or not your morals coinside with the society you were raised in, I suppose.