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The Truth About Lying

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posted on Sep, 24 2007 @ 07:34 PM
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I “honestly” hope this thread spawns some lively discussion. To “tell you truth”, I merely offer a spring board and trust you all will help me define more eloquently what it is I am trying to say. This site has taught me to question many values that I once took for granted. I now find my self questioning…..everything. Most of my rant directly relates to my homeland, the US, but hopefully there is some universal theme.

To begin. It seems that the foundation of most religions, societies and cultures is honesty. That is how our world seems to function. In our “justice system” in “marriage” in “sports” fairness, honesty and truth seems to rule. Yet there are many times when lying is a better option. In “war” for example. Fool the enemy, win the war. Camouflage for example. The art of mis-direction. The classical diversion. As long as you "win the war" it doesn't matter of how how you did it.

How about the chameleon who changes its coloring to blend in? How about having a “poker-face” or “playing dead” or numerous other times when lying actually equates to “self-preservation?” What if you are “mentally-impaired” and don’t even realize that you are lying? My father is in early dementia and says things that are utter nonsense as if they were truth. Is he lying, no, just confused.

In a court of law, one must “swear on the bible” to state “the truth the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me GOD.” OK, lets say I am on trial in some world court and I make the statement, “The US is the best country in the entire world.” Let’s pretend that to me, with all of my life’s experiences, I believe this statement to be true.

Although I offer no verifiable proof, I firmly believe this statement to be true. Well, since it is an international judge and jury, I am quite certain that others would not agree with what I hold to be “truthful” as they too would probably think that their homeland is, in fact, the best country in the entire world. They probably don’t agree with my version of the truth.

Am I lying? Am I being “un-truthful?”

What if I don't even believe in GOD? I am an atheist, am I lying? No, probably just an ethnocentrist.

What about the historically false premise that “the Earth is flat?” Given the knowledge of the time, this would be a “truthful statement” until it was proven wrong. Even recently, our planetary system was revised and it was determined that Pluto is not actually a planet. Well in all of my textbooks it was. And so now the “truth” has been changed. The “truth” has been “re-defined” and “revised.”

What if we take it a step further and suppose that I am on trial for murder. What if I did actually commit the crime at the age of 30, but concocted a grandiose scheme of lies and evaded “justice”. I got away with murder and the death sentence. I go on to live my life to my 70’s and die of a stroke. That is it. No heaven, no hell, quit breathing, go to sleep and never wake up again, end of story. Lying afforded me a rich and full life.

And then, there is the little “white lie.” Perhaps it is sometimes OK to tell a little “fib” every now and then. Let’s say you have a little fat daughter. You are out in public and someone points and says, “She looks like a little fat pig”. She questions what they said, and you say, “No honey, they were asking for a drag on a cig.” Or say you are on the battlefield and a comrade has both legs blown off below the knees. The medic hits him with morphine when he asks, “Is it bad, am I going to die?” and you respond, “No, it is just a scratch, you are going to be fine.” This all seems like acceptable lies to me.

OK, and let’s just say you are at the grocery store and only have enough money for groceries or a cab ride home and it is pouring down rain. The cashier mistakenly gives you an extra $10 bucks back by mistake. Just enough for a cab ride home. Do you point out her mistake or take the $10 and get a dry ride home with groceries?

I suppose I could go on and on. Abortion, war, robbing banks, cheating on spouses, suffocating puppies. What is truth, what is lying, what is right and what is wrong? Are there times when it is OK to lie to spare someone from the….truth?

For me, I realize that “guilt is the guardian of my goodness.” If I do something wrong, I really beat myself up mentally. And finally, “Karma is a Boomerang” it will all come back.

I invite your valued opinions on this “right or wrong” topic. Please help me cope.

regards...kk

[edit on 24-9-2007 by kinda kurious]fixed numerous boo boos



[edit on 24-9-2007 by kinda kurious]




posted on Sep, 27 2007 @ 03:02 PM
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Truth to you is based on what you believe to be true.

If you believed the Earth was flat then you would be telling the truth when you said the earth was flat, even though to most other people that would be a lie.

Truth is subjective, there are generally accepted truths but those truths may not be correct.

It used to be generally accepted that the earth was flat, that turnd out not to be true, it was an unknowing lie.

Equally, what is accepted as true today may be shown not to be true in the future.

So, truth and lies are subjective.

Facts are objective, it's what you make of those facts that leads to your truth.



posted on Sep, 27 2007 @ 03:38 PM
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As made2fade stated, facts are objective. But if one looks hard enough, facts themselves lose their solidity. For instance, what color is the sky on a clear and cloudless day? The immediate response would be, "Some shade of blue." However, if none of us has ever experienced 'blue,' how do we know what it is? From childhood, we've been provided with a base of 'facts', upon which we build the rest of our perceptions of the world. Concepts of right and wrong are also developed in the same way.

Consider your hypothetical situation of the gentleman with the fat daughter. While some may use the rhyme (as you suggested) to protect their daughter, others may have a more direct means of dealing with the insult (for instance, a direct fist to the speaker's face). This latter reaction may come from a childhood in which the father learned to physically defend himself (and his friends) against insults. It can't be said that he did something 'wrong', as some observers would justify the insult as reason enough for aggression. Other observers might argue that violence doesn't solve anything, and (the father's) actions would set a bad example for his daughter.

Lies and truths are based on one's moral standpoint. Morals are grown from experiences; experiences are influenced by perception (although they don't have to be). But when you get down to it, lies and truths are merely events that contribute to the existence of a very large and intricate time line. What we make of them (i.e. whether we take them personally or not) is entirely our own beeswax.



posted on Sep, 29 2007 @ 03:08 AM
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I recently read an article by Mortimer Adler called Turth v. Taste. It isnot exactly the same thing that you are talking about, but it can give some insight, I think.

It goes on to explain Truth and Taste.


De gustibus non disputandum est. About matters of taste, there is no point in arguing...
De veritate disputandum est. About matters of truth, dispute is fruitful... At one extreme, clearly belonging to the sphere of truth, is mathematics and, associated with it, the exact sciences, especially the experimental sciences. Placing these disciplines in the sphere of truth does not mean that at any time there is perfect agreement among all mathematicians or experimental scientists about everything in their fields. But it does mean that, when they do disagree, we expect them to be able to resolve their disagreements by recourse to rational processes employing the methods and techniques of their disciplines.


At one point in time people believed the world was flat. The discovered it was rounds... or well, isn't it more like an oval?... Anyway, that would fall in to the sphere of truth because scientists and whoever can dispute it and come to a conclusion. While you cannot dispute which cuisine is better: French or Italian.

So, right now, I think that everyone would agree that the world is round because it is an established truth. That does not mean later that we might find out that we were looking at it wrong all along and it's a cube now. I know, it sounds silly, but I think you guys can understand what I'm trying to say.


The complete realization of the ideal that is the goal - the whole truth and nothing but the truth - will never be achieved in any stretch of time... we should never abandon our effort to reach the agreement we ought to seek in all matters that fall within the sphere of truth rather than the sphere of taste.



posted on Sep, 30 2007 @ 10:25 AM
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there is only one type of wrong you can do to another human being in reality...all can be boiled down to stealing or theft.


all lying is, is another type of stealing. you steal from someone the correct way to act, if they knew "the truth"... you steal from the the oppertunity to act in the most efficient manner.

murder is a type of stealing

rape is a type of stealing


the example that you gave about the bible and court? well if your made to swear on it it is not your choice, and if asked properly you would say there is no God...

just dont steal, hahah



posted on Sep, 30 2007 @ 10:25 AM
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double post sorry

[edit on 30-9-2007 by TheRepublic]



posted on Sep, 30 2007 @ 11:07 AM
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Originally posted by kinda kurious

Yet there are many times when lying is a better option. In “war” for example. Fool the enemy, win the war. Camouflage for example. The art of mis-direction. The classical diversion. As long as you "win the war" it doesn't matter of how how you did it.

But you have forgotten the reason for the war, if you fight for an honest open and just society, and disregard all those things to win a battle you actually lost the war. You now are in control, but you lost what you were, your soul if you will. And the example you set dictates how your society will operate, so you did not truly defeat the enemy, you became them. They assimilated you.



How about the chameleon who changes its coloring to blend in? How about having a “poker-face” or “playing dead” or numerous other times when lying actually equates to “self-preservation?”

A situation where everyone knows others are going to lie and accept it is different, why because you admit you have no credibility as part of the rules and therefore do not deceive. It is when you ask for trust and lie that things are worse. Lying harm comes when the liar was trusted or believed.



What if you are “mentally-impaired” and don’t even realize that you are lying? My father is in early dementia and says things that are utter nonsense as if they were truth. Is he lying, no, just confused.

OK, lets say I am on trial in some world court and I make the statement, “The US is the best country in the entire world.” Let’s pretend that to me, with all of my life’s experiences, I believe this statement to be true.

lying also takes intent, or the person is just mistaken. This also goes for court example, now when someone logically explains to you why your statement is wrong, do you defend it with what you know is a stretched argument? If you defend with the lie, then you really do know your original statement is a lie, you just do not accept it.



What if we take it a step further and suppose that I am on trial for murder. What if I did actually commit the crime at the age of 30, but concocted a grandiose scheme of lies and evaded “justice”. I got away with murder and the death sentence. I go on to live my life to my 70’s and die of a stroke. That is it. No heaven, no hell, quit breathing, go to sleep and never wake up again, end of story. Lying afforded me a rich and full life.

Your statement measured 'great life' im material terms, what about your conscience? I believe Sin is Sin, greed or murder, doesn't matter. Confession to man, don't know, I do know confession to God is important. You do pose a tough one. Our social contract has certain punishments for some sins, in the spirit of working with society accepting that is best. But your point is what is best for you. See what I am getting at. Anyway if your choice was for the love of others it is the right thing to do.



And then, there is the little “white lie.” Perhaps it is sometimes OK to tell a little “fib” every now and then.

You are actually touching on why Jesus taught us to Love our God, and Love our Neighbor, and that fulfills the laws. Moses laws were given to help us live in love, but there are examples that are not perfect. If your actions are in love then you fulfill the laws of God, even if you lie. In the old days it got really ugly, the authorities of the time actually turned the moses laws of God into ways to do evil, they followed the letter without the meaning.



Or say you are on the battlefield and a comrade has both legs blown off below the knees. The medic hits him with morphine when he asks, “Is it bad, am I going to die?” and you respond, “No, it is just a scratch, you are going to be fine.” This all seems like acceptable lies to me.

Japanese culture, and many of their doctors believe this is the right thing to do. Seen an article on it. If your intent is love it is right.



OK, and let’s just say you are at the grocery store and only have enough money for groceries or a cab ride home and it is pouring down rain. The cashier mistakenly gives you an extra $10 bucks back by mistake. Just enough for a cab ride home. Do you point out her mistake or take the $10 and get a dry ride home with groceries?

Do you believe she will have hardship if you do not return it. If so then you are putting her hardship above yours. It is a choice. Now if nobody would ever care, take the ride, but in my book, money only means something to those who trust it over God. Let me put it this way. If a farmer had a vine of grapes that were going to rot, would it be wrong to eat them, even if they are not yours? What if they were going to feed his kids? But you must be right, if you just rationalize she wont get in trouble so you can take the 10, then you are deceiving yourself, and still hurting her.
On the grief and conscience statements I would repeat a show I saw. It was a Star Trek Voyager episode, a character 7of9 was trying to deal with grief over her actions, she questioned her humanity after what she had done. The holo doc turned to her and said, "Your feelings of doubt shame and guilt does not mean you have lost your humanity, it means you have confirmed it" It is those very feelings that were written on our hearts so we remember the law of Love the Lord gave us.

I turn to Jesus, he shows me ways to sin less, and slowly be a happier person. When I do fail, he forgives me and I work harder not to repeat those things again. How could I keep doing them after the mercy and grace he showed me, and he is their to nudge me the right direction next time.

Just my thoughts.

[edit on 30-9-2007 by Redge777]



posted on Oct, 1 2007 @ 02:20 AM
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I think this is something that Philosophers have considered for a long time and a good question.

In my opinion you are not lying if you repeat something you honestly believe. The problem with the court example is that if you swear that you did not kill someone and then the court present lots of high quality evidence that said you did, the jury would find you guilty. You swore on the bible and by definition it should be legally accepted as true but nobody has to call you a liar to find you guilty. The other thing is that even if you didn't actually believe you committed the crime the court would still find you guilty and as you look at all of the photos of you firing the gun, DNA evidence etc would you not start to question your own understanding... deep



As to the morality of lies, this again depends on your own moral and ethical code. There is certainly a good argument to say that the 'truth never hurt anyone' and various other means of saying that it is easier for you if you always tell the truth. Unfortunately, there is too much that is shades of greay and not black and white - The OP provides many good examples of this. I think the bible tells us not to bear 'false testimony' and therefore we can extrapolate that to all lies are wrong. The other very strong influence on our ethics is our parents. How many of us have had the 'All lies are bad' conversation with our parents or children, just for the Children to be asked to keep a 'little white lie' when Daddy reverses the car into a wall in the car park.

I think the basis of the morality of a lie really depends on for whose sake you are lieing. Lieing to save someone hurt - OK, lieing to bring benefit to yourself at the expense of other - not OK. This then brings us onto the question is there truely an altruistic act - can people really be 'selfless'? Whoaa this is getting too deep now...

Thanks for the post



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