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When Lies Need to be Told

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posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 09:16 PM
A lot of the talk that goes on here seems to operate on the assumption that, when we're lied to, it's for some nefarious purpose--but examination of human behavior patterns will show you that humans lie for hundreds of different reasons. Often, it's for a pretty good reason--there are facts that some people don't need to know, truths that only bring pain to unprepared minds, and ideas that can turn civilizations on their heads. Sometimes, knowing half of the truth can do more harm than knowing nothing at all--and sometimes, the danger can come simply from knowing the wrong half of the truth.

Take, for example, the sand tiger shark. Probably the scariest fish on the planet, the sand tiger was one of the first species of shark to suffer from human fear and ignorance.
To save the poor beasts, the scientific community deliberately spread the myth that sand tigers were harmless and gentle--it worked. Today, the sand tigers are finally recovering from the massive losses inflicted on them by human hunters--but the lie that saved them remains.
In truth, sand tigers are rather shy creatures, and have never been known to eat humans--but those teeth aren't just for show. They've attacked people on rare occasions, and if cornered or provoked, they can and will kill you.
The official story on the sand tiger is only half of the truth--but it is a less dangerous falsehood than the one that nearly destroyed them. Perhaps someday, the complete truth can be spread in the same way--but such an undertaking would be extremely difficult; the simple meme "sand tiger sharks are harmless" is a lot easier to disseminate, and just as effective in protecting them.

A second example is the wildly differing stories regarding hypnosis. Laymen typically fall into two camps: the people who see hypnosis as B-movie mind control, and the people who believe that it's just a parlor trick. The truth is, you can make people do some pretty outrageous things under hypnosis. Anything you can talk someone into doing, you can hypnotize someone into doing--and there are people who can talk people into doing just about anything--but all it really does is expedite the process.
Hypnosis only works as a mind control mechanism when combined with conditioning or other brainwashing methods--and that's a bit of a pain to do, since you need consent for the initial induction and multiple sessions before it starts to sink in. But when you explain that to a layman, the immediate reaction is "Oh, no! He can control my mind! Get away from me, you diabolical psycho!" So, rather than inspire paranoia with a complex and easy to misinterpret truth, I allow subjects to believe that I have no more power over them than what they give me--which, technically, is true for most of them.

Sometimes, a lie can be told for completely mundane reasons. The official story of the Roswell event was obviously false, and suspicions of a massive cover-up endure to this day. Recently, however, they've admitted that there was one--but one of a very different nature than what UFOlogists expected. As it turns out, the object that landed in Roswell not a weather balloon, but a military spy balloon--part of an experiment that couldn't be disclosed to the public at the time, but has since been declassified. Now, of course, this hasn't stopped the true loons from claiming that there was an even more massive cover-up, but I see no particular reason to doubt the official story--which, unlike the balloon, has yet to develop any holes.

So in short, next time you can tell you're being lied to, think it over a little more. Is malevolence the only possible motive? Are you sure the thing being covered up isn't just a blunder or embarassment? Or could somebody even be trying to protect you from yourself? Just my two cents.

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 09:27 PM
Lying is what allows bad men to be protected. Don't lie if you are to be a good man. Suffer the consequences of the truth, because the consequences of a lie are far worse.

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 09:30 PM
That's a very pleasant ideology, but the world just isn't so simple. There are people who simply can't handle the truth--people who cling to even the flimsiest delusions because to believe otherwise would utterly destroy them. It takes real strength to accept things you don't want to be true.

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 11:26 PM
I am not so sure about the title of your post. I could live with "when lies maybe ain't so bad"
I agree that sometimes the liar may only have good intentions, but I do think that some people rely on this mechanism way too much.
I was brought up in a family where the truth usually reigned no matter how painful it was. I grew to like that approach and hate it when people go out of their way to be polite and avoid anything negative. To me they are phony and a waste of time. - unfortunately I think they are in the majority.
I read somewhere that the most socially successful people also just happen to be the best liars! It was a study done somewhere.
Guess that explains why I am not the most popular guy on the block.

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 11:51 PM
Anyone who is destroyed by the truth were destroyed far before they knew the truth.

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 11:55 PM
Amen Piemaker.

The truth is often horrifying, and sometimes deemed unacceptable to disclose, yes. But imagine if the masses knew massive truths otherwise unspoken? Idealistic, yes. But I can dream, dammit.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 12:17 AM
Problem is, learning to accept truth is a long, hard journey for anyone who wasn't raised to do so--if everybody just stopped lying, right now, without any prior preparation, society would probably collapse. Lies keep our relationships stable ("Oh, honey, you look wonderful in that sequined burlap sack!"), our jobs secure ("And I'm certain that this board's decision to add a "space hooker" to the cast two days before the pilot premiered was more of a factor in the show's success than the so-called writing talents of Mr. Whedon..."), and our economy going ("No, trust me, Failcorp is on the way up--buy up everything you can!"). As much as I dislike deception, eliminating it from civilization is not my highest priority at the moment.
EDIT: Perfect example of how deeply ingrained lying is: /b/. The "random" imageboard of and its related websites tends to contain large amounts of deeply disturbing imagery and utterly horrifying statements, largely because anonymity leads to a loss of inhibitions. It's sometimes hard to tell when a "/b/-tard" is just speaking his mind, and when he's deliberately trying to offend you.

[edit on 20-4-2008 by Makoto]

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 12:37 AM
Our society probably needs to collapse. It's too eog driven. People care too much about things they shouldn't care about.

Wife gets mad at her husband. Tv Show flops. Failcorp fails. It all doesn't matter. Those things occurring are better than allowing lies to persist. You face the consequences of the truth, and if you aren't willing to than how can you expect anyone else to be willing to? By lying you set yourself up to be lied to, and by clinging to things you shouldn't care about you become willing to accept lies.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 12:53 AM
Why bother, when it's going to come undone on its own soon? Even if we don't get caught up in a technological singularity or blow each other off the face of the Earth, eventually information will be too free, society and its workings too transparent, for deceit to exist any longer. When that happens... well, two scenarios present themselves. Either civilization goes into autistic mode and shuts down completely as everybody becomes more and more secretive in a futile effort to hide the dirty laundry that everyone has... or we accept what and who we all are, stop hurting each other for having qualities we hate in ourselves, and finally create an open, honest society.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 01:03 AM
I think the whole "people can't handle the truth" thing is something the government probably made up!! of course people can handle it! you just have to get on with it!! it's a shame that people can't be more open from the start, like Wayno displayed in his post, if you are taught the truth then you will accept it and hopefully turn away from lies.

the masses need to be told the truth, it's our world too and we have a right to know what's going on!

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 01:09 AM
Then go for it--find out for yourself. If you think you're ready to see and accept the truth, then by all means, learn it. Just don't blame me for what happens.
Think about what happens when teenagers start learning things about life--how people die, and friends leave you, and everything will eventually be dust. Most of them either flee from the truth completely, or go all emo and just lie around whining about it.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 01:16 AM
yes but my point is that if they were taught to be more accepting of the truth from birth they wouldn't have such a hard time finding out things later in life! i'm not saying i don't have emotions and things don't upset me, but that is how life is, there is good and there is bad, or there are things we love and things we fear.

i know that when i have children i will teach them to ask many questions and not to lie or accept lies!

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 01:19 AM
Good for you--I hope you're the start of a large trend.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 06:54 PM
The problem here is that there are some awfully big lies being covered by a whole series of other lies. It's often the case that once a serious lie is told, the trend has to continue. Basically, nobody who is willing to lie deserves to be trusted.

It is very condescending to say we lied for your own benefit. It takes away freedom of choice and is essentially a tool of control.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 07:23 PM
I still think the moral and logical issues outbalances the good sides of lying.

Think for yourself:

Lying is what allows lawyers to make a living and live an elite life of power and political invincibility.

Lying is what caused the Iraq War.

Lying is what allowed the Nazis and Japanese to kill tens of millions of people.

Lying is what partially caused the World Wars.

Now to the good side:

Lying is what creates stability and nationalism.

Lying is what allowed nations such as the U.S. and China to become powerful.

Lying is what allowed me to steal legos away from my friend's box

Lying is what everyone has done to get out of sticky situation.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 07:52 PM

It is very condescending to say we lied for your own benefit. It takes away freedom of choice and is essentially a tool of control.

Yes, to that. There are to many elitist types, who think they know what is good for everyone else. But they are just lying to themselves, by there own egos, about their perceived superiority! Which doesn't mean they are always wrong!
Little lies can protect. "deceivers yet true", (the Bible). Yet if you build a whole civilization on falsehood, like what we now have. That civilization is doomed to fall. "If you build your house on sand, instead of a rock, when the storms of opposition come, it will fall". (also the Bible)

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 07:54 PM

Originally posted by Makoto
Think about what happens when teenagers start learning things about life--how people die, and friends leave you, and everything will eventually be dust. Most of them either flee from the truth completely, or go all emo and just lie around whining about it.

Not sure where you live but it seems that these are things most average teenagers know. May be those in some over protective, high society haven't learned these things.

The big problem with the world is lies. That plays right into being a pawn under government and business control.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 08:51 PM
Sadly, the fact that my nature seems to be antithetical and counterintuitive to society at large has gotten me into hot water on more than one occasion when it comes to my interpersonal relationships. You see, I thrive on, need, expect, and conduct myself in accordance with communication, transparency, and trust.

For example, if I have a very close friend who wants to tell me something very personal about someone else they are close to (say, their husband) - even if I don't know that other person as well as my close friend - then I warn them up front that they shouldn't tell me anything they don't want that person to know. Why? Because in my mind, if they're in a close relationship with that other person and that person deserves or needs to know the information they are imparting to me, then in order to be impartial, I have to either implore them to tell that person themselves, or I have to do it. If I don't, guilt eats away at me because I feel that I am perpetuating a lack of transparency and communication in their relationship. That and I just can't keep secrets because doing so is against my nature.

If a friend of mine cheats on their girlfriend, then their girlfriend is going to hear about it from me even if I'm not friends with her. I'm going to walk right up to her and tell her, "Your boyfriend cheated on you." That's just, as they say, "how I roll." For me, honesty trumps partiality and circumstance. I don't practice situationally contingent ethics or an ethos based upon partiality and favoritism.

So for me, "necessary lies" or "necessary deceit" are oxymoronical concepts. I don't believe in them, and I defy them proactively whenever and wherever I can.

That said, I do understand the point being made, and even see the logic in it. I respect it, I appreciate it, and I'm not saying that I'm "right" and that the opposing view is "wrong" (though it would feel wrong to me personally.)

[edit on 4/20/2008 by AceWombat04]

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 09:01 PM
PPl lie when they understand the person they are presenting the lie to is hateful of the honest truth. And when they are hateful of the honest truth they would do malice things that they can do to you because they themselves are evil cowards which prolly already somehow have known the honest truth in what it would sound like.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 09:21 PM
People lie because they find a lie better than the truth. People lie to each other all the time in relationships. I am not saying that you do, but, most of society, is built on lies. When people lie they think they won't be found out. They don't realize that they are getting themselves into a made up situation, and then, if they lie, they won't be in real situation, and they, may even cause bad things to happen that wouldn't have happened if they didn't lie.

When people grow up they learn language. The problem is that they aren't taught morals. They don't know that lying is wrong. When you think about it there really isn't anything good about lying.

As I've learned it's much easier to tell the truth, than to tell a half truth, ro a flat out lie. A lie may get you in trouble with the law if you persist in telling it over and over, and, people can see right through a half truth, and, then people may be doubtful of you. A truth is better than a half truth or a lie. If you tell the truth you will get farther in this world than if you tell a lie. People trust people who tell the truth. Unfortunately, there are too many liars.

No one should be in a position where they have to tell a lie. Government officials tell lies all the time to make people feel better. Examples of lying are Nixon lying about his innocence before he resigned, that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons when he actually didn't, someone telling you that they like you, when they don't, or, like, even when you lie at work, you may lie at work to be tactful, and then, realize later that you should've told the truth. Like, if you are telling your employer how much you hate your job, rather than telling your employer flat out that you don't like it, you may lie to your employer about why you don't like your job so that you don't get fired. As you can see people lie in society all the time. If we were to have an honest society, well, I don't think society would collapse, but, much of it would.

Why do I think people lie? I think it's because of bad social skills. They don't know that it's better to tell the truth so they lie.

[edit on 20-4-2008 by Frankidealist35]

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