If we’re honest about it, we all lie. We’re good at calling it other things, rationalising it away and convincing ourselves that it’s not really lying. But it’s healthy sometimes just to sit down, front up, come clean and be truthful with yourself: “Self, I’m a liar”. There, doesn’t that feel better?
Unless you’re not of course, in which case you should first read this
What is lying?
There’s a rather spiffing list of lie types here, but a broad definition of a lie is any form of designed deception. Usually we associate a lie with written or oral communications, whether or not in essence they are truthful, that are designed to deceive. But the intent to deceive can be effected in a host of ways: A look, disposition, manipulating circumstances, releasing certain information while withholding certain other information.
You may think that for some professions and careers, the ability to lie is a prerequisite, but I couldn’t possibly comment. I don’t have to, it’s the stuff of Hollywood and any drama that reflects on real life. Everyone lies. But some forms of lying seem more insidious that others.
Why do we lie?
Some people lie more than others. Google this topic and there are many candid confessions! Is there such a thing as honourable lying? People lie for various reasons and some do seem more honourable than others. To protect others, to protect ourselves, for personal gain, out of fear.
Lying is a perversion of communication which undermines trust.
A lot of the time we know when we are being lied to. At times, we participate in the lie. We play along. It’s part of the mystery of human interaction. The ability to sniff out a lie is part of our survival equipment. Lies can cost us, financially, emotionally and in may other ways. Being able to spot them is a valuable skill.
While I only occasionally come across people that seem to be pathologically inclined to decorate the truth, I can think of only a handful of people, maybe only one or two, that I would classify as refreshingly honest. Casting caution to the wind, they speak the truth as they see it and it’s entertaining to be around them.
We need more people like them.
“An honest man’s the noblest work of God.”
Update 2012-05-04 | Nice article worth reading: Trust Me, I’m Lying