I lie each and every single day from the moment I arise to the time I retire to sleep. I am not alone. Anyone who professes not to lie is a liar.
The alarm sounds, for me I awake to the gentle sounds of ocean waves. I hit the button and clamber out of that warm and comforting den I've created under the mound of covers. The first sensation I feel is Josie, my dog, licking my ankle. I reach over and ruffle her furry head and tell her, "Ooo da fweetist doggie ever was". Gawd but she needs a bath and smells to high heaven!!
Is lying to animals justifiable?
After much convincing my body responds enough to dress and feed itself before I go to work. Once there, my fellow coworkers always inquire as to my state; "How's Susan this morning?" they ask. "If I was any better I'd be twins", I reply. No matter if I'm dragging butt dead tired, nursing a headache, or cursing menstrual cramps, I always am 'Fine'. That old rhyme, "how are you is a greeting not a question, don't tell your friends about your indigestion" has been my motto for untold numbers of years.
Is lying to avoid needless complaining justifiable?
Someone breaks something of mine and I tell him or her it's okay so that they won't feel badly. Someone brings me cookies and I tell them they are great, when in reality they oddly taste like mothballs. A friend forgets my birthday and I laugh it off and tell them it didn't hurt my feelings.
I make excuses to people on occasion if I'm invited someplace I really don't want to go. Can I really tell them the truth that I'd sooner spend an afternoon being bitten by killer mosquitoes than go shopping?
Is lying to coddle feelings justifiable?
"I was stuck in traffic", "I didn't realize I was speeding", "The dog ate my homework", "Yes, you were the best I ever had", "No, I didn't have a facelift".
Is lying to save face (pun excluded) justifiable?
Obviously there are all manners of 'white lies' that can be told and not cause a negative effects. Does this make it 'good' lying and allowable, or does it simply make you a liar, as vile and despicable as if you'd cheated or stolen? It is entirely possible to manipulate words in such a manner so as to make them seem truthful. I once confronted my mother who claimed to have quit smoking, a habit I detest considering my father died from lung cancer. She said, "I'm not smoking". When I proved her to be lying, her response was that at the exact moment she was standing before me, she was 'not smoking'.
Politicians lie (duh), Doctors lie ("this won't hurt a bit"), Lawyers lie ("my client is innocent"), Teachers lie, Fishermen lie ("It was THIS big") even Clergy lie. Are these lies less important than the lies of criminals and thieves by virtue of coming from a more 'important' mouth? Or is a lie a lie?
I would not call in sick to my employer if I was not, I would not cheat or steal from you, I would not create any falsehood that would hurt you, I would not make an untrue claim for personal gain, nor would I deceive you in any way that would violate your trust in me.
However, it has been my experience that lies begat lies. If you invent a story you will eventually get caught. It is nearly physically and mentally impossible to maintain the facts in their original form over the course of time. You will screw up and find yourself telling another lie to cover the original lie in order to not be discovered. History has proven my contention that smaller incidents grow into larger incidents, snowballing as they move forward.
Theoretically then, if you become comfortable telling small inconsequential lies, you will naturally progress towards the big ones.
It that is so, I am doomed, for I am the queen of placation, I would do anything at all to protect the feelings of my friends, loved ones and apparently pets. Whatever untruth, whatever manipulation that must occur to make someone else feel better, as long as it does not hurt another, will spill from my lips.
If you believe that lying is never okay, then I have broken one of the Ten Commandments. If you believe in the Ten Commandments, then I am a sinner. If you believe that sinners are punished then I shall surely go to hell.
But as for me, I'm comfortable with it.
And that's the truth!
Some interesting conversation on the philosophy of lying can be found here: If nothing else you will leave scratching your head at this attempt to decipher the 'Liars Paradox'
A good article about lying on Internet chat!