by Dr. Sharon R. Bonds
“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive with a lie!”
What is Lying?
As always, let’s start with the definition of lying. Merriam-Webster defines lying as:
To make an untrue statement with intent to deceive
To create a false or misleading impression
By the definition it is clear that in order to create a lie there has to be the intent to deceive. Is there some wiggle room then for a falsehood to not be a lie? To even begin to understand the reasons why we lie let’s list the probable categories of lies:
Tall Tales and Jokes: Have you heard these before? I have – from kids. How about jokes? Most of those are exaggerated or even half-truths. Most of those are said with no intention of deceit.
False statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood. Something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture:
an inaccurate or false statement.
A fabrication is a lie told when someone submits a statement as truth, without knowing for certain whether or not it actually is true. Although the statement may be possible or plausible, it is not based on fact. Rather, it is something made up, or it is a misrepresentation of the truth. Examples of fabrication: "The light was cut off by me when I left the room", or "I did turn the bathroom facets off ".
A bold-faced (often also referred to as bare-faced or bald-faced but have slightly different meanings) lie is one which is told when it is obvious to all concerned that it is a lie. For example, a child who has chocolate all around his mouth and denies that he has eaten any chocolate is a bold-faced liar or getting caught with your hands in the cookie jar when you where told not to go into the jar and then you lie and say, “Oh, I’m just counting the cookies.”
"Lying by omission"
One lies by omission by omitting an important fact, deliberately leaving another person with a misconception. Lying by omission includes failures to correct pre-existing misconceptions. A husband may tell his wife he was out at a store, which is true, but lie by omitting the fact that he also visited his mistress, although it is disputable whether or not this is actually a lie. In most cases, the person has not directly denied a truth, but merely omitted some part of what transpired.
A lie-to-children is a lie, often a platitude which may use euphemism(s), which is told to make an adult subject acceptable to children. A common example is "The stork brought you" (in reference to childbirth).
A white lie would cause no discord if it were uncovered, and offers some benefit to the liar, the hearer, or both. White lies are often used to avoid offense, such as complimenting something one finds unattractive. In this case, the lie is told to avoid the harmful realistic implications of the truth. As a concept, it is largely defined by local custom and cannot be clearly separated from other lies with any authority.
A noble lie is one which would normally cause discord if it were uncovered, but which offers some benefit to the liar and assists in an orderly society, therefore potentially beneficial to others. It is often told to maintain law, order and safety. A noble lie usually has the effect of helping an elite maintain power.
Pretending to have a capability or intention which one does not actually possess. Bluffing is an act of deception which is rarely seen as immoral, because it takes place in the context of a game where this kind of deception is consented to in advance by the players. For instance, a gambler who deceives other players into thinking he has different cards to those which he really holds, or an athlete who indicates he will move left and then actually dodges right, is not considered to be lying. In these situations, deception is accepted and indeed expected as a tactic.
A misleading statement is one where there is no outright lie, but there still remains the purpose of making someone believe in an untruth. "Dissembling" likewise implies presenting facts in a way that is literally true, but intentionally misleading.
Propaganda is the dissemination of information aimed at influencing the opinions or behaviors of large numbers of people. As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda in its most basic sense presents information in order to influence its audience.
Propaganda often presents facts selectively (thus lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or gives loaded messages in order to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the attitude toward the subject in the target audience to further a political agenda.
Bullshit (also bullcrap, bullplop, horseshit, bullbutter) is a common English expletive. It may be shortened to "bull" or the euphemism B.S. The term is common in American English. In British English, bollocks is a comparable expletive, although bullshit is now a commonly used expletive in British English as well.
As with many expletives, it can be used as an interjection (or in many other parts of speech) and can carry a wide variety of meanings. Most commonly, it is used in connection with incorrect, misleading, or false language and statements. While the word is generally used in a deprecating sense, it may imply a measure of respect for language skills, or frivolity, among various other benign usages.
We’ve all heard these famous quotes; (I am sure there are more)
“If you lie you will steal, and if you steal you will kill and if you will kill you will do anything.”
“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything”
“If you tell the truth it will set you free”
Scream, “LIE” when you perceive the individual is lying.
“Once you tell a lie, you have to lie to cover up that lie, and eventually you believe your lie to be the truth”
“Liar, liar, pants on fire”
“You lie like a rug”
“If you tell one lie you have to tell 99 more.”
And if you are religious, “Lie and you will go straight to Hell”
“All lairs will have there part in the lake of fire.”
“God hears you lying”
“God’s going to curse you for lying”
So what happens when one tells a lie? Well I believe that it all depends on the type of Lie! (Wow I can't believe that I said that!). Lies, no matter what size, length, duration or reason binds the individual that telling them with the responsibility to tell another lie to cover up the existing lie that’s one of the binding mechanisms that goes with a lie. There is a disconnection, as well as a loss of respect that takes place when you lie. Also, the lies keep piling up, winding, twisting, building and binding. A true friend will tell you the truth no matter how much it hurts to keep the relationship free and unbounded with the pressures that a lie, or should I say lies cause. When a lie is exposed or revealed it feels as if a weight is being lifted off the lairs shoulder and guest what?.....in most, if not all cases the lies was unnecessary, really didn’t matter because the person that they where lying to all ready knew the truth. Lies keep you bound by fear, but rather the fear of the truth coming out. The weight of a lie causes confusion, anger, fear, uncertainty, stress, depression, non-commitment due to the concealment while it weakens you spiritually due to the amount of unnecessary energy used to cover up that lie and the disconnection that it causes. Lies manifest itself through the lair’s physical and mental body that’s why lie detector test that focuses on the physical changes that determines that the individual is lying is so popular. Lie detectors can't empirically determine whether or not someone is telling the truth. They can only measure physiological changes in someone's breathing rate, pulse, blood pressure, and perspiration level. When people lie, these measurements tend to rise.
When a lie is told intentionally to the masses is where I have a very serious problem, especially when it is directed at someone I care about. Unfortunately these types of lies do have their purpose: “to discredit an individual”, "to take someone down", "to make the teller feel good". I can tell you from my personal experience; it doesn’t feel very good when this happens to you! So just tell the truth and be free, light and full of energy.
What are some of the consequences of lying? What can it do to a friendship,
to a marriage, or to a family? What will happen if you lie?
Imagine for a moment a world where everyone lied constantly. In such a world, you would never be able to trust anything that anyone said to you. There would be no schools because no one would believe anything the teacher said. There would be no business because you would never be able to trust your suppliers or customers to carry out their part of the bargains. There would be no marriages because marriage is based on a covenant and you would not be able to trust your spouse to remain faithful for a moment. Ultimately, love would not exist in such a world because love is founded on trust. "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." It’s all about love and love will make you tell the truth!
It is a question whether lies are considered good or not. In most situations, telling a lie seems to be one of the dominant factors why strong relationship among people breaks down. It is when love and trust fade until everyone who is involved emanates a feeling of hatred in the heart. Might as well, telling a lie would mean rejection, maltreatment or misjudgment. Telling a lie is a sin. Any lie that you tell undermines your position with God and your fellow man. But, the question is, is it a perfect ground to judge someone else or put him on shame? I have considered some situations where telling a lie is involved. Trying to weigh and balance, I have concluded that telling a lie is definitely bad when someone has a hidden agenda or negative purpose. For example, a person who denies himself from stealing something and pinpoints another to let others believe that he is not the culprit but somebody else. In a situation where a person lies to displace himself from investigation and verdict or punishment, or lies to save someone from such, is not good. Someone would also lie to get rid of being scorned or belittled. Someone lies to hide something from within. For example, a person pretends to be self sufficient or rich maybe to maintain a good relationship with friends or to displace himself from rejection or disdain. On the other hand, though most of lies are perceived as bad, they are also considered good. Perhaps, someone would lie to protect himself from death, threats or from other dangerous elements. For example, a person who is haunted by the killers would of course, not tell where he dwells to escape from death. The last example perhaps, is a concrete explanation why sometimes a person has to lie. But in most situations where a lie is involved, would you agree that it is good? All of us lie sometimes. But, if we are trying to maintain a good relationship with the people around us, we ought to tell the truth. Every word counts and every true word that comes out is an important thing to avoid misunderstanding and maintain the love and trust of somebody else. No harm in telling the truth. No amount of scorn, or misjudgment to bother us as long as we believe that telling the truth would benefit us and the people around.
Imagine what the world would be like if everyone loves and helped there neighbor…it would be a peaceful loving universe filled with honesty, no lies because love will not allow you to lie.
This article is copyrighted.
Copyright © The Library of Congress 2011