Monday, August 14, 2006

I will not lie to you

"Who never sold the truth to serve the hour,
Nor paltered with Eternal God for power."
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), poet laureate, eulogizing the Duke of Wellington.
[palter - 1. To talk or act in an insincere or deceitful manner, 2. To haggle]

Regarding lying, the choice is between saying that lying is wrong, fundamentally wrong, hurtful, deceptive and ultimately even "white lies" cause more harm than good, and saying that lying is sometimes acceptable (usually so that the truth will not hurt the feelings of the person who is lied to) and having the boundaries of white lies expand to infinity.

I submit that we have been lied to so often by so many people (parents, religions, advertising agencies, employers, politicians) that these powerful forces have brainwashed us into believing that lying is sometimes the best route to take.

It isn't. It never is. People whose feelings are hurt when someone tells them the truth have become accustomed to being lied to. That kind of self deception does not make lying right. Self deception makes for screwed up lives.

The world revolves around lies. It does. No question. But the world has an unbelievably large number of people whose lives are messed up (some are in prison) because they learned that lying is acceptable. They may even have learned that lying is profitable.

In China, some people commit the most outrageous frauds to take money from other people. When they are caught, they may be executed. Untold numbers "disappear" each year. Yet the numbers of frauds commited each year in China has not decreased because of this "deterrent."

Some people must be brave enough to draw the line and say that perpetual lying, deceiving others for our own gain or to make ourselves feel better, will stop with me. I will teach my descendents that lying is wrong. They will, in turn, teach their own children and grandchildren.

If being truthful gives many people more secure lives knowing that they can trust others around them, this will be a quality that will work like natural selection. Eventually it will spread around the world.

I will tell the truth, no matter how brutal you may find it. You will recover and eventually realize that you can trust and believe someone who will tell the truth under any circumstances.

Pass it on.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to set the world back up on its feet again and take its ego out of the mud.
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