Without getting into too much of a theoretical debate on truth, it’s interesting sometimes to think about lies – the lies we tell ourselves and others, the lies we help propagate, the lies we shape our lives around. Whatever colour we decide to call it, a lie is a lie. The best definition I’ve found of a lie is: “a known untruth expressed as truth“. How many times in our lives have we all told a lie? And perhaps seemingly insignificant at the time, what impact did these lies have?
Let’s take a look at the least potent type of lie – the white lie. White lies are considered to be harmless, and some suggest that they may even be beneficial. Hey, what harm could a little lie really do? “Yeah, that dress looks great on you!”, or “I can’t come to your party, I’m sick.” White lies get us out of uncomfortable situations without initially hurting the other person’s feelings. And let’s face it, most of us appreciate hearing a kind word more than the perhaps difficult truth. Not telling the truth, however, always carries with it possible risks and uncontrollable consequences, no matter how small the lie. Let’s say that the lady you so kindly complimented wears the dress out to a party and receives raised eyebrows and incites whispers wherever she goes. She won’t be angry at herself for wearing the dress; she’ll be angry at you for not telling her that the dress was inappropriate. The friend whose party invitation you so kindly declined by saying that you are sick will still think that your friendship is strong and may still continue investing in that friendship. Even little white lies have consequences, just as the cold, hard truth would.
How much of our lives has been impacted and shaped by lies? Lies that have steered us ever so imperceptibly in one direction or another, leading us to the moment that we are in right now. Lies told by us, and lies told to us by others. “Yes, I finished all my homework.” … “No, we weren’t drinking.” … “I’m in love with you.”
Where would we be if we told and were told only the truth?