Why do people lie? Why would they even bother? Is lying ever beneficial? Can it ever truly be justified, or is it just a waste of breath..? Interesting. You might find it surprising to learn that it is not just ‘bad’ or ‘unwholesome’ people who fabricate truth either…
It is everybody.
Promoters of the untruth are everywhere. From a mature and indeed, veracious standpoint lying appears such a puerile, ignorant practice and yet it is a deed undertaken by the young, the old and yes, even the intelligent among us.
Telling lies is something which is done, sometimes unthinkingly, by typical folk who imagine that to confess to the reality of a situation will result in them, or another, facing a less than desirable outcome. Here’s the folly with that: the majority of people, in the majority of scenarios, when it comes to it, will favour truth over the alternative.
I used to lie. I used to lie a lot. In my younger days it always seemed the easiest way to avoid life’s more difficult situations; to surmount those tricky obstacles. Then I woke up. Then I realized the truth. Where I thought that I was cleverly circumventing any issues dealt to me by carefully laying down a firm line of crap, I was really only compounding matters – sometimes for me; maybe for the next poor sucker to become entangled in my string of excrement.
My lies would always come back to bite me.
That is the true reality. Lying, no matter how trivial it may appear at first glance, will usually end up hurting someone in the long run. Fibbing, fabricating, sensationalising, bullshitting, telling a porky, being careless with; manipulating the truth – it’s all lying and it is all deplorable. Take this for example: two young women preparing for a night on the town. Of course each wants to look as alluring as they can. The first slides on a light summer dress hoping that the natural fall of the fabric will disguise her paunch; stands before a mirror and looks herself over, pleased with the result. She turns to her friend, a naturally slim girl who looks good in practically anything she wears and asks, “So, how do I look?”
The friend casually glances over her contemporary’s voluptuous figure, avoiding focusing on the noticeable protrusion, the result of too much wine coupled with not enough exercise, then with a air of forced agreeability to her voice replies, “Oh, honey, damn, you look fiiii-ine.”
This is an example of what is frequently referred to as a ‘white lie’. That is, a lie containing little substance and where nobody gets hurt. This is seldom the case though, is it? Substance or not, somebody usually winds up with their share of scarring.
Whether the slim girl is acting out of spite, wanting to look the better of the two, or whether she’s simply hoping to preserve her friend’s feelings by omitting the truth that is staring her in the face, when it comes to their night out, given that the girl with the paunch is largely unaware of her unwelcome protrusion, she might be more than a little put out by boorish men patting her belly and asking when she’s due.
Staying with that theme, here is an example of what I like to consider, a blame alleviator: a father comes home from work to find his wife along with his two boys frantically trying to clean up a pot plant that has been knocked from the windowsill and has smashed onto the carpet below. “What the hell happened here?!” is the father’s immediate reaction.
Two guilty young faces peer back at him while the mother continues cleaning.
“Well?!” the father demands again. “Is somebody going to explain this or do I have to assume it was Santa Claus, staggering drunk through the house a few months early?”
The eldest of the brothers, in fact the same one who had earlier knocked down the pot while demonstrating to his younger sibling his ability to perform unassisted headstands, stammers, “Ah, I dunno Dad, we just came home from school and found it like that…”
“Yeah Dad,” the younger sibling adds his reinforcement, “must’ve been the wind, must’ve blown the curtain, must’ve knocked it down or somethin…”
Unsatisfied but not willing to disbelieve his two fine boys, so willing to let the issue rest for now, the irascible man storms away.
Some weeks later the boys discover that the reason for their father’s bringing of divorce proceedings against their mother, is because he considered her leaving open the window which ultimately resulted in the permanent blemish on their new carpet, as the hammer which shattered the glass of their already tenuous relationship.
Few lies go totally unpunished.
There really is no reason in this life to ever lie. It might be a hackneyed old cliché but it’s damn well true: ‘The Truth Will Set You Free’. For most people, parents especially: ‘The Worst Truth is Better Than The Best Lie’.
The fallout from your lies might not directly affect you but regardless of size, irrespective of magnitude, rest assured, your lies are hurting someone.
That is the truth.
Article by Mit Reklaw
Edited by Izzy Freele
Foreword by R U Shore
Photography by Noah S Bullocks
Cover by Ura Fuller-Shyte
‘The Worst Truth…’ quote, courtesy of Debbie Kell