08 December 2005

Is a Satisfying Lie better than an Awful Truth?

When you realize you have made a mistake, would you trust the other person to forgive you and tell the truth? Or tell a satisfactory lie to avoid hurting the other person? Perhaps the most glorified virtue of our times has been ‘Telling the truth’. ‘Search for truth’. ‘Finding the truth’. When in reality, truth is just a point of view of a person, Family, Society or Country. A widely expected expectation of behavior. An accepted norm in society. Words like Morality, Ethics, Values and honesty can never be defined absolutely by someone since there are no absolutes about them. It is always tainted by prejudice and conditioned behaviors from our childhood.

Does that mean lying is a virtue? That depends on the intent of lying. When you get injured in a minor accident, do you tell your far-flung parents the truth? Or tell them a satisfactory lie that ‘You are OK!’? When you have a patient who is going to die in a week, do you tell him the truth or give him a satisfactory lie that he will get well soon and let him die happily? When you know you have cheated on your wife, do you tell your wife the truth and break her heart? Or do you tell her a satisfactory lie since you know you won’t do it again? (You definitely tell your wife so you fix the problem. You can’t trust yourself too much ;)). Kind Lies. Not hurting Lies. Safe lies that doesn’t alter the balance of things in your life.

To understand why people lie, we have to understand how people react to truth. There is usually a slap or two thrown around. Cussing. Cringing. Crabbing (that’s two hands holding ur neck and shaking vigorously). And finally a loud siren from deep throat that alerts all your neighbors to dial 911 asking for animal services, as they fear an unknown species has escaped from their local Zoo. Yes. Truth is awful. Truth Hurts (not the music band that remixed ‘Kaliyon Ka Chaman’ even though our guys stole back the stolen song with additional beats). People are just not equipped to handle the truth. Our parents protected us from harsh realities. Our government protects us from everyday terrorist threats. Your friends avoid confrontation by not telling the truth. It is our nature to get comfortable in new situations, new job, and new people in our lives, wanting to believe that we know them enough to feel safe in that environment. So when you learn the truth, it’s like applying brakes to your life. It takes time to restart your vehicle. Even worse, if you make another mistake before they have actually recovered from your previous admission of truth, you better LIE.

The fact is, in any situation, there are only FACTS. There are many hidden facts that both the parties involved do not know. And that’s the real truth. They never told those facts to each other in the first place. They lied and to cover it, they lied more. And one fine day (not the Michelle Pfeiffer-George Clooney Movie), all those lies fall down like a deck of cards and you go from King Size bed to small couch in living room (Unless it is a Sleeper Sofa).

So, Should you lie? Or tell the truth? Truth always triumphs. What they forgot to tell you is that it always triumphs, the first time. When you tell the truth often, it means you messed up each time. The only way out is not mess up in the first place. Messing up is like jumping off a cliff. The emotional high while falling down is exhilarating. Exciting. Even the view is better. But telling the truth is your parachute to land safely on ground. If you don’t, you will end up with a thud! Or you just have to lie to yourself that you are an aerial geologist exploring the type of soil!

Written on:Friday, 14 January 2005

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