Saturday, September 19, 2020

Why people lie…

People tell a considerable number of lies in every day conversation. Although they are something people frown upon, they are not all heartless.

“A lie, also called prevarication, is a type of deception in the form of an untruthful statement, especially with the intention to deceive others, often with the further intention to maintain a secret or reputation, protect someone’s feelings or to avoid a punishment,” according to Wikipedia.
Lies can be divided into three types: beneficial, spiteful and neutral lies.
Beneficial lies usually mean to help. They are told out of kindness and people benefit from them. They help to avoid hurt, sadness, insult and impersonality.

Spiteful lies mean to gain benefit and hurt people. They may come in the form of deceit or rumour.

Neutral lies are meant nothing and are much simpler. When asked about private things, people may avoid answering the truth by telling a lie. This does no harm to both sides and is a protection to privacy.

Not all lies are harmful. In fact, sometimes lying is the best approach for protecting privacy and ourselves and others from malice. Some deception, such as boasting and lies in the name of tact and politeness can be classified as less than serious.
Lies are told by humans. This doesn’t mean we’re all horrid people. People lie because they cannot face the truth for whatever reason. In the end, whatever the reason may be, there is not one good reason enough to lie in the first place. Sometimes you are digging your own grave!

Other reasons why people lie are to benefit others; to affiliate, for privacy, to avoid conflict being the main one, to appear better, to protect one’s self and not to harm others.
The author, Gail Saltz, wrote that people start lying at around age four to five when children gain an awareness of the use and power of language.

“Eventually children begin to use lying to get out of trouble or get something they want. We often call these folks pathological liars, which is a description but not a diagnosis. They lie to protect themselves, look good, gain financially or socially and avoid punishment,” she said.

Saltz continued her study about people who lie a lot, the most troubling group being those who knowingly lie for personal gain. “These people may have a diagnosis called antisocial personality disorder, also known as being a sociopath, and often get into scrapes with the law,” she said.

For example, less honesty is expected from politicians than from scientists, because there is a vision of purity about research, than what politicians do to shade the truth about themselves in order to get elected.

Why do we dislike liars?

It’s a matter of trust. When a person lies, they have broken a bond; an unspoken agreement to treat others as we would like to be treated. Because the issue of trust is on the line, coming clean about the lie as soon as possible is the best way to mend fences.

If the truth only comes out once it is forced, repair of trust is far less likely. As a parent, the most important message you can send your children about lying is that you always, always want them to come clean with you.

Some of the various types of lies are fabrication; this is told when someone submits a statement as truth, without knowing for certain whether or not it is actually true. Then, there is a bold faced lie which is told when it is obvious to all concerned that it is a lie.

A lie to children, which is told to make an adult subject acceptable to children whilst white lies are often used to avoid offense, such as complimenting something one finds unattractive.

A noble lie is one which would normally cause discord if it were uncovered, but which offers some benefit to the liar and assist in an orderly society, therefore potentially beneficial to others.

Lastly, an emergency lie which is a strategic lie told when the truth may not be told because, for example, harm to a third party would result. For example, a neighbour might lie to an enraged wife about the whereabouts of her unfaithful husband.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.