For years I have had debates with friends around the concept that the truth is irrelevant and today I was stuck by the concept of a lie.
“The truth is found when men are free to pursue it.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
If the truth is irrelevant then a lie may not exist unless the delivery is intended as a lie.
“A lie can run around the world before the Truth has got its boots on!” – The Truth by Terry Pratchett
I have had a number of people in my life who I perceive of as lying. When you encounter this sort of problem you, over time, find a way to reduce interaction with those people as much as possible. However there are two people I know, whom I perceive to lie on a regular basis, that through circumstance I cannot remove from my life. This becomes a real test of my ability to control my emotional responses to these events I class as lies.
Knowing that everything in life is about how we perceive it and reality is completely subjective I can understand that they do not perceive that they are in point of fact lying. Indeed what is a lie:
a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth – http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lie
If we agree some level of intent is needed then some understanding from the speaker must exist for there to be an actual lie. Indeed even when completely caught in the lie – a person’s mind can have an almost self healing property where they remember things completely differently. Napolean Hill once noted a man who tells himself a lie enough times will believe it to be true. This occurs even when all is evidenced & documented by email etc. It may be akin to the strange psychological phenomenon affecting women who give birth stating to never be pregnant again yet have changed her mind by the time the baby is 3 or 6 months old. Ladies seem to be psychologically bolstered against the memory of how taxing it was. I may be wrong but I believe men remember this experience differently – from my personal experience.
So when is a lie, wrong and when is it all perception and misinterpretation. If you go through life able to charm your way into getting what you want, could it be perceived by others as you lying to progress. If so it may be you lying within their reality but not your own. Hence does intent to deceive exist?
Within some of the work I do we constantly have people who say everything correctly and become liked due to what they say they are going to achieve, yet 6 months or a year later no evidence emerges to back up the claims. Those who liked that person initially and supported the claims do not remember the events as my reality interprets them. Has this person lied? Does the behaviour appear wrong? Or more likely I am placing my own interpretation on the events?
In interviewing those who ooze character charm and say what the panel want to hear are the one’s who get the job, the position may be better suited to the person who cannot communicate as socially and comes across as stifled or socially awkward. Indeed in certain jobs the person with Autism or Asperger Syndrome may excel over another potential employee.
However my perception of integrity involves not saying I will achieve something that I don’t intend or saying I will have something completes earlier than I can. Does this hamper me in progressing in the ways of the world? Could my integrity hold me up or is that all about how I generate my reality as well?
Is it wrong to make promises you have no intention of fulfilling, or do I perceive this as lying when I am actually incorrect to do so? Clearly those making the promises believe they are acting with integrity, so am I creating a reality that is overly sensitive? Do we need to lie in certain circumstances to progress? Certainly many people have talked the talk and got the support to proceed with a venture easily due to saying the right things, where others conservative in claims would be quizzed extensively before support is, if ever, given.
Does the concept of a white lie absolve responsibility for their actions. In my experience when someone admits to a white lie others would not always perceive it in the same way. So the liar has not seen themselves as lying as the concept of the white lie has given them the excuse to create the reality that the lie was justified.
“Does my bum look big in these jeans?” – the honest answer is yes but the lie of “no” is expected and even knowing it is a lie, accepted. Hence this may not be perceived as a lie but a necessary method of approach to a comfortable life for both parties.
And so the point – If someone lies but they really cannot perceive the issues of doing this then it may not be a lie but a character trait. If it is a character trait can it be considered a disability that we should treat with soft gloves? I have much experience of being unable in some of these cases to mention that the person lied because they will use the guise of being terribly offended at the accusation to distract and bulldoze past it. This is in itself a character issue, and all these conversations wind in on themselves as we link to the posts on taking personal responsibility for your emotional state etc.
So calling someone on a lie is in English society not really done as offence often follows. This offence may be a mechanism to psychologically blunt the information out and throw reciprocation to hide the issue, however it may well be that they do not perceive they lied. Either way some repetition in their stance and their reality will form around the truth as they perceive it.
We create our own reality, you are what you believe and you choose what side of the road you are on ………….