The Obsession With Truth

I’m not suggesting that insincerity is desirable and often it’s not even easily excusable – nor is breaking promises a nice thing to do, but then we’re all human (well, most of us are) and humans are far from perfect, aren’t they?

However, in my view, honesty and truth really aren’t the same thing. Some people think they are and those individuals are of course entitled to their opinion, but anyone who doesn’t lie (almost continuously in daily life) is considered by the bulk of society to be dysfunctional and yet a thief is undoubtedly dishonest by most people’s standards, so where does that leave such holier than thou attitudes?

From the day we begin to learn to talk, we also start learning to lie – and that’s taught to us by our parents! Take a look at this great and very funny article here from PJ – one of the many lovely, interesting and (as far as I can tell) honest people I come across as a blogger. I know it’s obvious – it’s not lying to be considerate to others, is it? It’s not telling a lie for a child to “keep it to him/herself” when he/she sees a fat lady, or gentleman, is it? Your child needs to be taught to be considerate and to ask out of earshot why such and such a person is so fat. An adult saying such things would be awful and they’re not fat anyway, are they? They’re large, or bigger, or well pounded, or well built, or even obese, or any of the other disingenuous euphemisms we use to describe someone who is “in truth” – fat!

So there’s a world of difference between not saying to someone’s face that you think they’re fat and a guy telling his wife that he’s working late when he’s actually screwing their next door neighbour, isn’t there? Isn’t there? I mean, he’s not really keeping the truth from her because he still loves her in many ways – just not in that special way anymore – is he?

I mean, you’re honest and truthful, aren’t you? You wouldn’t break into someone’s house and steal their TV and you wouldn’t lie and say, “Oh yes. Well done!” to Mrs. Jones when she enthusiastically tells you how well her new diet is going and she looks considerably fatter to you than she did last week, would you? Well, I’m as sure as I can be that you wouldn’t steal the TV, but the lie? Now there I think you’d probably do what you’d see as being kind – because you are kind.

So I think there’s a whole load of bullshit talked about truth – there is no such thing as a definitive truth about most things… only our individual and highly subjective version of it and we all move the line we cross (or don’t) between telling what we see as truth and being a little deceitful in what we decide at the time are the best interests of others. Even the truth of an “affair” can be subjective… what a wife (or husband) may see as an affair, the husband (or wife) may see as a bit of a naughty diversion that his/her partner doesn’t need to know about and be hurt over. It may not be strictly “right” as many of us would see it, but we really shouldn’t be so damned judgmental as many of us are about such things, should we?

We all lie – even (especially??) to ourselves!

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4 Responses to “The Obsession With Truth”

  1. Very good and thought provoking post.

  2. Mmmmm, of course in theory what you say is correct and by thinking this way we can make excuses for anything we do. I think, unless you are a sociopath or someone with a borderline personality we all generally know where to draw the line when it comes to deceiving someone. I see a world of difference between telling someone they are not fat when we know they are as opposed telling your partner you are working when really your showing the next door neighbour your party tricks. A lie is a lie and we can talk ourselves into believing its anything but if we want to.

    When people use the line, I didnt tell them because I didnt want to hurt them, only means, I didnt tell them becaue I ddnt think I would get caught. That is why I like Aussies, we put our foot in it and tend to be too upfront about things. so we insult people regularly but least you know where we stand with each other. I truly hope I never deceive someone to the point they hurt badly. And that is the way I choose to live my life. If that is malignantly naive then so be it. An authentic life is the best way. And you know I would always forgive someone who was man enough to come out with the truth and be open in his communication. And yes, I agree we do lie ever day, all of us in very different ways but the majority of us do know where the line in the sand is drawn. Yeah I am hoping to be canonised the second Saint in Oz, lol!

    • Well, I sort of agree – but then you said it – “a lie is a lie” – it is or it isn’t!

      I don’t agree that “I didn’t want to hurt them” is untrue – it may sometimes be a euphamism for I haven’t got the guts to face hurting them” but I think it’s still often true, but I do get what you mean of course. It’s a simple fact that a MAJORITY of BOTH sexes cheat and, directly or indirectly, do it and say it.

      In a hundred years, we’ll most of us wonder why we ever bothered with ideas of fidelity and all the deviousness it created. You being the bright young thing you are, you can raise a glass of wine to my memory one day and say, “The old bastard was right after all,” when you realise that has happened.

      I’m also quite certain that future generations will discuss “Saint Lilly” 😉

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