Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Is lying always bad?

I read something interesting on Bryan's blog today. He and Derek were tossing around this idea and I thought I'd throw in my two cents.

Situation 1:
You tell a lie and hurt someone in the process. This could be by gossipping, backbiting, or just plain old competition. I'm sure everyone would agree that this is bad.

Situation 2:
You tell a lie to get ahead in some way. You get personal gain, and no one is hurt in the process. As an example of this one I'll share a story about one of my co-workers. Sometimes when I'd be kickin it in his office talking, one of his superiors would walk in and ask him if he'd started writing a report/doing and analysis/checking with another team member. Almost everytime he'd answer in the affirmative, making him look like a really good employee. I was always so impressed by how on top of everything he seemed to be, and once complimented him on this after his boss had left. He turned to me and laughed it off saying he hadn't even started and wouldn't do so for a week or two. He looked good to his boss, but in my eyes I couldn't trust the guy at all, or anything he said to me. This to me is bad...this lie means you have no integrity and your word means nothing.

So now the question is what if you lie, gain from it, don't hurt anyone in the process and no one finds out? Well, I guess this boils down to a question of conscience. And a question of nature vs nurture. I'll let you stew on that one.


Situation 3:
You tell a lie to spare someone's feelings. This is gray area for me. This is a situation where the "end justifies the means" but makes me wonder...does it really? Sure, you've made someone feel better, but isn't thats a false sense of security you've instilled? It isn't reality and it isn't how you really feel. If we are to be guided by the strict rules of complete honesty...where even omission, misdirection, and half truths are considered to be lying shouldn't we tell it how it really is? Does sugar coating things just end up making things worse when the outer shell wears away and people are shocked to find the sour core of truth?

Situation 4:
You tell a lie because you don't like the truth. This is the one that I've fallen into the most. I don't want people to know my faults. I don't want them to see my short comings, failures or frailties, so I'll tell a half truth to present a slightly different impression of myself. This probably isn't the best, because it isn't the truth, but is it really bad?

8 comments:

brittany said...

i think about this a LOT. i agree that lying to make yourself look better is just wrong, whether or not anybody finds out. i also don't think it's okay to lie to spare somebody's feelings, but i HATE it when people use "honesty" as an excuse for being mean or rude or for hurting people. (there's a lot of gray area in there, though.)

Maggie said...

I think I would fall into the lieing to save someone's feelings. If indeed omission is a lie then I do this A LOT. Well also, shading the truth to make it seem less harsh. I feel that somethings just don't need to be said and thus I don't say them. Maybe it's wrong to do this, but I would rather have someone be happy. Plus, nine times out of ten my opinion or the facts of the situation change. A lot of things that would be a big deal when they happen aren't so much about a week and a half later. I know this has gotten me into trouble sometimes and that some people think that this is something I shouldn't do, but I do it anyway and that's the truth of the matter.

brittany said...

hey, i love your new format! how did you do that? i've been trying to figure out how to change mine for weeks now. pretty cool looking.

Katie said...

Britt- you have to go into your template and monkey around with it. It looks a lot like programming in C, so I'm sure you'll pick it up really fast. I just went through the template and deleted everything one at a time to see what each chunk of code controled. Then, I went to http://colormatch.dk/ and mixed until I got the color I wanted. You put that color number in the line of code after background (if you want to change the backgrounds) or after font (if you want to change the font colors)

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that situations #2 and #4 are the same senario. #2 just has your coworker doing the fibbing and in #4 you are doing the fibbing. Ever think that maybe your co-worker fibs because he doesn't like the truth of the fact that he is a slacker? Just a thought.

Katie said...

Good point. That didn't even occur to me. The only difference I see between the two is that he's doing it in the professional realm and I fudge the truth (to make it funnier/more exciting) in my personal life.

Eddie said...

When I go to Radio Shack to buy a battery and they ask for my phone number, I give them the number for time and temperature. I don't want those people calling me, even if they say they won't.

Ironically, the number was already in their system, so apparently I am not alone. Sometimes I give my main office number.

Eddie said...

And yes, nice template mods...

A bit of advice: Copy your existing template to a Word or text file before you make any changes, in case you blow something up.

I speak from experience on blowing up blogger templates.