All but the truth
Lying is a tricky tactic to deal with. And frankly, it’s just as tricky to always be 100% honest. Not lying is almost inevitable, it’s difficult to avoid, and somehow manages to sneak up on us. We often blame ourselves for this immoral act, yet it’s really not entirely our fault. Then who? Your parents? No, they aren’t the only ones responsible, however they are mostly the reason we do this. Growing up, we watched and observed our parents lie. Something as simple as lying about the ages of their kids to pass the qualifications to get a kid’s meal at a restaurant. Or, whether or not they actually like the gift they had gotten for Christmas. Or maybe they got invited for a night out with their friends they don’t exactly like, and replied with “Sorry, the kids are sick. Rain Check?” We weren’t sick.
Lying is known to change as we get older. That is, what we lie about and what the hidden purposes are. As young children, we often lie to avoid having to sit in the corner, or as shown in the study exposed in Po Bronsons “Learning to Lie”, children would often lie in order to receive a prize or reward of some sort. In this same article, is showed what teens lie about: when they started dating, what they spend their allowance on, or whether or not they had a few alcoholic drinks at their friends house.
One factor that I believe contributes to why we lie, is the expectations others place on us. This could mean what our parents expect from us, or even what our friends or teachers expect. One I’d like to reiterate on is our teachers. They especially put expectations on us, and it starts from the first day of school when they hand out a sheet of expectations, to be signed by our parents. They expect us to hand in all of our assignments, on time, they expect us to pass all the tests and quizzes they administer, without cheating. Now I’m not here to say expectations are completely irrational, but I’d like to emphasize the idea that there’s a lot they want from us, and when we can’t handle it, we lie our way out of it. “I left my notebook at home” “My printer broke” Or even the classic, “My dog ate my homework”. And, with test taking, comes cheating. Cheating in itself, is essentially lying. Upon receiving a grade for a test, it’s a symbol of what you earned. By looking off of someone else’s paper and recording the same exact answer down, is not at all something you earned. And same goes for plagiarism. When you hand in an assignment, whether it be a worksheet for homework or an essay, you put your name on top of the paper. That, is a lie. Those answers you wrote down are not one bit yours, all credit goes to the supplier. That’ll never happen though, for it’s supposed to be done individually.
Continuing on the topic of grades, I also think that competitiveness ties in with lying. An example of a minuscule lie, would be when your friend gets a 92 on a test, and then proceeds to ask what you got, “95”, you reply, when in reality you got a 86. Perhaps you failed a quiz that your parents had constantly nagged you to study for. The only thing you can do is pick a number, preferably one within the range of 80–100. They reply with a smile, and continue on with their business. You don’t want to look like a fool, or unintelligent, or wrong, so let’s just make things up; seems to work. Or, how about another debatable topic; how the success of professional athletes are achieved. They want to be the best player, not only on their team, but in their entire league. And upon breaking world records, or scoring those last minute points, they’re questioned in a follow up interview, “How do you do it?” And they reply with something along the lines of, “Hard work, practice, and devotion”, you know, something people want to here. Is that all it took? No, because later to find out that Performance enhanced drugs played a very important role…
And you know what? Lawyers, judges, detectives — all have jobs simply because someone can’t bear to tell the truth. They call themselves innocent — last time I checked, murdering someone is all but an act of innocence. Hypothetically speaking, imagine everyone told the truth? Many would be out of jobs. Interesting, how we need people to go to college and get degrees just to differientate the difference between what’s a lie and what isn’t. It almost acts as justification, knowing that you have someone who can lie even better than you. The world functions around liars and the myths they create, always has and always will. May I add, that lawyers are one of the highest paying jobs, and, that the more successful one is, the higher income they receive. In some cases that means the better you are at lying: the more money you can make. Speaks for itself.
All in all, lying is inevitable; everyone does it, and some that we say are subconsciously created. Whether the lies’ intentions are for flattery or for competition, we still do it. Lies, in fact, can often be the response you want to hear, as opposed to the truth. “The truth hurts, doesn’t it?” you spit in someones face. But, why? Truth is, the truth sucks; it’s often the exact opposite of what we want to hear. So, we lie. And we often build around it, making it bigger than we initially planned it to be. Is there any way to stop this? Most likely not, however there are bound to be ways to reduce the chances of creating these lies. But, we’ll save that for another day.