To lie or not to lie. (That is the question.)

I am still allowed my opinion.


Sitting under swaying palm trees in the tropical sun with a cool drink in my hand, and listening to the breakers gently rolling in, I was, not surprisingly, in a rather dreamy mood. I got to thinking about creation/design and what a great job had been done with humans. My first thoughts were about physical articulation. How could we have been designed any better? It is hard to think of anything that could have improved us, apart from flying, there is not much we cannot do. We are truly an amazing design.

I then got to thinking about mental articulation, again we are quite amazing. We can see in three dimensions, can hear, speak, smell, taste and have the sensation of pleasure and pain. We can debate with consummate ease, we have amazing memories. We can be compassionate understanding charitable and caring, and we can produce wonderful writing and music. Is there anything wrong? Then it occurred to me (yes there is).

I hold that the programming error (if that is the correct phrase) is our ability to tell lies. Why on earth were we designed/created/evolved, whatever your thoughts may be, with this ability? It seems to me that most problems in the world, both in the past and now, were, and are, caused by people lying. Most conflicts both national, and local, are caused by people lying. Most social and family problems are caused by people lying. People generally lie to protect themselves regardless of the torment and hurt they cause others.

I have been involved in three road accidents. In the first I pulled out in front of a car driven by a lady. She could not avoid running into the side of my vehicle. I immediately admitted responsibility, (I had caused the accident) it was all sorted out very quickly. On the other two occasions, I was run into by male drivers, both lied their heads off to avoid any blame. These two guys caused me no end of aggravation and upset, and it took a long time to resolve the cases in my favour. One of the guys even claimed we had had a head on crash. Fortunately I had photographic evidence to prove he had run into the side of my car. These two guys were blatant uncaring liars. I won’t tell you what I wished for them—but hopefully they are still being troubled by extremely painful rear departments.

I am sure you will have similar experiences of bad situations caused by people who lie to protect themselves regardless of the distress and upset they cause others. Just think if we were programmed not to lie. Wouldn’t life be so much better? Why do people lie then? I am not talking here about ‘white lies’ to children about tooth fairies, Santa Claus and gooseberry bushes.

People lie to gain advantage that they do not deserve.
People lie to elevate their status.
People lie to get out of trouble by implicating others.
Many leaders and politicians blatantly lie.
Dishonest people are perhaps the worst liars of all.

We breathe without any conscious effort—surely we could have been designed not to lie without any conscious effort. (To always tell the truth).

I for one would be happy to see the end to all lies. Then we would be able to live without the doubt and uncertainty we quite often have when people tell us things. I am a very trusting person, but have been let down so many times by liars.

That was really the only thing I could come up with whilst relaxing in the sun; overall I think we are quite an incredible design. There was one other thing that came to mind but I will leave that for maybe another time…

© gerry 2023
critique and comments welcome.
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gerry, I take it this is the article you were referring to and it is interesting. I’m too up to the eyes in preparing for a Craft Fair this week to give this my best attention; I’ll come back to it. 🙂 Elfstone


I’m back and had another read through. There is much that is thought provoking here, although I can’t agree with all of it. This for instance, “Most conflicts both national, and local, are caused by people lying” — I think most conflict is born of selfishness and greed, in an unholy combination. The whole business of why family members treat each other the way they do is an enormous, vexed question and would be (maybe has already been) a good subject for a PhD thesis. Elf.

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Santa Claus is not a lie, it is something else, in fact it actually says what can eliminate untruthfulness – sometimes a beautiful lie with a not only noble but also well-thought-out cause is better than the ugly truth without any plan.
i also prefer truth just not in the case i said above, in that case i probably prefer silence.

you mention programmed, well Gerry why on earth would you program a human being about to experience a lie or a false reality without the ability to lie too?

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