Suppose you are a dishonest person, say, you will not hesitate to lie. Say, for example, when you are working in a project, you tell ‘I am done with task X’ when you are not.
It’s obvious as to what will happen to the project. But what happens to you when you lie?
If you ask why you lie ?
The reason could be complex. May be you may not want to look bad in the eyes of others. May be you are not skilled but you want to match up to your peers and you begin to show outwardly that you are at a certain level. Or may be, you are habituated to lie at the drop of a hat and do not care much in what you say.
In most cases lying originates when you can’t accept yourself or your state as is. You want to project a different image than the reality. You want to distort the reality. You want to tell a story.
Why most people cannot accept themselves as they are?
I guess it is not that they do not want to. Probably it is because the world wants to see them in some way. It is a reaction to living in this world. The world wants to see you as a great person. Or at least that is what you end up assuming. Whatever you do, there is a compelling need to project yourself in a certain way to the world.
And that could be probably driven by survival instinct. Why you lie could be a very natural instinct that is ingrained in the evolution of our species.
Then why are we so concerned about someone being dishonest ? Why do we have morals and stories constantly telling the ill-effects of lying ?
The answer is the same. Survival.
When someone lies, the other person who is being lied to can’t survive with your lie. So they resist. Thus lying becomes bad in the eyes of the victim. The victim could be you if someone lies to you.
Doesn’t this contradict our original proposition ? If lying is used as a tool for survival, how will it remain widespread if people are affected by it?
If Elon Musk decides to buy Twitter and the disclosure says a maximum of 5% are bots and later he finds that it could be as big as 90% then doesn’t it make a mockery of a deal ?
If you go buy a pack of ice cream for say ten dollars and you get a very small one, will you not say it is atrociously priced ? Will you not go and find the reason why you pay so much and then convince yourself that it’s filled with nuts and dry fruits that are expensive ? If you can’t find a valid reason, then you feel cheated. You will no longer buy that brand. The brand also will eventually perish when the sales go down.
Thus it appears like you can lie or present a different reality if that is not going to harm the other person or in fact if that will make the situation better.
Doctors lie to patients that they are going to be alright. Parents lie to their children that they are doing fine. Companies tell the shareholders that they are going to double the revenues. Nations commit on reducing carbon footprint. Poetry, Art, Movies are all about lying.
Every one of us lie to ease the friction in our day-to-day living. This seem to be perfectly fine because it is working for all of us.
Somewhere when it crosses the line, when it becomes unacceptable, we go on a truth seeking mission.
There seem to be nothing called the truth unless one seeks it. There seem to be nothing called a lie unless one seeks the truth.
It is true that everyone of us is lying on some and seeking truth in some others.
If this is the case, why do we emphasize so much on truthfulness and honesty ?
The simple story of “a person lying for fun by calling the villagers for help from a Tiger that didn’t exist and eventually finding no one for help when the Tiger really came” may hold the answer.
Your lies and deceit can one day eat you up. The little lies you think that are harmless to escape a situation, as a tool for survival, can turn against you. When you are seen as someone who lies, you lose your credibility.
When you lie, you construct an alternate reality. The more you lie, the more you create a discord with the world you live. This becomes a quicksand pulling you along and drowning you when you no longer can sustain that.
Congenital lying can seriously impair your mental and physical health with your mind constantly under tension. You can be gripped by schizophrenia.
Practicing truthfulness helps you stay grounded irrespective of whether you win or lose the battles in the world. When you are grounded you are at peace.