Happy new year, Friends! I hope everyone had a good and safe weekend ringing out the old year. I feel past years have been about ringing in the new, but for this year it was just about throwing out the old as soon as possible. What a troublesome year 2016 was. I haven’t been that relieved to be done with a year since 2008. Perhaps there’s a connection between the passing of every eight years and hard times?
Anyway, I’ve decided to take a novel approach with this here blog; a new year, a novel approach. I’ve picked up a little calendar based on “The Book of Questions,” which is exactly what it sounds like. Some of the questions are a little too impertinent for blogging material, but others make hearty food for thought.
Today’s question is: In the course of your life have you more often lied or been lied to?
You see what I mean? This is not the kind of question you ask at your maiden aunt’s tea party. Luckily, this is no tea party, unless your idea of such is something more like the Mad Hatter would attend. This, my fellows, is a blog. So here we go.
I suppose your answer to this question would depend on what you consider lying. Strictly speaking, a lie is the antithesis, the opposite of a truth, so to say an untrue thing is necessarily and undeniably a lie. But what about leaving out parts of the truth, a lie of omission?
You don’t present a false story, but you don’t present a complete one either. If leaving out facts is a lie, then one would have to say that an incomplete picture is just as much a lie as if it were false. History has shown that not having the whole story has created serious problems, and if you believe as I do (that right and wrong is a standard set down to preserve beauty and order), then whatever creates disorder is wrong.
But lands, is it ever convenient. How would our government function without omitting truth, let alone outright falsehoods? And sometimes you leave out the details just because they’re unnecessary, like when your child asks where babies come from. You should give him an honest answer, but there are things in that picture that the little tike just isn’t ready to hear. Is it wrong to omit those things?
Applying the beauty and order argument, it would create disorder to tell him, so it isn’t wrong.
Perhaps, like other things right and wrong, there is a right time and a right place. The right thing at the wrong time makes it a wrong thing. Wait until the child is older, then tell him those things. You didn’t omit them; you just postponed the telling of them. So is it right to postpone the truth so long as it doesn’t become a permanent omission?
However you define a lie, your answer to this question would also depend on whether you were willing to apply the same standard to yourself as you do to others. If you said someone lied to you, but then said it wasn’t a lie when you did the same thing (at this point I would like to suggest that hypocrisy is a form of lying), well then you’d never have an accurate idea of how to answer the question.
Of course, this is all supposing that you knew of every time you’d ever been lied to. If by some miracle you did, then you’d still have to be willing to apply the same standards to yourself as others. And you’d only know you’d been lied to if you knew the exact definition of a lie.
Basically, I think only a thoroughly honest, all-knowing, and supernaturally moral being could answer this question truthfully. As we are only human, the best answer I guess would be to say that between man and man it all evens out. I lie to you, you lie to me, and because this is so we can’t get too upset or judge too harshly about being lied to.
Yet we do, and that’s because we all have a sense of justice, especially where it concerns ourselves. Again, I cannot reasonably place a sentence on you that I’m not willing to place on myself. So, if I feel I deserve reparations when I am lied to, I ought to give reparations when I lie.
So, my answer in full, is that I have lied and been lied to, and I cannot accurately say which has happened more, and it doesn’t matter. The only response worth anything is to say that it is wrong, and to genuinely apologize and accept apologies, and to seek and speak truth with every opportunity in every situation.
But what say you, Readers? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, I’ve listed the questions for next week below. Let me know which you like best and we’ll go from there.
Next week’s questions:
-- Have you ever had a moving spiritual experience?
-- If you had to choose between your family or your spouse, who would you go with?
-- Would you tell your friend if you knew their spouse was cheating?
-- If you were responsible for choosing the next ten million people to die this year, what criteria would you use?
-- Are you a generous tipper?
-- Of all your traits, which one would you most like to see in your children?
-- When it comes to getting to know people, are you more discouraged or discouraging?