A Writer explains how a lifetime of lying bagged him his dream job, he then asks if a lie is the least harmful option, is it still wrong?
Let me preface this with a preface. I’m widely regarded as someone who is full of doggy-doo. A something that I’m both extremely proud and not proud of. It enabled my lack of personal growth, yes, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.
For myself, a lie was always synonymous with the truth. It was an idealised version of it. It became Truth-lite. Truth Zero. The actual fact that it was untrue was irrelevant. I simply measured the merit of the lie by the magnitude of comparative damage I could avoid by using it.
The truth is always the truth, as a lie is always a lie. But I feel the commendable aura surrounding ‘the truth’ is a fallacy. In fact, I have found it to be the reverse. The lie is often weirdly commendable, whereas the Truth is often not. Don’t get pissed, babe, it’s the Truth. In my own experience, the ‘T’ word is only rolled out in times of extreme crisis, usually within the blanket sentence of “…I need you to tell me the truth”
How many times have you been asked that sentence in your adult life and not told the truth? Why? Those who have been shelled with absolute truth know it.
I don’t love you anymore.
I slept with your wife.
Yeah, I knew all along.
Babe – I was faking it.
And while I realise there is always a point when the truth needs to be told, the point I’m making is to lie is more common, because it’s closer to how we’re programmed. We lie more naturally. To selflessly protect others is very much our M.O. ever since we grew self-conscious.There’s a romance to the truth because it is so often a lie. We love to hear it because we hear it less, but I fear that’s another quirk of our species. It has little to do with moral compunction, it has to do with wanting what we don’t have. If we heard the truth all the time, we’d treasure the lie.
Which is all rank hearsay and vast supposition. I only did two units of Sociology. All I can truthfully comment is what It gave me. Which, as far as career goes, is everything. Which is the strange thing about lying, for want of a better term, it can be good.
The main reason that I have lied in the past was, if I’m honest, is because I had little else. It was a means to catch up. Making it up seemed easier than actually doing it. I knew that those who truly loved me saw through it, so the lies then became more twisted and more ornate. In my mind, If I formed entirely complex, yet believable cranial mazes of no solution, no exit, there was no chance of raised eyebrows basslined to the blazing red klaxon inside my brain flashing “LIAR”
Looking back, it was the genesis of my career. Coming to the conclusion that the truth was a concept to manipulate and not value. Writing fiction came easy, because my life was already fiction. All it took was an adaption. The narratives of winding tripe and the eventual moral lesson/punchline became not mine, but the protagonist’s.
It was now Bob’s trip to the pub that ended in him being confused with his ex-wife’s new lover.
If you think I’m a scoundrel, well ye who snacks not upon the pork pie, throw the first truth bomb. Let me ask you, fresh, how many times have you told someone that “They’ll be fine” when you know they won’t?
We all do it. And if you say you don’t. You’re lying.
Why? Because above all moral collars, we desire acceptance. We learn early that uttering harshest truth often eviscerates it. Those who say it are hung, but often not those who portrayed it. For example, a friend of mine, she was cheating on her brand new boyfriend who I also knew. She told me, I told him. Which unleashed the societal version of the gunshot to the back of the head, as our in-jokes joined me in the lime pit of earned strangerdom.
Maybe I’ve been burnt from bitter experience, or maybe I’m a product of my environment. If the truth was more important while I was growing up, maybe I wouldn’t hold these views, but there’s a chance I’d be someone else entirely. It’s part of who I am.
Lying is a multi-faceted cultural phenomenon, and it’s one that doesn’t discriminate. On a meta-level, it sits atop the tree of human accomplishment. It’s an ability to refuse your fate, re-write your ending and colour your disappointments. Not everyone can invent the wheel, nor can everybody visit the moon; but everyone can make their lives more tolerable by fudging it.
While you can’t bullshit a bullshitter, you can choose how much you smell of it, but to those who immediately turn your head away, know this – you still smelt it.
For example, how much of this article did you believe?