Isn’t it easy to lie?
Friends lie to each other. Parents lie to their children. Lovers lie to each other. Governments lie to their people.
For some, there is no moral concern with lying. Whether it’s cultural or educational, they don’t think twice about it.
For others, there is some ambivalence. An inner voice questions them but they justify their action by saying that the lie either protects them or the one lied to.
And for a select few others, there is an absolute moral clarity. They tell the truth because, to them, there is no other way. Or they tell the truth because they think in the long run, it protects them and the recipient of the truth more.
As a teenager, I came across this seemingly difficult conundrum: “If many people lie, if it is ‘supposed’ to help me move ahead, if it protects me, and despite what my parents have taught me, why shouldn’t I lie?” I then remember having this thought that by lying to someone, it’s as if I’m putting them on a pedestal and looking up at them. As if I’m afraid of them. I then had a strong gut-reaction thinking that no one is above or below me and I’m afraid of no one. Since that day, I’ve joined the “others” with moral clarity. Have I lied since? Yes, very infrequently and every time, I felt a strong and lingering remorse. I’m all about non-judgmental acceptance but intentionally, I would let the remorse linger, as if to pinch me not to lie again.
So, if that friend of mine, who made a benevolent and altruistic gesture many years ago to shield another person from harm but is haunted by the lies he said in the process, is reading this, know that even though telling the truth takes strength but once told, strengthens and liberates.
And as parents, friends, lovers and yes, governments… telling the truth (as counter-intuitive as it ‘might’ sound on occasions) will strengthen those bonds we so want to protect.