I’ve never been able to lie. Physically, I just can’t do it. I start laughing, or alternatively, I start feeling sick. My body punishes itself whenever I speak untruth. I’ve been like this from young. It’s one of the reasons I was such an introvert; unless I could speak my mind, freely, I’d hate airing my voice, and would prefer to not speak altogether.
Un-funnily enough, however, I can spin shit through my teeth without an issue. If what I’m saying is, in my own mind, and from my own perspective, clearly a tapestry of gobbledygook, then I can unwind untruths like a cassette tape. I’ve convinced people that I’m a stripper, Spanish born, telepathic, Mongolian, able to speak 19 languages; I even convinced a girl that I was once pregnant.
We were at a bar, she was hitting on me (NOTE: this happens very rarely), I wasn’t at all interested, and I managed to persuade her that I’d had acted as a surrogate for a scientific experiment wanting to test whether the human-male is physically able of becoming pregnant. I’d a bit of help from a mate; he’d testified to my bullshit story. But still, fuck me, right? When she asked me where the baby was, I started laughing and shouted: “Are you crazy? They aborted it, of course. It was just an experiment. And it worked. I’ve the ultra sound at home. You can look up the experiment on the American journal of medicine, there’s a full analysis there.” (Is there even an American Journal of Medicine?)
I digress. Point is; I can’t lie, unless my lie is so outrageous that, to my mind, no sane person would ever buy it (or it has no tangible consequence). The only time that the other person’s response would effect my ability to shit talk is if it would have a tangible and adverse affect on the said person, and that said person is someone who means something to me.
Anyway, I don’t know if it’s needless to say, but living in this way isn’t particularly practical. It probably explains why I don’t seamlessly fit into society.
For instance, if someone asks me: “Hi, how you doing?” And I answer: “Oh, good thanks,” but really, I feel like utter death, for whatever the reason, I’ll inevitably feel bad about myself. To my mind, I just lied. I don’t feel “good.” I don’t even feel “fine.” I feel like my insides are being ravaged by midget demons. Hell, I’m not even “thankful” you asked. The question is stupid; “how are you?” Fuck off. You don’t even care. You’d probably rather not know. Just leave me alone. *sobs*”
This is why, I suppose, I’m forever scaring people. I’m weird, not because I enjoy being an outcast, but rather, because I enjoy honesty, or more pointedly, because I don’t enjoy acting or speaking dishonestly.
Another example: One time, when I was out for brunch, the waitress asked me if I’d like anything else after we’d placed our order. My response: “Yes, a plate of cold death would be great.”
On the plus side, some people find this funny. My friends know all about it. Depending on the mood, I’ll either embarrass them, or entertain them. I mean, watching the responses from random people with whom I interact can, admittedly, be quite amusing.
So back to my point. How about dem white lies? How harmless are they, really?
Well, common consensus (cause I’ve personally conducted thorough research on this topic, he-he) is that they’re perfectly harmless, some even say useful. They’re necessary to maintain order, they say. To keep the waves of tension calm and the ripples of pho ease flowing. To keep our ties closely thread; to mask all the ewwy gooey underneath, and maintain the manufactured illusion of sincerity.
Sam Harris however, a renowned science writer and neuroscientist seems to agree with me. Huzzah.
In his book/essay Lying, which might still available as a PDF for free online, goes through a long line of reasoning to explain how lying, even white lying, causes us more grief than it does “good.” (Good, in this context almost directly translating as “beneficial for well being”).
A basic summary of his analysis is this: White lies cause our friends, family, even loose acquaintances, and even our own selves, to lose trust in us.
“Lying is, almost by definition, a refusal to cooperate with others. It condenses a lack of trust and trustworthiness into a single act. It is both a failure of understanding and an unwillingness to be understood. To lie is to recoil from relationship” – from Lying.
But hey, if you can be effed, go and check it out for yourself. Don’t take my brief word for it. He’s a delightfully brilliant writer and in equal measure delightfully brilliant.
Any-who, this ain’t a book, and I don’t want to get into a deep and detailed analysis of why I personally think white lies do more for harm than they do for prosperity.
What do you guys think?
(Hint: I’m trying to light up some conversation. Please contribute. Even just a sentence. Cause if you don’t, a fairy will die. And will you be able to live with yourself knowing that you were responsible for killing a fairy? I don’t think so).
Humans-are-weird. And most of us never stop to ruminate on the extent to which we lie on a daily basis.