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Is telling the truth subversive?
Published on December 19, 2004 By dynamaso In Misc
Our lives are all so reliant on fantasy and fallacies we don’t even realise it. Just think about all the things we say but don’t really mean everyday. We say things to prevent hurting the feelings of those close to us. We say things to provide an excuse to get out of an undesirable job, task or chore. We sometimes say things just because we don’t feel like addressing the truth of a matter. Virtually no one is innocent of this.

Following is my subjective top ten list of lies commonly used and the translations in italics. There are many permutations of the following, but I’ve taken the liberty of using what I believe are the most common.

1. This will just take a second – I’m not too sure how long this is going to take but if you’re prepared to sit there, I’m prepared to make you wait.

2. Your haircut really suits you – I think you look ridiculous with a faux-hawk, Gucci-mullet, perm or flick.

3. No, you don’t look fat/skinny in those jeans or skirt – You look ridiculous in anything but Mom-jeans or bib and braces.

4. Go ahead, I don’t mind – Yes, I do mind and if you take me for my word, I will sit here and glare at you until you leave.

5. The doctor is about 10 minutes behind his appointment schedule – The doctor is about an hour behind his appointment schedule.

6. Your car will be ready in the next couple of days – Your car won’t be ready for at least another week.

7. That colour really suits you – That colour makes your skin look jaundiced.

8. Don’t worry about me, I’ll be alright – I’m feeling depressed and suicidal and I really don’t think I can cope.

9. I’m fine – I’m feeling anything but fine

10. The cheque is in the mail – I am going to delay this until you threaten legal action then I will pay you, but not before.

As I said, very few of us are completely innocent when it comes to these kinds of fallacies. These lies have become so ingrained, most of us probably don’t even realise what we’re saying is not the truth. Some will argue that these are hardly lies, or if they are, they’re white lies. I say it doesn’t matter what you colour you paint a pig, if it looks, sounds and smells like a pig, then it must be a pig.

Whether our lies are small or great, the consequence of this is really the same – we are only letting ourselves down. The more this happens, the larger the lies that we allow to slip by become. Sure, it is a lot harder to tell the truth in some cases, given the over-sensitive nature of a lot of people. but I believe if we start with the small lies, maybe things will naturally straighten out. If the example is set with the mundane then it should also be easy to maintain. Then we can move on to the big lies.

Comments (Page 1)
on Dec 19, 2004
Hmm, let's see. I am guilty of numbers 1, 4, 5 (okay, so the doctor was behind because I, the med student, was seeing patient's as well, but I didn't tell them it was my fault), 8, and 9. Not looking too good for me.

I try not to do so regularly, but I think it has become such a habit to just spit out the quick, easy response. And I tend to be stoic, so I hold it in rather than let people know I am hurting. Thanks to my wife's influence I am getting better at that. But it is good to have these pointed out, helps us take inventory of ourselves in some of the less obvious ways. Good article.
on Dec 19, 2004
I make an effort not to lie, if I don't want to give an honest answer I'll give an evasive be quiet one instead. I take the approach that if someone takes the time to ask a question I might as well be tell them the truth, assuming of course I answer at all. Something just don't need to be answered, and we even have a constiutional ammendent for that situation
on Dec 19, 2004

Oh and add..


11. What a cute baby!

on Dec 20, 2004
BlueDev: thanks for the feedback. I too have been accused of being stoic in the past, until I suffered health problems from bottling too much up. These days, I would rather call a spade a fucking shovel and get on with life. I don't go out of my way to be nasty because I am also a fan of diplomacy yet when being honest with some people, I've had an absolutely petulant response to my answer. Adults who react like emotionally spoilt children don't have a great role in my life anymore.

Something just don't need to be answered, and we even have a constiutional ammendent for that situation


Danny: while it is true your constitution does account for the situation, maybe if truth and truth-telling was more viewed as a positive as opposed to the negative ("You can't handle the truth"), then the need for that amendment wouldn't exist.

Heather: - I knew I'd forgotten one

Cheers,

Maso
on Dec 20, 2004
Something I really hate: People assuming that I meant (for example) "I mind", when I say "Go ahead, I don't mind", in other words, reading between the lines. Do tell me, what am I supposed to say when thats exactly what I mean? I usually mean just what I say, but then get penalised and have to explain myself 10 times over, because people assume just the opposite..

Grrr..

Jess
on Dec 20, 2004
Jess, this is exactly what I'm talking about. If people were more honest with each other, then when someone says 'I don't mind', there would not be the incessant need to make sure that one really meant what was said.

Thanks for the comment,

Cheers,

Maso
on Dec 21, 2004
Ah yes, but your point seemed to be that people lie, without even knowing they do. Mine is that people (well I at least) dont lie, but get interpreted that way anyway. Ok, presumably there is a reason that people have cause to interpret that way, but some seem to be way over the top. Specific example, my most recent ex-, who when I said "I'm going shopping", invariably answered "But I don't want to right now" - somehow he read into that "Come with me and carry stuff" or some such junk. I gave up getting him to understand that I meant exactly what I'd said, and no more, it was a constant source of friction..

More grrr.. (but anyway, got rid of that one eventually... !)

Jess
on Dec 21, 2004
I have a friend who has Asbergers Syndrome, a type of high-functioning autism. He is a great guy, incredibly intelligent, energetic and enthusiastic about everything. He is also very straight up. His girlfriend complains that if she says something like 'are my glasses in the bedroom' he will come out, sit down and say 'yes, they are' without bringing them into her. She would get annoyed and say 'why didn't you bring them in with you'. His reply would invariably be 'you didn't ask me to bring them to you'. Some might say this is pedantic, but it is a very typical symptom of the Syndrome. My friend's girlfriend has now learnt to say exactly what she means. If only we were all like this, communication would be a lot easier.

Cheers,

Maso
on Dec 23, 2004
That makes perfect sense to me.. I wish more people would be so literal, sometimes!

(Finally discovered my login, I knew it was here somewheres..)

Jess
on Dec 23, 2004
I wish more people would be so literal, sometimes


Jess, thanks again for your comments and I agree completely. I hope you have a great Christmas and a happy New Year.

Cheers,

Maso
on Dec 23, 2004
Hehe, great thread maso. But i feel like Jess sometimes. Once i bought a really expensive and trendy cologne to my brother as a Christmas gift thinking he would love me for that, but all i got was a lousy: "What? you think i stink??" I mean, its not because he has a crooked mind that he should interpret everything i do or say as being a white lie or a hint bout something.

It does make me cranky.

But then again too straight forward (exple: your autist friend) is a bit too much.
on Dec 23, 2004
Island, yeah sometimes being honest can be really hard because sometimes what you really want to say can hurt. Ultimately, I believe the truth will always win out. Sure, you might offend someone but if they're honest with themselves they'll see your honesty as a positive, not a negative.

I have a brother who looks for ulterior motives in everything anyone does or says. It has caused a huge rift between members of my family, to the point when some aren't talking to others. Childish, really, but unfortunate for all involved. I hope you didn't take what you brother said to heart. Often a simple thing such as that can lead to a complex array of 'he said - she said' conversations, which don't do anyone any good.

Thanks for your comments.

Cheers,

Maso
on Nov 02, 2006
It takes a liar to know one! Miserable bug!
on Nov 03, 2006
You forgot the biggest one of all: "Size doesn't matter"
on Nov 03, 2006
this'll only hurt for a little while

I'll only put the head of it in

and Whip beat me to it on the #1 biggest lie...