Friday, 10 February 2012

Honesty - Is There Any Such Thing As A White Lie?

There really is no such thing as a white lie. You are either honest or dishonest, you either tell the truth or lie. Simple.

On a daily basis we make decisions based upon the information available to us at the time. If that information is partial or flawed in some way, the soundness of our decisions may be compromised, limited or affected. How many wars have been based on inaccurate or dishonest information? How many relationships have failed due to lies and deceit?

Relationships are based on trust, and trust depends upon honesty. If a person is dishonest with you about one single thing, don't you begin to call into question everything they have said to you in the past, and won't it affect their credibility in the future?

Dishonesty is a tool that we use to cover things up, a temporary measure until the s**t hits the fan, (so to speak). Once you use this tool, you find yourself on a never ending cycle of having to lie to cover up the previous lie, sometimes until the lie has eventually been exposed, leaving egg all over your face.
The moment you start finding yourself in circumstances where you have to go to such pains to hide what is being said or done, then you know you are being dishonest. 

Yes, the truth does hurt. But speaking or being told the truth with the right attitude, when it's not being used as an evil weapon, will give you the reputation for being honest. It takes away the burden of having to constantly be mentally on guard. 

I'm not asking everyone to make it their sole mission to expose every known truth, be it good or bad about every little thing. It's about being personally responsible in telling the truth when you find yourself in an awkward situation. You could choose to remove yourself out of that situation before giving an instant answer thus allowing yourself time to think and how to respond. You have a choice. 

Some people will coerce you to lie, sometimes on their behalf. But have you noticed they never do it themselves? The amount of people that will stand in a court room, big bible in one hand, swear on oath before God and then blatantly lie is beyond me. 

If you want people to tell you the truth, then tell the truth to them. 

No doubt at times you will create lifelong enemies, sometimes with a vengeful lust. That's their problem, not yours, continue to be honest. 

Presidents, Prime Ministers, Bishops, Kings, Managers, Queens, Pastors, leaders of all sorts have all lied and been openly dishonest in abundance at some time or other and NEVER has it done anything  but leave devastation and destruction in its wake.

Have you ever lied about something and bitterly regretted it?

Has someone else's dishonesty and/or lies ever affected you?

Can dishonesty be justified positively?


  1. White lies refer to times when they hurt no one and are kinder than the truth. Yes nothing wrong with white lies. "grandma I love the sweater.". *back of the closet*. Can't wait until you knit me another.

    1. Hi Jamie
      What's wrong with telling Grandma, that you appreciate the time and effort she took to knit the sweater. You can even give her a hug and kiss with a big Thank You. Nothing wrong in that. What you then do with the sweater is your business.
      Why add 'Grandma I love the sweater' when you secretly hate it, then further 'Can't wait until you knit me another'.

      Maybe little old Grandma doesn't even want to knit those sweaters year in year out, but because you keep telling her you cannot wait until she knits you another, she is under pressure to do so. The white lie in this case may not be working:D.

      Only a thought. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Ha haa!
    To be 'honest', both good witty comments.

  3. Wish truth was black or white.. I think when people lie to make things better for should be called a grey lie.However, a lie is a lie.

    Glad to have found you at and followed you there too.

    1. Kajal (purplechronicle)
      Thank you so much for your comment.

  4. Interesting thoughts again and it's true that lies usually just hurt and cause bad things happening...
    It is said that the truth will set you free...that's true...but things are not always so simple and black and white. In some situations a white lie or not telling the whole truth, not necessarily lying, can save the situation. I think :).

    1. Hi Amethyst
      I appreciate what you are saying about " ....not telling the whole truth, not necessarily lying can save the situation" my issue would be if the answer you gave the person leaves enough room for false hope because not enough of the whole truth was exposed at the time.
      Thank you so much for commenting.

    2. Amethyst (great name, by the way) has quoted the bible so I'd like to add my 2 pence worth to the mix.

      I'm intrigued by a passage in the first chapter of Exodus.
      Pharaoh tells the Hebrew midwives to "kill the firsborn".
      They disobey, he asks them why.
      The midwives are in a tight spot here. So what do they do? ... they lie to him. And God blesses them.
      Obviously it's not so much the lie he blesses, but them saving all those lives. Even if it meant having to lie.

      So given the choice, it appears that, according to the Bible, a lie can be allowed if it prevents a greater evil. Or am I wrong?

  5. I like how you pointed out the differences between the two topics and I also love the title. Made me want to read. Great post.

    1. Thank you Musiqual1, your views are appreciated and I'm glad you kept on reading (my aim).

    2. RPD - you have a way of packing a lot of issues into a small space, don't you?

      Plato, in his work 'The Republic' speaks of the so-called 'noble lie' that leaders may use to motivate the populace for the good of the state - to obey the law, for example.

      According to this, a politician may fake a religious faith in order to mobilise a mass of people.

      It's OK, says Plato - so long as the ends are virtuous, ie. the republic (literally the 'common thing', or collective interest) benefits.

      The problem is that leaders aren't always virtuous and certainly don't always put the interests of the their people first.

      We're not talking ancient greece or the middle ages here, either.

      I saw this dynamic at work with the 9/11 scenario. A professed Christian (Bush) versus a professed Muslim (Osama). Both sending people to fight and die over an oil rich region... and by a pure stroke of coincidence both these guys happen to be sons of wealthy oil dynasties. Hmmm...

      I guess in the real world the 'noble lie' turns out to be more of a 'squalid lie'.

  6. I guess lying to me has taken place of "Tattling" as a child. Parents tend to send out mixed messages to children, telling them not to lie, but be polite. I mean if you knew someone just spent time and money decorating their home to their taste, and you found it horrendous would you tell them when asked point blank what you thought? Sure you can focus on "truths", like the workmanship, or how much roomier it is, etc, BTW: still lying as you are implying good feelings, or you can tell them the truth. Why tell a truth that (a) would hurt their feelings (b)benefits them in no way and (c) makes you look like an insensitive prick?

    As for the sweater. I DO love the effort my grandmother goes through every year. I also love the fact that the expectation of me wearing them is no longer upon me. (Picture me at ten when I was given one with an airplane on the back, and had to wear it the entire spring. I prayed for a growth spurt that year). I think being part of society begs little white lies. "I'm not ready for a relationship" is so much kinder than "Yeah, you looked better after 8 beers last night". Not necessarily a total lie, but really NOT the reason you don't want to go out with them again. So sure, you can try to be truthful, but the bottom line is a lie by omission is still a lie. And the world is a much kinder place I think with little lies to spare feelings.
    "What do you think of my baby? Isn't she beautiful?"
    "Oh, you must be so proud. A daughter, how fanatastic!" *shiver of revulsion withheld*

  7. To all you 'white liars' ;)
    The issue for me is - who gets to decide whether the lie is black or white?
    Obviously the teller, since the hearer, by virtue of the fact that they are being lied to is 'in the dark'.
    So who are you to decide for that person what it is best for them to know? Even with a kind motive, isn't it still a just little bit presumptuous?

    1. Isn't it a bit presumptuous to think I somehow owe you my absolute truth? Works both ways.

    2. Touche', Jamie ;)
      Wouldn't you agree, however, that we should do our best to be honest out of a sense of personal honour? Don't we owe that to ourselves, at least?

    3. I think honesty have it's place. But I'm all for social niceties. When the guy serving me coffee asks how I'm doing, or my best friend does, the answers would not be the same. But I think the guy behind the counter would thank me for not telling him about the shit sleep I had, or the fight with my boyfriend that morning;). "fine" is the most common white lie we tell, and most people are okay with that.

  8. Lies are allways lies The path will emerge into a bad result. I prefer to be just honest.

  9. A very nice post. May be in certain situations, white lie is used in order not to hurt others feelings.

    If only we could detect the colours of the lies but there isn't any, so I agree with you it's either the truth or lie.

    1. I think you CAN tell the colors of lies. If it does not hurt anyone, then white. If it does, not so much.

  10. I may be a cynic (modern meaning, of course), in the best of the pictures.

    I already wrote about lying!

    It is a way of living for human beings!

    Nobody, ever, can live without lying, I am sorry! but that is the truth.

    There are something wrong with us, we are liars at heart!

    We can disguise this feature in our soul and sometimes we can follow the path of the truth, but sooner or later we will be assaulted by our nature and give a lie as the real thing.

    This is how we are, and this is one of the things we must repair through time, but that would take eons until we could really think we "never lie".

    We can deceive ourselves telling us we are truthful, but...

    And I seem to remember that the eighth commandment asks: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbo(u)r. Nothing about lying!

    OK, OK, I am not pressing this point, I know it is true, but I am ready to say I "believe" it is true if I keeps the show on! :)

    You know Rum, you can ban me anytime! I will understand!

    1. Untony
      Well, I guess you do have a right to your opinion, but I wouldn't dare say 'it is a way of living for human beings!' all of us!

      How do I know you're speaking the truth anyway? :D Thanks untony.

    2. Rum

      There you are! We never know :)

      I thank you your thinking there is a right to own an opinion. It even have the advantage to keep conversation alive! :)

  11. Loving these blog topics, Rum-Punch Drunk.
    I can only assume you write them during your sober moments :)

    Regarding this issue I can only say that, if I knew someone was in the habit of telling me white lies, in the event that I was seeking an honest opinion, I would think twice about asking them.

    Knowing that they saw this sort of thing as acceptable would call into question their credibility in other areas, for me.

    1. That's so true Alex. When someone is known for telling white lies then anything they say in a time of need could be deemed as a white lie.
      I'm so sorry for only seeing this comment now, over a year too late, whilst going through some of my old posts.

  12. honestly i think there is something call a white lie and we all lie and if you say no than you are a big fat lier ex:when you take your kid to the hospital and he needs to get a shot and he is afraid and unstable moving consistently and the doctor tells him or her its not going to hurt . another example is when its Christmas and u tell ur baby that santa clause is coming through the chimney 1st lie to drink the milk 2nd lie eat the cookies 3rd lie and put ur gifts under the tree 4 th lie

    1. Well, a lie is a lie, and most people end up telling their children the truth when it comes to Christmas, shots etc.... A lie may make some people comfortable at the time but in the long run, it can become a very serious issue. Thanks for your point of view though, I really appreciate it.


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