Is lying truly bad if no one is negatively affected by it?

8 years ago by Raycu with 8 comments

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  • canuck

    Depends what you are lying about. If it's for pure entertainment (ex: telling a story), then i don't see a problem with a bit of exaggeration.

    • Saffire

      Exaggerating a story could still be bad IMO. Picture this: You tell your friend Joe a story about this monster fish you caught last weekend. You go on to tell him that the fish at that spot were crazy and you couldn't stop getting bites. In reality, the spot was average at best, as was the fish you caught.

      How does this hurt anyone? Well, Joe, also quite the avid fisherman, decides to go to the spot you described and try his luck there as well. You can imagine how his trip is going to end, I'm sure.

      Or even worse: Joe passes on the story to another fisherman friend, John, who goes to the spot to fish instead. Upon finding out how crappy the spot actually is, John either figures Joe is an idiot or a liar and now respects/trusts him less because of it.

      All-in-all, pretty minor, but still potential to hurt somebody, even if insignificantly.

      • Raycu

        That's an extreme example though. You're implying this would always be the case when it happens quite rarely. Not to mention the fact that it is completely possible that they enjoy fishing a the spo . Just because they lied doesn't mean it will be the same.

  • SuperCyan

    That's a really hard question to answer.

    A lot of it comes down to whether or not they find out about the lie. Even if the lie doesn't hurt them, being lied to still breaks the trust between the two parties. It makes them wonder if they're always being lied to. They question everything the other person says from then on, in case of deception by the other person. If they never find out, it's probably not bad, but if they do, then it's probably going to actually hurt them.

    Then, there's the type of lie. If they're hyperbole, in order to spice up a story, then there's really no harm in it. However, if they're large exorbitant lies, with many specific things that require covering things up, then it causes the liar pain. They have to make sure that they are able to uphold the lie, and will likely be in a situation where they'll have to go to great lengths to hide the lie. Then there's the chance that they'll forget about it, and accidentally expose themselves via a slip of the tongue, and that causes the situation explained above.

    If a person lies enough, then there comes a dissonance that comes with living a life made of lies. Not only do they have to keep them all straight and work to make sure they're never discovered, they have to deal with the realization that their whole life's a lie. Some people can manage it, but a lot end up eating themselves from the inside over that fact.

    In the end, it's probably the best thing to do, so don't do it often - if you're thinking about doing a bunch of lying. Often times, telling the truth is easier, but lying is a fact of life. The key to lying is not being overly complex, nor overdoing it.

  • Saffire (edited 8 years ago)

    I've been asking myself this question a lot for the last few years, along with "Is it possible to live a life without lying?" So far I've come to the conclusion that lying in any form is probably immoral (I won't say bad because that's a different thing altogether and not what specifically concerns me) even if nobody is negatively affected by it and it may be possible to live life without telling any kind of lies at least once in a while but it's certainly not feasible or doable.

    I've had to resign myself to using lying as a last resort in some specific situations and if I accidentally tell a lie that wasn't necessary I apologize to the affected party(s). It keeps my conscience fairly clear and is nice because I can be open and up front about things a lot easier since I started doing it.

    EDIT: Also, I'm just gonna leave this here.

    • Raycu

      Could you tell about why you personally find lying to be immoral?

      • Saffire

        Because it deprives whoever you lie to the ability to make informed decisions about their own lives and also somebody acting in an ethical manner shouldn't need to lie, so lying implies immorality in other actions as well.

        • Raycu

          Maybe not knowing the truth is the ethical thing to do?