August 15, 2011

Lies, Confusion and Downright Stupidity

Whoever practices evil pays attention to wicked speech, and the liar listens to malicious talk.
(Prov. 17:4, ISV)

Buona sera. Although I have written about this before, I thought it needed to be revisited. Briefly.

Some people that I have to deal with seem to have a great deal of confusion about lies. This is a bit surprising to me, because I thought everyone knew that a lie is a deliberate false statement with the intent to deceive. That's the basic form. You can lie in other ways, such as withholding relevant information or even telling the truth in such a way that it is not accepted. For the most part, a lie involves the intent to deceive. And I think most people know that.

"How are people confused about lies, Cowboy Bob?"

There are several things that occur in the course of communication, and certain rabid dogs will try to bite you with the epithet, "Liar!"
  • Mistakes. Maybe it was simple carelessness, maybe it was irresponsibly repeating erroneous information. But mistakes happen. I've made them, and admitted it both times. By the way, it bothers me when I'm talking to someone who makes a statement and then corrects it with the comment, "Oh, I lied. I said 1939 and I meant 1945". No, Snookums, you did not lie, it was a simple mistake, capice?
  • Disagreements. Just because you disagree with something the other person says does not mean that he or she is lying.
  • Disbelief. Guess what, Gertrude? Just because you do not believe what the other person is saying does not automatically make it a lie.
  • Ignorance. This is close to the above concern: Just because you do not know about something the other person is presenting does not automatically make it a lie.
  • Antipathy. Would you believe that I learned that word from a song by Blue Oyster Cult? "...pure nectar of antipathy..." Anyway, just because you don't like it doesn't make something untrue.
  • Source. Another one that is close to the previous concern: Just because you hate the person or what he or she stands for does not make what they say untrue.
  • Humor. Yes, humor can be used very effectively to convey truth as well as falsehood. But making a joke in and of itself is generally not a lie. Exaggeration, sarcasm, hyperbole and the like also qualify as not being lies themselves per se.
I'm amazed that I have to lay down these explanations! But I am convinced that there are cafones who are so antagonistic, they use inaccurate but emotionally-laden words like "liar" to attack another person. This kind of attack, which is an attempt to manipulate the perceptions of others through emotions rather than facts, is a kind of lie in and of itself.

By the way, it's also dishonest (and downright stupid) to assign evil motives to someone just because you hate him or her.

Hopefully, this article will help clear up some confusion. Also, perhaps some people can grow up and act like responsible adults rather than hate-filled attack machines. These people have been dropped from receiving complementary Piltdown Superman T-shirts.

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