THE ART OF LYING
Lying. People have been lying since the beginning of time. Some people are good at it, and some people are horrible at it. There are some that have mastered the art and make money at it. Lawyers, for example, are known for their skill as liars. Whatever profession, hobby, or special interest that brings us to communicate with others a person has will bring the art of lying in to play.
Picture this: a professional poker player strolls into the Taj Mahal Casino and takes a seat at the Hold’em table. No one recognizes him or expects him to be a card shark, so people sit down with him. These people have no idea what they’ve just done. They play for a while, and lose a couple hundred dollars and then get up to let the next one try. The pro just sits there and exclaims "I’m just lucky I guess". Well, we’d all be "lucky" if we could tell when others are lying or not. This pro feeds off the facial expressions and body movements of his opponents, and therefore doesn’t even really need to know what is in his own hand. If he knows that his competition is holding nothing, and bluffing, he’ll win the hand. If he can tell that they are holding a good hand, he will fold, and give them a small pot. This is mastering the art of lying. A good liar can tell when someone else is lying.
Four subtopics will be discussed in the following paragraphs about lying. First, the three main groups of liars, or lies, will be explained and examples will be given. Second, the fact that everyone lies on a regular basis and/or has lied at some point in their life will be discussed with reasons and opportunities pointed out. Third, a short section will explain why children tend to lie too often. And last, the four most common types of lies will be pointed out.
The three main groups of lies are: Pathological lies, Little White lies, and Necessary lies. "A deliberate liar knows he is lying. A pathological liar may not."5 Everyone knows a pathological liar, whether they are being medically treated for their illness or not, and certain precautions are met when communicating with one. Most people except the person as one that tells tall tales and just agrees with the liar, but in their mind they are disagreeing. It’s difficult for a person to become close to a liar of this magnitude, but the condition can be treated with medication if their loved ones care and try to fix the problem.
Little white lies are untreatable. They’re untreatable in the sense of medicine, but psychologically they are treatable. People tell little white lies deliberately to try and get their way. Sometimes people feel that if they bend the truth just a little, (little being a lot, actually) then maybe they will get that big promotion or that job they have been trying to land. These are the types of people that "will tell you whatever you want to hear" to impress you. Young men between the ages or 18-24 are famous for bragging about their success with women, and this will do one of two things; impress the idiot who is listening, or make a complete fool out of themselves, the latter being the case that happens most often. Hopefully, after a person realizes how dimwitted they have made them self look, they will think twice before exaggerating so much.
Everyone has told their loved one or spouse that they look good tonight when asked, when actually they didn’t think so. Times like these arrive all too often, and in order to keep peace we tell these "necessary" lies. This fact really doesn’t need to be explained in great detail because the reason for this type of lie is obvious and quite justified.
We all have lied. Probably 999 people out of 1000 will admit to lying at least a few times in their life, and the other one person is lying. Even the President of the U.S. lies. A young boy was caught lying and his punishment was to write a letter to his congressman explaining why people should not lie. His letter told of how lying makes people extremely untrustworthy, and how being trustworthy is an important characteristic, especially in an occupation such as politics. At the bottom of the letter the boy’s father wrote a P.S. He explained that the letter was punishment for lying, and the boy, after being caught in his lie, he exclaimed in his defense "the president lied. " His father then wrote "He's still having difficulty understanding why the president can lie and not be punished."4 Maybe adolescent lying is just as common as adult lying, except adults have just learned to be more believable.
Several studies have been done dealing with lying, and one even told of the 4 most common lies. These are as follows. Number one: "Lying to Impress others. You lie to make people think higher of you, respect you, worship you etc....(lying to people you meet online under a false identity for a cheap thrill also falls under this category) Examples: ‘Hi, I'm Wally. I have over a million dollars in my bank account and I own the shiny, new, red convertible in the parking lot. What's your name?’,"6
Number two: "Lying to Protect Yourself. You lie to prevent any sort of abuse which may be inflicted to yourself or others. Examples: ‘Amber, I love your new phone...’ or ‘Beware, for I am a 9th degree black belt, you might of seen me in that movie with all those ninjas...’,"6
Number three: "Lying to Get Your Way. You lie so that others will either take pity on you and give you something or you guilt people into giving you one of their prized possessions. Example: ‘I only have 6 months to live. All I've ever wanted was a car. I don't have the money, but I'll never get the chance to drive one, can't you just make an exception? Just this once? It's my dying wish...’,"6
Number four: "Lying To Get Out Of Trouble. You lie to avoid punishment-this one is simple. Examples: ‘What? I can't believe you would accuse me of such *working up some tears* we've been friends for so long-when did we loose each other's trust?!?’,"6
Basically, we are not categorized as liars and non-liars. We all fall into the category of liars, it’s just which category of liars we put ourselves in, and to which degree of that category do we reach. Of course the most trusting people are going to be at the lowest degree of lying and we all know that the world would be a better place without so much lying going on. Some advice: If you arrive in the situation where a lie could save you a lot of trouble, always tell the truth. Telling the truth, whether it be bad or not, will help you just because of the moral values you are showing. More than likely, the lie will come back to haunt you. Even if the odds are low that you might get caught, is it worth the risk?
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