Let's say she is also thirty-five years old and single, and you happen to know that her greatest desire at this moment in life is to get married and start a family. Some readers may now worry that I am recommending a regression to the social ineptitude of early childhood. And we can resolve to be more forthright in the future. A friend of mine recently asked me whether I thought he was overweight. The truth in this case could well be, "I wouldn't tell you even if I knew. The Gulf of Tonkin incident in Vietnam and false reports of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were both instances in which lying at some level led to armed conflict that might otherwise not have occurred. As the philosopher Sissela Bok observed, however, we cannot get far on this topic without first distinguishing between truth and truthfulness — for a person may be impeccably truthful while being mistaken.
Of course, if I had been carrying illegal drugs, my situation would have been very different. Their behavior will not be tolerated. Like many of Kant's philosophical views, his position on lying was not so much argued for as presumed, like a religious precept. This is not terribly surprising: That was not easy to do, because he had spent the better part of a year working on it — but it happened to be the truth. One of the worst things about breaking the law is that it puts one at odds with an indeterminate number of other people. A wasteland of embarrassment and social upheaval can be neatly avoided by following a single precept in life: Though it has the obvious virtue of clarity — Never tell a lie — in practice, this rule can produce behavior that only a psychopath might endorse. When Sita presented this gift, her friend was delighted. He contends that lies cause irreparable rifts in relationships, causing us to distrust those on whom we had relied. Lying is the royal road to chaos. Lies beget other lies. In any case, we can draw no more daily instruction from the lives of spies than we can from the adventures of astronauts in space. Responding honestly to the subtext would not be lying. Acts of adultery and other personal betrayals, financial fraud, government corruption — even murder and genocide — generally require an additional moral defect: False encouragement is a kind of theft: To lie about one's age, marital status, career, etc. So she put some soaps, shampoos, and body lotions into a bag, tied it with a ribbon she got at the front desk, and set off. We tend to judge the former far more harshly. But what could be wrong with truly "white" lies? Whether Gina knew about her husband's behavior and was keeping it a secret, was self-deceived, or was merely a victim of his cunning and the collusion of others, Stephanie's pretense began to feel indistinguishable from lying. For most of us, such circumstances arise very rarely in life, if ever. Some people are monsters of egocentricity. Funny or not, the story reveals something distasteful about Sita: Acts of commission tend to be both more brazen and more harmful than omitting to act, in part because of their active nature. An example would be a job applicant falsifying his credentials in an effort to land a desired position.
Video about sam harris lying:
Sam Harris: Lying is the sin that paves the way to every other sin
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