by Kenneth Justice
~Mark Twain was the first writer to introduce me to the idiom that, “Only fools and children tell the truth all the time”
I used that as a basis for yesterday’s post and tried to convey a simple truth; “sometimes it is OKAY to lie”…..
“But Kenneth!” you exclaim, “Lying is always wrong!!” you say,
“We must always speak the truth….no matter how much it hurts those we love” you continue to argue…..
The truth of the matter is that a central element in the maturation process is learning to bite-our-tongue, or to put it rather bluntly; learning to lie.
During World War II when the Nazi’s were raiding houses in Germany and the surrounding area looking for Jews, there were a lot of people who lied,
“Are there Jews hiding in this house” the Gestapo would ask
“No” the Polish homeowner would say as they silently prayed the soldiers would not find the trap door underneath the kitchen table where the Jewish family was hiding.
Were those Polish people ‘wrong’ to lie to the Nazi soldiers? Were they wrong to hide the Jews?
The same thing happened in America during the 19th century as African Americans utilized the Underground Railroad to escape their evil captors. Countless stories have been recorded which chronicle the underground railroad and the harrowing tales in which men and women who were sympathetic to the runaway slaves lied, in order to aid the slaves in their quest to reach Canada.
Were those men and women ‘wrong’ to lie to the slave drivers? Were they wrong to hide the African Americans?
Mark Twain went so far as to suggest that lying is a virtue; especially in times of need, such as WWII and the Underground Railroad, in those instances lying is actually a good thing and to tell the truth is a bad thing.
Unfortunately, in our day and age ‘the art of lying’ is dying……
Facebook, YouTube, and other forms of social media have provided children, young adults, and even adults in Western Culture to share too much information.
You see the problem in Western Culture is not that people are lying too much, the problem is that they are telling too much!
Go to the average person’s Facebook page and you will read posts, updates, and see pictures of them that would make Kim Kardashian blush (okay, maybe she wouldn’t blush but my grandmother would!)
–) A professional cheerleader was fired when a picture of her “leaning over a passed-out boy whose entire face and body was covered in distasteful graffiti. “Penis,” (accompanied by said phallic symbols) ‘I’m a Jew’ and a couple swastikas” <article>
–) A juror in the UK was let go when it was found out that she was posting sensitive material related to the case on her Facebook!
–) A server was fired when she made a post complaining about her customers
–) A teacher in Georgia was fired after she posted pictures of herself drinking wine and beer and appearing drunk in the photos
–) A mayor in my home state was fired after it was found that she made inflammatory statements against homosexuals on her Facebook
Those are a mere sampling of how our culture has become a little bit too open with our private lives.
Turn on Reality Television and you will see people acting stupid to the 100th degree because; revealing too much is what our culture seems to thrive on.
I have met with countless young adults who have told me rather bluntly, “I am who I am and if people don’t like it…well that is their problem!”
Unfortunately, I have met with countless older adults who act the same way; it seems that as people get older the less they care for what other people think……
Hey, I am all for openness and honesty…..
But there is a point where it goes too far…..isn’t there?
You see, if I really love people, if I love my friends, if I love my family, if I love my fellow countrymen/women, then wouldn’t it be better if I didn’t say too much or reveal too much?
Wouldn’t it be better if I don’t subject everyone to every element of my life?
Perhaps with our desire to be a more transparent society we have taken things a little bit too far…..perhaps we need to relearn what Mark Twain referred to as the art of lying.
This morning I am drinking Starbucks Goldcoast blend……
Categories: Culture & Society