The Art of lying…….huh???



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

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18 replies

  1. I certainly agree with you that people tend to share too much lately (especially via social media). Nothing wrong with not telling/showing others something sometimes… People need to find the balance between ‘keeping everything to yourself’ and ‘sharing every single detail about your life’.

  2. Very nicely done Sir 😉

  3. Whenever we lie isn’t there a justification. Omissions are the easiest to slide by. I just didn’t say what maybe they wanted to hear but it serves me some how to avoid telling that truth. Ah what tangled webs. You didn’t mention my least favorite lying I do. I lie to myself. Last night I went to a garden party with a man. I watched him drink. I asked him if he wouldn’t rather that I drove. Oh, No. He was clearly a danger on the road. I told him so after the fact. In the clear new day I knew that before I got in the car. Old habits or unwillingness to be brutally honest with myself, which implies acting on the truth. Which takes backbone.

    • Camille, ha ha well you are beating me to the punch….I wrote an article about ‘lying to ourselves’ I just haven’t posted it yet 🙂

      excellent example!

  4. Yup, tact went out the window with the AM radio. Sad… I was recently talking to a friend who is an actor and he was asking me if his performance was believable. No, for ME it was not because the performance was so against who he is as a person. Would he have been believable to someone who didn’t know him at all? I don’t know. I know I offended him just a bit by telling him my true feelings. You are this person and even when I know you are acting, it’s hard for me to believe you are anyone else than who you are. I should have just said, “It was awesome. You were on TV and that’s just AWESOME!” I know I would have been kind of skirting the issue but… It would have been nicer… and way more tactful.

    A friend asked me about this exact issue about a year ago. She asked me if I always tell the truth and I bluntly stated that I lie all the time because I don’t feel its necessary to hurt peoples feelings and I have to make the choice as to whether my words will be constructive or destructive, truthful or not. If the truth serves no purpose and I am put on the spot, I will skirt, omit and/or lie. That’s real life and real relationships and the reason why I still have friends. She is not that person. She tells the stark truth all the time and although I have known her most of her life, it’s hard to talk to someone who has no filter. I can only take her in small doses.

    – the wifey

  5. I also liked yesterdays statement that it is often times a matter of perception. Just because I see it this way doesn’t mean that’s the way it is, as was the case with my actor friend.
    – the wifey

  6. I loves this post, compliments yesterdays quite well. My favorite line, “Wouldn’t it be better if I don’t subject everyone to every element of my life?” really made me laugh, because it’s like EXACTLY! I’m always surprised my cousin doesn’t get in trouble for posting stuff (even pictures) on his Facebook, about the inmates/criminals he deals with as a sheriff….and other people I know, just talk about too many personal stuff and opinions. Keep it to yourself! Lol, thanks Kenny!

  7. We do seem to have lost our ability to restrain ourselves. I always thought it would be interesting to do a formal study about how social media/internet use has rearranged the communication methods and standards in the last decade or so. Anyone happen to know of any studies that have already been done or good books on the topic?

  8. i completely agree with all the social media stuff. i do very much tire of this attitude of if you don’t like it, take a hike. that’s so disrespectful in my eyes. it’s one thing to share intimate details of your life with closest family and friends but completely another to share it with the world. Obviously in extreme situations as you pointed out and like Rwanda, there was a need to lie – it literally was about life and death. while i can understand the value of not being brutally honest or even fibbing a little bit in certain circumstances, i would suggest using caution when even using the occasional little white lie because even those can be damaging or hurtful if found out and a little trust lost. personally, i think part of the problem is people have lost the ability to be tactful and respectful of others and in truth, of themselves. the truth will always hurt some but in most cases it doesn’t have to be as hurtful as it ends up being. i truly believe there’s a big difference between honest and brutally honest. i understand and in many ways agree with what you’re saying but in some ways i can’t because i just can’t stand lying. i really would prefer someone to be totally honest with me than to lie, but then again i suppose im not the type to ask the “does this dress make me look fat?” either lol. and if i did – i’d really expect the truth because i personally don’t want to end up in one of those montages of photos of people at some store dressed poorly who shouldn’t be out in public haha. 🙂

  9. Really interesting post, Kenneth. It’s question I grapple with often. I don’t think it’s ever wrong to tell the truth but it’s not always necessary to divulge it.. I think maturity is knowing who it’s appropriate to tell the truth to and when. I think it’s also important to understand that at times, if someone is bothered by the truth it has more to do with a flaw in the listener than in the truth teller.

  10. I am somewhat of a liar myself–there are others.>KB

  11. I so agree with you here. Far too much information is shared on social media, it’s gotten ridiculous, do people not know that what you post online, remains forever!!! Since Instagram implemented video, I’ve actually had to drop a few people, there were just things I did not care to see!! This is a very interesting and thought provoking post. Sometimes lying just cannot be avoided. I loved the way you put it into perspective regarding persecuted Jews and African Americans utilizing the underground railroad, life and death situations, maybe lying can/will save a life, you do what you have to do. I’m loving your blog. I’m glad you found me. I will be staying tuned.

    • Maylana,

      even though it seems obvious to you an I, that in certain instances ‘lying just cannot be avoided’…not everyone agrees so it makes for an interesting subject 🙂

  12. I firmly disagree even though it surely is a quite interesting and remarkable approach.

    Lying is a powerful tool driving ourselves into circumstances we hardly can foresee. It can be profitable in a certain situation but only on the short run because the difficulty is to keep the upper hand about it and prevent yourself from drawing wrong consequences which is nearly impossible. With every intentional lie you lose self-respect which harms you.

    You need to take into account that as a lyer one is not neutral and tends to justify his behaviour instead of objectively evaluate the facts.

    The real mistake in your examples is not opposing injustice and not accept responsibility which implies lying even to yourself since nobody likes to recognize being a coward (which is unintended lying). Further, war is insanity, so taking such an example is not very reliable.

    The problem is not sharing too much information, everyone can share something about you, even a lie may have a big impact as you can see in politics for example. In the near future we’ll get to a point where we just can’t hide information anymore anyway. The solution is getting capable to face truth which is the only way on the long run. Our fears are the key to it, you need to face them and therefore learn being brave.


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