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November 28, 2005

The Curious Incident of the Conflict in the Night-Time

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When is a lie OK to use? Are there varying degrees of lies? Are there times when lies seem necessary?

-Brian, Nate, Ryan

Posted by at November 28, 2005 4:13 PM | The Curious Incident


I think that there are some lies that are ok to tell as long as they are helping the person out in the long run and are not being told for a selfish goal.
I don't think that there are really varying degrees of a lie - a lie is a lie. However, some lies may be more crucial or significant than others or have a larger impact when told.
Lies are sometimes necessary. I can't think of a situtation where this would be true, but I am sure that there is one, though I really prefer always telling the truth because then you don't get caught up in telling lies and have a snoball effect.

Posted by: Robin at November 28, 2005 8:04 PM

Lies! Lies! and unfortunately more lies! It is said that people lie on the average of 200 times a day. Most of these are innocent (white) lies, but as Jamie once said, white lies blacken the soul of innocence.

SOmetimes I feel that lies are a form of evil infiltrating our life. It is hard to escape this, compelled as we are to participate in the oftentimes vicious circle of lies.

But to not "lie" we enter the social problematic of telling what might be "hurtful" truths: You look so horrible, I don't want to talk to you right now - go away. Perhaps we need learn the art of practicing safe language - the art of being tactful, yet being honest?

Posted by: Mary F. Wright at November 29, 2005 10:34 AM

I agree with Mary. I think we all need to work on smoothly crafting comments that allow the truth, yet don't offend. A lot of the time a lie is just an easy way out-- the lazy way to further relationships. If we all made an effort to be more honest, no matter if that meant a little more work, maybe we'd find it was worth it. Maybe we wouldn't.

I thought it was really interesting to look at lies the way Christopher did. They hurt him, because if he started thinking about all the things that didn't happen but could have, there was an overload on his very intelligent brain. Instead of working through lies, developing them and telling them, the truth must be at least a fraction easier...?

Posted by: Randi at November 29, 2005 3:34 PM

Lies are definitely necessary at times. That is where the varying degrees come into play. We all have to decide what statements will best fit certain situations. To use lies in a positive way, we hopefully only use them to be helpful, without hurting anyone. Sometimes a friend might ask if something looks good on her. If you know she doesn’t have something else to wear, then it’s best to say yes. At least this way she will not be self-conscious and may even look better because she will now have a confident attitude. Despite this, I believe that the world would be a better place without lies.

Posted by: Sandy at November 29, 2005 8:36 PM

I think that there are varying degrees of lies but lies are necessary at times. If someone comes up to you and asks if something looks okay and it doesn't you don't want to hurt their feelings so you say yes. I mean if you are really close to the person and you know that they want you to be honest and you won't hurt their feelings then you should tell the truth. People do lie all the time to avoid conflict and I think that is very wrong. Conflict is the main reason people lie. If you are caught in a lie it is worse then telling the truth. I think telling the truth is very important and there are only a few times that I would tell a "white lie" People lie all the time and they think that it is helping them but it really doesn't. If it works one time to lie then a person will do it all the time to get out of things but one day it will catch up to them.

Posted by: Kimberly at November 30, 2005 11:47 AM

To answer my own question, yes I do believe there are times when it is OK to lie. Sometimes you encounter situations which it would be so much less hurtful and just overall a better idea to simply lie . A great example of this is when friends or signifcant others ask how they look. Now you might think they look ridiculous, but if they seem happy about it and it's not going to matter what they look like anyway, lying about how you feel is a much better solution.

There is without a doubt varying degrees of lies. To lie in such a situation as described earlier compared to say, lying about who murdered someone is obviously a vast difference. Understanding the consequences, victims, and situations in which these lies occurs determines what degree that lie is considered.

Some would claim that in a perfect world there would be no lies, but I feel lies are such a part of being a human being that to create this utopia would mean to change human existance.

Posted by: Nate Miller at December 4, 2005 9:20 PM

We tell children "Do as I say, not as I do." And we teach our children to lie through what we say. Have you ever thought about that? I have. I do understand that at times lies are necessary, but I do not agree that white lies fit the necessity-category. White lies truley do blacken our innocence. They slowly cover the child within us. Lies I feel that are necessary become justified through reason, like lies that protect someone loved or someone who deserves more--which in some cases could even be yourself. Obviously I am not saying that just because you care about someone who committed a crime means it is justified to lie for them. But we survive in an unfair world led by unfair people, and lies that give a chance to someone deservant through reasoning cancel-out in my opinion.

Posted by: Jamie at December 5, 2005 12:37 PM

I am reminded of the film "Liar, Liar" where Jim Carrey has to tell the truth for an entire day and is unable to tell a lie. This film, though funny, irritates me. I get irritated at the fact that some things are just better left unsaid. Isn't the saying "some things are better left unsaid" or "if you don't have anything nice to say don't say it at all?" Does this make you a liar, or just a caring and tactful individual? Though keeping the truth from someone makes you a liar in the end...does it really? Or is the person simply not telling you something they know will hurt you? AHHHh I feel like I am going in circles. I know that once someone kept the truth from me, not that I flat out blank asked them about what they weren't telling me and then they lied, but that they just chose not to tell me at all. Is this still lying? I didn't ask, they didn't tell?

Well of course I will sometimes tell someone I like their new haircut even if I think they went a little short, but that is because what can the person do about it now? They can't regrow their hair, so why stick them with a bad review they can't fix? If it is something that I think will benefit them if the truth is told then I tell it, in the most tactful way I can, but I don't just let it go. I guess I answered the question...not sure at this point.

Posted by: Erin at December 8, 2005 12:42 AM

A lie is ok to use when it protects a person that is in harms way. I feel that lying is mostly never ok but there can be certain circumstances when it is needed. I absolutely think that their are degrees of lying. One could tell a little white lie that doesn't mean anything and then go off and tell a horrible lie that could ruin someone's life by saying that one cheated on the other or murdered someone. I feel that lies seem necessary very rarely but do happen.

Posted by: Brittany at December 12, 2005 3:37 PM

I really despise lies, but yes, they are necessary at times. There are multiple degrees of lying, ranging from the omission lie- where you just do not tell the person the whole truth, to the white lie-such as "Oh, that shirt does NOT make you look fat", to the lie that is told for selfish reasons. When a lie if told to protect someone or be tactful, it is still a lie, but it is much less severe than some other types of lies. The thing to remember when you choose to tell a lie is that if/when the truth does come out, you are going to have to face the consequences and the majority of the time, lies cause a lot of pain and hurt and distrust.

Posted by: Rachel at December 18, 2005 12:06 PM

Lies may sometimes be necessary and depends on the intention of the person. But generally, lies only produce conflicts between or among people.

In using your communication skills, you should tell the truth to be able to communicate effectively. Telling the truth is very important to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings.

Posted by: Communication Skills at January 14, 2008 1:20 PM