I recently heard someone use the term “white lie”, and it got me thinking. I'm sure we've all heard the phrase, “honesty is the best policy.” Unfortunately many people have abandoned this important principle, in favour of “white lies.”
The concept of “white lies”, is not only a clear method of copping out, but twice the lie as a “regular lie”. A “white lie” not only has the initial lie, but it includes the lie to oneself, and to others, that the first lie can be justified. Another term that is used to describe the same thing is a “compound lie”. This makes “white lies” much worse than “regular lies”.
In a sci-fi TV show I was watching recently, the political characters had decided it was better the public didn't know various military actions the government had taken. While several characters played with the idea that the truth can be dangerous, another character protested that “the truth always matters most”. It's true, truth may offend, but one can choose whether or not they will be offended by the facts. Inward offense is not an involuntary reaction, it's a choice. Knowing the truth and personal responsibility must take precedent over unbalanced emotions.
One of the most famous quotes about truth is, “The truth will set you free” which comes from the Bible. The trouble with a lie, whether it's a so called “white lie” or not, is that lies always travel in packs.
It was famously said by Walter Scott, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!”
Shakespeare's Macbeth showed that one act of deceit is not an end in itself. In the play, Macbeth killed the king in a lust for power. But he didn't stop there. To hide his guilt, he had to pin the crime on the king's guards, and kill them, claiming to be executing judgment on them for killing the king. Eventually Macbeth ended up harming more and more people, and killing one of his closest friends, to hide his guilt. The trouble is, each time he did away with someone, it didn't hide his guilt, it only added to it.
While not as dramatic in their beginnings, “white lies” never stop where they start either. Let's weed “white lies” out of our vocabulary, and remember what Mr. Rogers, one of the longest running TV child educators once said, “The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self.”
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