Friday, 28 February 2014

Thou shalt not lie

Right after the commandment "Thou shalt not commit adultery" is the one that's in the title: Lying is bad.
It's bad in every big standard religion: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism..
They all judge liars, whether the punishment is burning in hell, or being reincarnated into something that will teach you better.
And these religions usually don't even make a difference between white lies (to avoid offense, for instance) and big hurtful lies (which have a -painful- consequences).

And is not telling the truth the same as lying?

I discovered that there are two types of people: Those who will unforgivably condemn lies, because the truth prevails no matter what, and those that will prefer a lie in good faith, to keep their peace of mind.
This discovery is very much linked to the two cultures I lived in long enough to observe and appreciate both sides of this story. Maybe there are more types of people out there... I should find out.
I'm going to stereotype here, and I mean no offense. I understand that there are exceptions to every rule. These are mere observations I've made.

Egyptians, though perfectly religious, treat lying as natural as breathing, though you can't actually say that you are lying, for this brings up the tiny detail that you are, in fact, sinning. From complimenting your dress or hair style, to praising this or that person, to asking doctors to lie to you when you are chronically ill and possibly dying.
Real example: "My husband has cancer. He doesn't know this. I asked his doctor not to tell him. He is too old for chemotherapy. Better if he doesn't know that he's dying."
Another example: "No, we did not tell his sister (who is living in America) that her brother has cancer and is dying. Telling her would only make her sad."  -Forgetting the fact that she might actually appreciate being told in time to say goodbye or finish any unsaid/stalled business (my opinion)-
All of these lies are said to avoid panic, offense, or a general disturbance to anyone's peace of mind.

The (secular) Dutch prefer honesty. In fact, the Dutch are known (stereotypically) to be quite straight-forward, "blunt", and even "rude". Too much so, for many other cultures out there. They don't condemn the lying for fear of any specific God, either. It's just the way they were brought up.
They are not brought up to use flowery languages, and have a too-individualistic upbringing to choose your peace of mind over their own, and will tell you straight out whether they like your nose, belly fat or haircut, or not. There are exceptions, of course, here, too. Some Dutch can lie with a trained pokerface, though perhaps not with the same reasons Egyptians do it.

My opinion? In some cases, you can avoid lying or being blunt: By being diplomatic.
Instead of lying about a birthday present you receive, saying you love it when you hate it, or offending them and saying you don't like it: simply thank the person warmly and tell them how nice it is of them to bring you a gift~  Because it is. Nice. Of them. To get you anything at all. Whether you would've ever picked it for yourself has nothing to do with it.
(Combining the best of both sides, eh? Or avoiding the worst.)

More observations:
(Almost) everyone who cheats will lie about it, regardless of their culture.
(Almost) everyone who steals, will lie about it.
If you commit any sin/ taboo, your first temptation will be to hide it, or lie about it.
Some people almost ask to be lied to, for the mere fact that they are too aggressively stubborn about the way they think what something should be, or what someone should do.
(Almost) everyone will lie to save their own lives. (Or the lives of loved ones. Maybe.)

To me, when you are being lied to, and find out, it feels like being punched in the gut.
The worst part of it is in the case of you knowing that this person was lying to you all along, but denial made so much more sense, because it didn't hurt so much.
I've been in that denial phase so many times. And I'm a big hypocrite, because I've also lied so many times..

I try, as hard as I can, not to judge people.
I try, as hard as I can, to be objective and fair.
I try, as hard as I can, not to become irrationally angry or childish when told painful truths.
Mostly, I do this to invite honesty.
Because I prefer painful truths to pretty lies.
And I try, as hard as I can, to be honest without hurting people or causing offense...

I wish everyone was like that...

The Gypsy

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