To what extent is lying acceptable in our society? Tuesday, Aug 24 2010 

It’s been over a year since my last post, frankly speaking.. I just didn’t feel like blogging. But my mood changed, so here is my first official post!

This is an excerpt from one of my essays, titled ”Lying: The Core Of Deception”. It basically covers my views on lying in our society. Enjoy.

To what extent is lying acceptable in our society?

‘’O what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive’’, a quote by Sir Walter Scott.

Which perfectly describes what happens when we first try to deceive. We lie to save ourselves, and then lie again to escape that lie, and then lie once again as an excuse for the previous lie. Sooner or later we find ourselves strangled in a web of lies.

Lying is probably the most common act in our lives that falls under the category of deception and wrongly delivered deeds towards another person. Lying is a form of deception, I think we all know what a lie is. But if you don’t, a lie is a form of deception based on the core aspect of concealing the truth.

It is supplying wrong information, which you know is untrue, to another person making it seem true. With the intention of deceiving of course.

Lies can be categorized in the following elements:

  • It bears some information.
  • It has the intention of misleading and deception.
  • The supplier knows it is not true.

Sometimes a lie doesn’t have to bear false information, it can be based on a true event or the information supplied can be truthful yet not relevant to the subject, which means it’s a truthful lie.

Some lies don’t have to bear malicious intent when told, it can be a lie for own best will to protect the person you’re lying to, which is considered in official terms a white lie.

Sisella Bok, who is an author of an important philosophical book on the subject of lying and deception, classifies the term ‘’lying’’ as follows, ‘’an intentionally deceptive message in the form of a statement’’.

People often see lies that don’t have the intention the do harm as white lies. A white lie is a lie that bears the intention of making the person lied to benefit from it on the short run.

So there is a distinguishing between these two forms of lies, white lies and normal lies.

The people that filled out my questionnaire agree with this statement. On the question ‘’is there such a thing as a white lie?’’, ninety percent of the males answered ‘’yes’’.  Seventy percent of the females agrees and answered with ‘’yes’’ as well. Does that mean that people think that lying is acceptable in our society? Since white lies are still lies, a lie is a lie, it’s that simple.

But by just utilizing the results of one aspect of the questionnaire the research question won’t be fully answered. I have interviewed twenty people in total, who reside in the united states of America. My target group was the age range of 18-25, so I didn’t ask for the interviewee’s age in the questionnaire. From which are 10 males and 20 females, I chose this even number of people and even number of sexes so I could process the data easier and more efficient. So it could be put in this context in an eloquent and deliberate way.

On the more direct, blunt, question if lying is acceptable; only fifty percent of the females agreed, meaning females have a mixed feeling about it being acceptable or not. Whereas seventy percent of the males thinks that lying is acceptable. Which means that sixty percent of the interviewees thinks that lying is acceptable, and forty percent disagrees.

If it comes to own benefit, all the men interviewed admits to have lied, whereas only ninety percent of the women admits to have lied for own benefit.

Ninety percent of the females have lied to protect someone, and only seventy percent of the males will lie or has lied to protect somebody else besides there selves.

Above diagram portrays the number of people who agree or disagree with white lies, people who admit having or have never lied for own benefit, admits having or never have lied for protection and if lies are acceptable or not.

So can I conclude that lying is acceptable in our society? And to what extent exactly is this acceptable? Well, considering that sixty percent of the interviewees think that lying is acceptable, I would conclude that most people will find lying acceptable, to a certain degree of course. And that extent is hovering somewhere between white lies and normal lies. It tends to shift once in a while, since white lies are considered not that harmful as opposed to normal lies, white lies act like a entrance barrier to make lying acceptable. If it wasn’t for white lies lying would never be accepted by the masses in such a strong way as it is now. The moral and ethical issues emphasize on that, and since the term ‘’white lies’’ is in fact a trick up liars’ sleeves, lying has become somewhat accepted even in ethical cases.

If you don’t lie to spare somebody’s feelings you might get caught in a ethical web that stresses out the fact that in that particular case lying would have been the right thing to do. Even if the truth is considered in social ethical terms as the righteous out way of a problem or argument. So you can see that there is a social dilemma, ethics act like a double edged sword in this particular case, stabbing on both sides of the story. Technically speaking lying is bad and it should not be accepted in our society, but yet we all lie and are consciously aware that we ought to accept lying in our daily living pattern, since it already is accepted by us in a subconscious way. Because if it wasn’t we wouldn’t be lying that much in the first place.

Since we try to justify every single thing we do by letting our brains find an argument or a reason to justify it psychological. Which means that all the things that are considered bad are tried to be justified by our conscious.

Looking at the fact that we humans lie at least 3 times during a ten minute conversation, and that these acts of deception are being justified by our conscious, I can conclude that the acceptance criteria of lying is pretty much shifting between white lies and normal lies because lying is frowned upon if looked at it from a moral view. Which is always the case when it comes down to social issues.

Which means that the majority of the people who think that lying is not acceptable in our society at all are the people who value morals and ethics above a lot of other aspects. These people are afraid to admit to themselves that lying is acceptable, even if they know it is acceptable.

So according to my research that I have interpreted in a social psychological manner, I come to the conclusion that lying is acceptable in our society.  And that extent is pretty hard to determine, so to the question ‘’to what extent is lying acceptable in our society?’’ the answer would be to the extent of hurting other people. If there is no harm inflicted upon the person that is lied to, then it is accepted by our society. Of course this is when we put on our ethical glasses and take the data in consideration that I have collected from my research, if we put those glasses off we can clearly see that lying already is accepted in our society and that lying has become, or actually always was, a tool of surviving for us human beings.


Yo Monday, Feb 23 2009 

As you can see I’m running a blog. I go by the name of Zu, McZu to be precise. Because I’m an Mc and I write lyrics (Duh). It may be something Hip-Hop related, a poem or just a story. Being a lyricist is a hobby, so is soccer (footbal), solving riddles and hanging out. I guess that’s me sortoff, if there are any questions feel free to ask. I’ll be posting some lyrics when I feel like doing so, this blog is just mainly to clear my head in a non-lyrical manner.

So until the next post.