THINK ON THESE: Lies, damned lies

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche


I rarely watch television these days. But once some of these segments are posted on social media, you can’t help but watch them.

Two of the most-watched Senate inquiries, if you call it that way, are the road rage (between a siklista and former policeman) and the kasambahay who is on the verge of losing her eyesights.

Watching during the proceedings, you can immediately see who are the victims and who are lying. But the words they have spoken and by their body movements, you can always count on your keen observation. It doesn’t take a psychologist or a lawyer to know the truth.

“If you tell the truth,” Mark Twain once said, “you don’t have to remember anything.” To think of, life is one-half if and two-thirds lie. A Russian proverb advised, “With lies, you may go ahead in the world ­ but you can never go back.”

Research in the United States showed that people lie in about a quarter of their daily interactions. In another study, done by Professor Jeff Hancock of Cornell University, it was found that people are more likely to tell a lie during a phone conversation than they are in an e-mail exchange.

“Most day-to-day lies tend to emerge in conversation ­ they’re spontaneous ­ so it’s unlikely for lies to occur in e-mails, which are more planned,” Prof. Hancock explained.

Jerome K. Jerome pointed out: “It is always the best policy to speak the truth, unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar.”

American president Thomas Jefferson noted: “He who permits himself to tell a lie once finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time till at length it becomes habitual.” To which William Shakespeare, the father of English literature, dismissed: “When my love swears that she is made of truth, I do believe her, though I know she lies.”

Unknowingly, lying is a health hazard. In fact, some studies have shown that lying can boost blood pressure, because it requires more brain function. The more a person lies, the more he adds stress (and, hence, increases his blood pressure), says Dr David Robertson, director of the Clinical Research Center at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee.

Ann Landers is one of the most popular columnists in the United States. A reader once wrote a letter to her about his life: “I was a compulsive liar who started young. Although my parents did all they could to stop it, I kept lying. My problem was trying to impress people. My life never seemed glamorous enough. Here is a short history of what happens to a liar:

“I went through school lying to my friends, trying to be a big shot. When I graduated I had no friends, so I started to look for new ones. By then, lying was a way of life.

“In order to support the lies I needed more money than I had, so I wrote checks I couldn’t cover. I also impersonated a naval officer and later a successful businessman.

“My wife found out that I had totally misrepresented myself and invented friends and businesses I never had. She left me. The same thing happened with my second wife. I decided I had to change. Shortly after I married my third wife, I went to prison for passing bad checks. She divorced me while I was in prison.

“This advice is for the kid who lies. Please think about the future. A lie not only hurts you, but it poisons all your relationships.”

The other side of the coin is of course the truth. “Truth is always strong, no matter how weak it looks, and falsehood is always weak, no matter how strong it looks,” Phillips Brooks points out. Truth doesn’t hurt ­ unless it ought to.

Winston Churchill quips: “Truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it; ignorance may deride it; malice may distort it; but there it is.”

One good thing about telling the truth is you don’t have to remember what you said. Robert A. Cook said it best: “Always tell the truth. Then you don’t have to worry about what you said last.”

Barry Stevens, paraphrasing the Holy Bible, stated: “The truth shall make you free, but first it shall make you miserable.” Franklin P. Jones dismissed it frankly: “Of course the truth hurts. You would too, if you got kicked around so much.”

Let me end this column with this story taken from God’s Little Devotional Book for Men. Four young men once competed vigorously to become head of the trust department at their bank. After considering the merits of each applicant, the board of directors made its decision. They decided to notify the young man of his promotion, including a substantial raise in salary, at a meeting scheduled after lunch.

During the noon hour, the young man they had selected went to the cafeteria for lunch. One of the directors was behind him in the line, separated by several other customers. The director saw the young man select his food, including a small piece of butter. As soon as he flipped the butter onto his plate, he immediately shuffled some food on top of it to hide it from the cashier. Thus, he avoided paying for it.

That afternoon, the directors met to notify the young man, but prior to bringing him into the room, the incident was told to the entire board. Rather than give the young man the promotion, they called him in to discharge him from the bank. They had concluded that if he was willing to lie to a cashier about what was on his plate, he would be just as willing to lie about what was in the bank’s accounts.

“Lying isn’t a matter of degree,” the book concludes. “A lie is a lie. Truth is the truth. And you can bank on that fact!”

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