Why we lie
First of all, we all lie.
Yep, if you are a human, you do it, too. In fact, every single member of the animal kingdom practices deceit - which is a form of a lie, but a lie, nonetheless - in some form or fashion. (For instance, ground-nesting birds will fake an injury to draw a predator away from their nest.)
But we humans, being blessed with enormously imaginative and creative minds, take deceit and lying to new heights. Our lies and deceptions are delivered with the intent to better others’ perception of us, to gain favor with a potential mate, to bolster our creativity, to bluff our intentions, to gain an edge over our competition, or - just to survive.
When I taught at the Bristol Jail, I came to realize that many of the inmates lied as a survival mechanism. I finally got so exasperated with one inmate that I asked him one day, “Quentin, you know how I can tell when you’re gettin’ ready to lie?”
“How, Mr. T.?”
I answered, “Your lips move.”
Over time, I came to view the lying, manipulation and deceit of many an inmate to be more of an “art form of survival”, rather than solely as a question of morality or ethics.
In fact, over time, I began to see that we all lie in a similar matter for similar reasons and self-justification. All of us. In some form or fashion. At certain times. Under enough duress. We just do. Yes, myself included. Because. We are human. (And being human is a very grand thing indeed - and absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in any way.)
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