We Are All Liars

Everyone lies. Experts say we lie several times each day. Yet, we are quick to judge athletes and celebrities who lie.

This week has been a big week for deception. Between Lance Armstrong's confession and the mess Manti Te'o got into with a non-existent girlfriend, one wonders when all the lying will stop. If you haven't figured it our yet. It's not going to stop. It never has. It never will.  Lying is common and, at times, even useful and humane. But some people uniformly condemn others for telling lies. Is that hypocritical?


Psychologists who study deception are analyzing the entire Lance Armstrong episode and are concluding that the lies he's told are probably no more persistent and outsized than the ones we all tell. They just received more publicity and the stakes and consequences of whom was affected may have been greater.

Robert Feldman, Dean of Social and Behaviorial Sciences at The University of Massachussetts maintains we all lie as much as we do because it works. We start lying by the age of four, lie several times a day and we get progressively better at it. Usually the lies are minor: "Love that tie", "You did a great job", "No, you don't look fat in those jeans.", etc.

It's not that easy to lie. It takes mental effort and the longer the lie is perpetuated, the more infrastructure is built around it, It also takes a good memory.Ironically, often people who lie often see themselves as good and decent people. But we all rationalize lies at times. It's a very human thing to do.

Most of us will always maintain that we don't condone lying nor appreciate it. But sometimes it is so intricately weaved into our culture that we have no choice. Have you ever told a child about Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny?  At times we lie to boost someones self-esteem or to help them in a difficult situation. I don't know how to make that seem right if you are strictly an anti-liar. But I will probably continue to perpetuate lies like those. We used to call them little white lies....inferring that they really didn't hurt anyone. But lies and deception, we are told in our religions is always a bad thing.

So where do we stand on lying? Are we justified condemning a famous person when they make a massive admission to a lie when we also lie? I have no idea. I'm getting a bit of a headache just thinking about this subject and it's complexities and that's no lie!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mickie McGowan January 20, 2013 at 06:00 PM
It's funny...someone on Facebook posted a video of a test with a trained chimp...who lied...he blamed an accident he caused on another animal at the establishment! YES, we all lie. But most of us reserve it for a reason we were late for work...or something in that category. I have a neghbor who is a SHRINK, and she lies every time she opens her mouth. She tells BIG stories, when simple truth would be just as easy and acceptable. WHY? I guess she can't help embellishing...she forgets what she said and traps herself all the time, yet is a paid, professional SHRINK with a good local job! Now, that's scary. As for Lance...I dislike that innocent look he puts on for the camera...and I think deliberately doping to win, then lying about it, is really a bad thing. Maybe there are DEGREES of lying??
Steven Hanson January 23, 2013 at 03:40 AM
There probably are ;levels of lying. Fascinating about your neighbor, the Shrink....one profession you'd think would promote honesty. But I guess the tendency or ability to lie is ingrained in human behavior. One just has to try and not cause damage with it.
Kevin kolenda January 23, 2013 at 05:04 PM
WOW finally . . . this shouldn't be a surprise to a sensible person, As I was one of the people involved with provided prizes for Lance's contests and THE first co. on the internet for prize awards at sports events (100,000 or so around the world). We knew 25+ years ago that people "cheat" "cut corners" "break the rules" in sports contests. I was verifying these sports claims (probably the only one in the world) 15 years before Lance started doping. IT HAPPENS. ITS SAD when it gets to that level, (its also human nature). I have witnessed numerous fraudulent winning sport claims from hometown-locals (Stamford, Danbury, Hartford) to national level events. Even in golf, (maybe the highest integrity sport). Speaking out from the onset (very quietly) as no-one wanted to believe the opposite, with smoking gun facts, while continually chastised? What is REALLY DEPLORABLE are the (officials, state regulators, politicians, agencys, people, partners etc) I have come in contact with, that KNEW, ignored the truth and THEN used these NON-compliant winners, "grabbing onto their coattails" per se, looking the other way ONLY for PR & their OWN personal gain. . . . Lance "manned up" . . . now they ALL have to be exposed (CT demanded to shut down our web sites that documented these facts) (any 1st amendment lawyers out there?) . . . that will be MUCH LARGER STORY in the future as the names will be household http://www.hole-in-won.com/HIOrule-breakers.htm http://www.kevinkolenda.com
Steven Hanson January 23, 2013 at 06:05 PM
Excellent perspective and fascinating point of view, Kevin! Thanks for contributing your experiences!
T. Populus January 25, 2013 at 08:58 PM
Hi Mickie, I know this is late, but I felt it necessary to post this and I hope you get it. I feel like you used the opportunity of this story to take a not-so-indirect stab at your neighbor the SHRINK, who tells "BIG stories". Now your entire neighborhood probably knows who this SHRINK is and you have done the damage you desired - feel better? But what I, the casual observer, don't know is a. are you the stalker she avoids? b. are you a pest she tells lies to avoid? c. are you jealous of her or suspect your hubby of checking her out? There are so many reason why that post is suspect. My final point, why do "most of us reserve a reason..." for lying, but for your neighbor it's a character/psychological abnormality? Sorry, Mickie, this was small of you and you know it. Are there degrees of being disingenuous?


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