Monday, October 03, 2005

"My list of the top five lies" written for an honors class

My list of the top five lies
Joy Banerjee
Honors Composition

Rev 21:8 "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth withfire and brimstone: which is the second death."

Lying -- one of the biggest sins in our society. People have been lying all through the ages and there doesnt seem to be an end in sight. Our society is ingrained with the art of lying. It is not possible to survive in this individualistic society without lying, but this is the reason that people dont trust each other anymore. Individuals have different relationships with lying. Some may declare their preference for honesty, or lack awareness about moral problems associated with lying; some are just beyond caring, as ifit is an integral part of them.

Of the many lies people tell, the most harmless is the white lie. A common example of my fifth lie isgiving a false excuse to avoid hurting the feelings of someone making a request or giving an invitation. To illustrate this point, a common lie is the phrase I dont have it. I have heard that phrase usedso many times; I am myself guilty of using it, often to the point that I feel ashamed at times. Although a white lie is harmless by itself, since it doesnt have much moral import, the accumulated effect leads to confusion, misunderstandings and distress. People sometimes forget the white lies they say and blurt out the truth. This is embarrassing for both parties involved. But then most people use white lies so often that they dont realize it.

The fourth lie, which stands out to me, is when people say, I dont know or I dont rememberwhen a question is asked. How annoying is it when you ask someone something and then, although they know the answer, they are too lazy to give a straight answer? Instead they give you a shrug and the awful phrase I dont know! This is perhaps the most widespread phrase among the student populus. As sterile as this statement is, most of us are offended by it if its not true. The I dont rememberusually comes up when people are reminded of their stupid mistakes under the influence of alcohol. I am not sure how drunk people have to be so that they lose conscious control of themselves. Feigning amnesiaand avoiding the truth of their idiocy is generally not very healthy.

I would award the third place to the lies we tell ourselves. The most widespread self lie in our age group would be I am not an alcoholic. I can quit anytime. This is something that every drinker tells himself, but the sad part is that itsalmost always false. Another common addiction that people say they can quit is smoking. I have seen attempts of many of my friends and family members to quit smoking but they have always started again when they take one puff after staying away from it for a long time.One such lie I am guilty of is saying that I am not addicted to my computer and internet because lately I have realized that I am. I am generally never in a good mood when the college internet is down because its one of my outlets for stress during the day plus its the only way I am in contact with my friends and family.Another lie we tell ourselves during school is when we think we are doing fine in academics while actually we are not. This has been an issue with several people I know. They think they can get better after failing in tests and quizzes although inside they know better. It tears me up to see people dejected after being unable to grasp the reality of the consequences of not performing up to par in classes.

And the second place goes to the lies we use for excuses in school. In this category, the rampant lying deals primarily with homework. I have heard some bizarre and downright silly reasons like my dog ate my homework or my baby brother tore it up. The 21st century version would be my computer crashed or a virus deleted my essay. To be truthful, I have used some excuses in my school life as well, mostly stuff like I was sick or I had a major headache.But then my professor would believe these excuses because it was true most of the time and couldnt differentiate between a fake excuse and the truth because it is so believable. Students also lie about tardiness all the time as well. The world famous I had a flat or my alarm didnt go off seem to be the best reasons for being late, although professors have been able to see past the facade.

Last but not the least, the lie that takes the crown is the lies that women tell others. Most of them are downright hilarious. Age and weight is something they love lying about. Its like they think we are blind or something. When a 200 pound woman says that she is 120 pounds, instead of people believing her, shed be the laughed at. Another thing that amazes me is how women think that people would think they are 40 when they are truly 55. Some lies they use when they dont want to go out with someone is usually something like I am busy that night or my parents are coming over. When questioned about lying, theyd say that they were using feminine guile. So it seems like they have coined a new term for lying and it doesnt seem so bad to them anymore.

Lies range from the Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton scandal to the innocuous white lies. One interesting statistics from a leading authority in lying is that women tell four white lies every 15 minutes to mens three. I think lying is okay in a micro level but on the macro scale, a lie is like a ripple that expands and reproduces exponentially as one lie begets another lie. So, a perfect utopian world would not have any lies.
[Listening to: Slip - Lit - Atomic (4:00)]

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