There might be few saints walking this Earth who have never lied, but I have not met any. Yet. And I am not saying that I have not met any holy men – we a have a bunch of them in our government..

We all have told a lie or two either where we deemed it necessary or were we found it to be prudent. That does not make us liars, does it now? There is such a thing as a “white” lie. It is a lie, but it is like white magic. It is good. It does no harm, on the contrary, your victim is left happy and pleased. White lies are so commonplace that we consider them to be rather a figure of speech than a lie. They are of the kind you use to get your things done faster, e.g. when you come to the local branch of your bank, the first thing you tell your woman behind the desk is that she looks great. Never you mind, if she does not. That’s why it is called a lie!

There is no such a thing as too big a white lie. Nonsense! Remember, with white lies, you simply cannot overdo it. Truly. The bigger the disconnect between the reality and the sweet train of words you choose to describe it with, the whiter your lie gets. The bigger, the whiter, the better. That’s the rule.

Lying, in general, is a useful skill in our modern society. There are professions both in private and public sphere in which the ability to lie is considered a must. Positions among politicians, businessmen, bankers and many others literally require that one know how to lie. And these are not the white lies we are talking about anymore. These lies do not leave you happy. They don’t leave you pleased.

There are only white lies and lies. Unlike the white ones, all other lies can be very rich and colourful, hence no other colours are being ascribed to these. However, they have one distinctive feature to be remembered, just in case you decide to take to lying yourselves. If used far too often, especially those of darker hues, they turn the person using them into a Liar. And being a Liar, no one will believe you, not because you would not tell the truth, but because your listeners would have no way of telling whether you are lying to them, or not.

This problem was obviously pondered by the wise men over two millennia ago, when, in the ancient Greece, the sophists came up with the Liar’s paradox, which, very simplified, goes like this:

A liar comes to you and says: “I am a liar.”

Now, the question is whether he’s lying to you or telling the truth.

One thought on “On a White Lie

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