Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Essay about The Art of Lying

The art of lying and deception has developed over centuries of mistruth, to become in today's modern world a necessity of life. The Oxford dictionary defines a lie as "an intentionally false statement used in order to deceive". Although condemned, lying is an act in which we all take part in.

For many of us, lying is a daily habit which saves both time and pain. Whether denying an action to escape punishment or implying false statements to persuade or deceive, lying is an art, which if mastered can be a very useful tool in life. If used incorrectly, the consequences of lying can have a profound negative impact on our lives both socially and in extreme cases legally. Lying comes in many forms and variations depending on the situation it is to be used in. Verbal, visual and physical lies are used for many different purposes. In this piece of writing, you will develop and understanding of the uses and consequences of lying and deception, and also learn some techniques associated with an effective lie.

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One of the many uses of lying is deception. Deception can be defined as being mislead of the truth. Deception is all around us. Television, billboards and politicians are examples of the different levels of deception we are confronted with daily. Subtle deception evident on television and billboards, commonly used in advertisements is legal. When watching commercials such as the ab rocker, the bodybuilders working happily on the machines have not developed their bodies on this equipment, but with years of gym work. People are lead to believe that they will look similar with ten minutes on the ab rocker daily. In contrast, politicians are an extreme case of deception in which legal measure can be taken. In gaining the job as Prime Minister or President of a county, policies and promises are made to encourage the citizens of a country to vote for them. Once given the job, many leaders have not complied with their promises. They deceitfully abuse the trust of their country.

Many television programs such as interrogate politicians publicly in order to deter them from lying. From long ago, deception has been used as one of the most effective tactics in war. To confuse enemies great leaders deceived the enemy into miscalculating their forces. Sun Tzu: Art of War "Therefore, when capable of attacking, feign incapacity; when active in moving troops, feign inactivity. When near the enemy, make it seem that you are far away; when far away, make it seem that you are near. Hold out baits to lure the enemy. Strike the enemy when he is in disorder." As is learnt from this passage, in all competition and in life in general, allowing others to predict you can be harmful. Deception in war such as this are still used today. The America Vs Iraq war is an example of this. America abused their power and told the world that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction and that they must be stopped as they are a threat to the world. Although America has been in an incredible 49 small wars since WW2, another struggling country which posed a threat to them, was taken over with the backup of the UN as America's lies and deceit were enough to convince the world that what they were doing was morally right. In all three of these examples the liars benefit through the use of deception.

Another use of lying is to escape difficult situations. Regardless of the situation, lying can be an effective escape but the consequences of getting caught may sometimes be more detrimental than its worth. During a police interrogation, the officers involved are trying to get all the information out of you they can to convict you. A tactic to prevent you from being caught is to lie to them. Although you can be charged for lying as it is perjury, tactful and smart lying can be very effective in getting you out of trouble. If asked what happened in an incident in which you witnessed your friend stab someone, saying "no he didn't do it" would be an obvious lie that is obvious to police. A more effective tactic would be to stay out of it without getting your friend into trouble. Saying "Ummm I can't remember it, it was all so fast and no, sorry, I can't remember a thing", the police will not ask for you in court, you will give them nothing to convict your friend and they can not convict you as they can not prove you can't remember. Another example of smaller consequences is if questioned by a teacher at school, "Where is your homework?" If the homework is not done because you went out last night, what kind of lie would be most suited to this situation? Replying "I did it but it but it wouldn't print." Will offend the teachers intelligence as it obviously is a bad excuse. In this situation the aim is not to get out of legal trouble but to continue a positive relationship with the teacher. The excuse "Im really sorry I haven't done it because of Sacs in other subjects but it will on your desk tomorrow morning." will be much more effective as it is apologizing, recognizing your mistake and making amends for your actions. This is a much better lie as Sacs in other subjects are common and no offense is given to the teacher as blame is aimed at yourself. Adopting the right persona while lying is also important in these situations. In the police situation, a fearful, remorseful and learning persona will convince them that you have learnt from this incident and will never do something like this again. In the school incident a apologetic tone in which you aim all the blame at yourself would be most effective.


Although this piece of writing may make lying seem an art worth mastering, lies causes many problems. People will never trust you. Lying is something that can make create an image of you in other people's minds as an extremely bad person. People will not only lose their trust in you but they will lose respect for you. Nobody wants to be friends with a liar, employ a liar, or marry a liar. Guilt is another consequence of lying. Lying to family and friends will leave you feeling guilty as you are abusing the trust of a loved one. Imagine a lie being the last thing you said to a family member before they suddenly die. There are also legal implications to lying in some circumstances. During police interviews and in courts a lie can result in you being charged for perjury which involves a jail sentance even if you did not commit the offence being heard.

Lying is an art in which success is determined by its effectiveness and ability not to be caught and the morality of lying is determined by the intentions of the liar. Whether to lie or not is all depends on the benefits Vs the consequeces.


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