TED Conversations

Jean-Charles Longuet

This conversation is closed.

Telling the truth: are there limits?

Two recent talks focused on "Truth" as something good/moral. Practically, however, some information may cause havoc: the Wikileaks diplomatic data disclosure, for example, coulad have put some people at risk.

How should we manage the decision to disclose (or not) such information? Or manage the moral dilemma when telling a lie may have a positive outcome?

[update 2012/11/25] The conversation initially mixed a few things : Truth is something that is not as obvious as it seems, and Lies are more related to a deceiving/manipulative intention that to the hiding of some Truth.

Anyway, all points of views are welcome.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Nov 25 2012: Yes great points Colleen. That tangled web is such a complex one and becomes societal doesn't it? That's where moral issues do come up and get "tangled" with this simple truth (sorry, couldn't resist it)! Every religion is adament on being the only truth. Sad state that is Yoda says.

    Everything does circle back to choice as well doesn't it? The question is how many recognize the cost of their choices when they start to weave that web, consciously or not.
    • thumb
      Nov 25 2012: Thanks Bobby....good points from you as well:>)

      We (humans) can indeed create a very tangled web, which in my perception, simply complicates our lives, and also, as you say, becomes societal. We observe right here on this thread, that people would very much like to justify lying. What if we need to protect someone? What if we need to spare someone's feelings? etc. etc.? Then people declare that there are "little white lies", and BIG lies.....who decides? Who chooses what lies are ok, and which are not ok? So, people build this very complex "web". How about simply NOT lying? I agree with Yoda..."sad state"!

      I agree Bobby, that it all comes back to "choice"...what choice do we make as individuals? If an individual is already contemplating a little lie, big lie, lie to protect someone, or spare feelings, they have already accepted the idea that lying of some sort is ok. It is not a very big leap from there to justify ALL lies when/if one is not conscious of the behavior and justification. If one already believes that lying is ok in certain circumstances, we can simply mold the situation in our mind to justify the lie.....yes?

      That is how we complicate our own lives because we begin lying to ourselves to justify the outword manifestation of the lie....as you say...it circles back.

      I do not lie, and I've gotten feedback my whole life that I walk my talk, which feels absolutely wonderful, and knowing that contributes to the contentment in my life. I really don't understand why anyone would want to create the chaos and discontent which lies create in one's life experience.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.