TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Do we need to lie?

It may be just a matter of time before science gives birth to flawless lie detection. Perhaps even the ability to look in on one's thoughts.

While that might be of great use in our Courts, how would you feel about being unable to lie in everyday life?

How full would our Jails be? How many relationships would last?

Could being honest ultimately help human kind, or would it cause us to tear each other apart?

Share:
  • thumb
    Mar 20 2014: What if our thoughts revealed that we were telling what we believed to be truth, but it was in fact not the truth at all?
    This is the great challenge, to admit that we only share a perception of the truth and not an absolute truth.
    One of my favorite talks proves my point.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/scott_fraser_the_problem_with_eyewitness_testimony
    • thumb
      Mar 22 2014: Theodore,
      If we genuinely believe something to be truth, and we express what we honestly feel, it is not a lie....is it? I think a lie is an intentional deception. I agree that our perception can be thought of as our truth.
      • thumb
        Mar 22 2014: My definition of "lie" includes: (of a thing) present a false impression; be deceptive : the camera cannot lie.
        • thumb
          Mar 22 2014: Yes Theodore.....I agree....a lie is intentionally presenting a false impression...deceptive.....

          So, if we are expressing something that we honestly believe to be the truth, it is not a false impression or deceptive....is it? It may be real to us as we express it. Therefor, in my mind and heart, it is not a lie.
      • thumb
        Mar 22 2014: Below is a comment by someone that has expressed an "is."
        Does the individual know the difference between a belief and a fact?
        Is their statement an intentional false representation?
        • thumb
          Mar 22 2014: We never really know for sure Theodore, what another person knows or doesn't know.
          I observe that when one is so sure that his/her perception is right, and the one and only, it suggests that the person is not open to any other thoughts, feelings, ideas, opinions, perceptions, perspectives, beliefs, etc.
        • thumb
          Mar 22 2014: Good point Chris Kelly, and perhaps if you address the topic question you might be a little more "complete" in this conversation.

          Topic question...."Do we need to lie?"
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Mar 23 2014: Oh dear Chris Kelly!
          I didn't know I was being "corrected", nor is there any attempt to "deflect" anything.

          Theodore's question...."Does the individual know the difference between a belief and a fact?" was directed to me....I got the notice as a reply to my comment. I'm sure you must have noticed that, so your comment above is a moot point....more of your "stuff"....nothing curious about it at all any more ....seems to be your pattern!

          EDIT regarding comment below:
          I understand the practices here on TED Chris Kelly....thanks for the reminder:>)

          As you so exquisitely wrote in another comment on this thread.....
          "It's just a conversachon. Chillax"
      • Comment deleted

    • Comment deleted

      • thumb
        Mar 22 2014: This is highly rhetorical, perhaps needing to be prefaces with the words, "I believe that..." because it raises the question of evidence; of an "absolute", an "ego", and the metaphorical "awakening," for this model.
        Brains are map making devices. Maps are approximations, but the map is not the territory.
        We perceive the elephant, our comprehension of the elephant is based on our perception, but neither is the elephant.
        • thumb
          Mar 22 2014: Chris Kelly,
          If you truly believe that "perception is an illusion", as you state in the comment above, why did you write..."The great challenge is to get beyond our perception and awaken to the absolute" AND "every comment we make OBVIOUSLY comes from our own perception".

          If it is simply an illusion in your mind, no need to make a big thing of it. The topic question is..."Do we need to lie?"
      • thumb
        Mar 22 2014: Chris,
        The challenge is to get beyond our personal perception, and awaken to the possibility that there are other perceptions as well. What can you say is an "absolute"?
        • thumb
          Mar 22 2014: This is entirely "woo."
          And this is why I am suggesting that it falls into the realm of intentional deception, lying, since it attempts to establish a true solely base on a belief.

          I will support this contention with a thought experiment. Two individuals are of different religions. They both claim that their god is the true God, and that the other is wrong. Which one is telling the truth?

          We see this time and again in religious discussion: "If you do that God will punish you."
          I refer to this as externalizing an internal subjectively held belief, meaning the individual making such a statement is contenting that they know what God will do when in fact God is merely a personal belief. They believe God will do such and such, without evidence of a God.
          This is a deception they participate in knowing
      • thumb
        Mar 22 2014: I understand Chris Kelly, the meaning of "observation" and "awakening". I agree....there are as many perceptions as there are people. I also agree that we can silence our intellectual mind to allow flow, in an effort to see beyond our personal perceptions, which are, according to you "illusions".
        The topic question is..."Do we need to lie?"

        EDIT regarding comment below...
        Chris Kelly,
        Your comment is a direct reply to my comment....

        "Chris Kelly
        23 hours ago: Understanding that there are other perceptions does not require an awakening, it only requires observation, for there are as many perceptions as there are people."

        I agreed with you....what is your problem???
      • Mar 23 2014: "Thus, higher consciousness allows for comprehension beyond, as in above, mere physical perception. "

        Yes,Higher Consciousness is the key which allows for comprehension beyond mere physical perception
      • Mar 23 2014: 'Understanding that there are other perceptions does not require an awakening, it only requires observation, for there are as many perceptions as there are people.

        Awakening is a personal quest when one answers the call of the spirit within us; when we use our intelligence to silence our intellectual mind to allow "flow" ... access to the higher mind. Only then can we (literally ) see beyond our personal perception(s), thus comprehending the whole.


        Universal laws are absolute."


        I agree to your comment.Its very difficult for any layman to understand. To comprehend the whole inner awakening is must.
      • thumb
        Mar 24 2014: Re: It's a ridiculous notion you share with many ignoramuses who claim there is 'no evidence of God' because of your own ignorance when it comes to what 'evidence of God' actually IS.

        Which god, or goddess, are you discussing here, Zeus, Ra, Jesus, or the one you believe in?

        See http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129528196
    • thumb
      Mar 23 2014: Theodore,
      You say..."This is entirely "woo""? I think I know what you mean, but the meaning of "woo" is to try to gain the love of someone. That doesn't seem like what you mean?

      Maybe you are right Theodore, that when one expresses a belief as a truth s/he is trying to deceive. I suggest that a person who is trying to express a belief as the one and only truth has first deceived him/herself with the belief that it is the one and only truth. Looks like a double deception!

      Regarding your example....different religions....different gods....both people claim that their god is the true god. I suggest they both believe they are right. You brought this up in a previous comment...."Does the individual know the difference between a belief and a fact?"

      I suggest that often times, that line is clouded because of one's personal beliefs/perceptions.
      • thumb
        Mar 23 2014: Woo is a term used among skeptical writers to describe pseudoscientific explanations that have certain common characteristics.
        The term comes from woo-woo, an epithet used in the 1990s by science and skeptical writers to ridicule people who believe or promote such things. This is in turn believed to have come from the onomatopoeia "woooooo!" as a reaction to dimmed lights or magic tricks. The term implies a lack of either intelligence or sincerity on the part of the person or concepts so described.
        As a coincidence, the Chinese word "Wū" (巫) means a shaman, usually with magic powers.
        Despite the terrible name, it has become quite a popular term. Woo is sometimes synonymous with bullshit, though there are differences. Bullshit is generally just a lie pulled out of wherever, about whatever. Woo is understood specifically as pseudoscience, uses a science-like formula, and attempts to place itself as scientifically, or at least reasonably, supported.
        Woo generally contains most of the following characteristics:
        A simple idea that purports to be the one answer to many problems (often including diseases)
        A "scientific-sounding" reason for how it works, but little to no actual science behind it; for example, quote mines of studies that if bent enough could be described in such a way to support it, outright misapplication of studies, or words that sound scientific but make no sense in the context they are used in
        It involves the supernatural and paranormal (not necessarily)
        A claim of persecution, usually perpetrated by the government or the pharmaceutical, medical, or scientific community
        An invocation of a scientific authority
        Prefers to use abundant testimonials over actual scientific research
        A claim that scientists are blind to the discovery, despite attempts to alert them
        A disdain for objective, randomized experimental controls,.....

        http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Woo
        • thumb
          Mar 23 2014: Oh Thanks Theodore. I've heard the word "woo" used, but was not aware that it was used so widely or acceptably, and with a quick search, I did not find the information you provide:>)

          Aren't pseudoscience, prophesizing, and those kinds of things in conflict with the TED terms of use agreement? If one prefaces these beliefs with....I believe....my perception is....I think....etc., then one is presenting them as a personal belief. When one clearly says this is how it is, and there is no other explanation, it appears that the person is promoting personal beliefs, which is also in conflict with the terms of use agreement?
    • Mar 23 2014: Yes I agree that we perceive things differently. I would imagine that if you tested a devout christian & a devout hindu, both would truthfully answer their god(s) are both real & the only true god(s).

      Even something cut & dry like: Is Kevin Bacon the star of the original Footloose? If one truly believed he wasn't, than even though he was wrong, he is still telling the truth.

      So while flawless lie detection would be unable to determine if someone was mistaken, it would still be able to judge intentional lying... which is the point.

      If we could be sure another person was not lying & yet you both have a different opinion, that gives you both solid ground from which to fact check & determine the real answers.
      • thumb
        Mar 23 2014: "It's not a lie...if you believe it."

        George Constanza

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vn_PSJsl0LQ
      • thumb
        Mar 23 2014: I think that is how lie detectors work Darren....is it not? If someone is mistaken, and honestly believes what s/he is saying, I don't think it appears as a lie. It is when there is an intentional effort to deceive that the body systems change and impact the lie detector?

        With instinct and intuition, we can sometimes intuit when a person is not telling the truth. Body language, eye contact, the way words are phrased, the content, etc., often alert us that what is being said may not be all truth.
        • thumb
          Mar 24 2014: How true, Colleen:) No perfect "lie-detectors" would be ever possible to build, and for the very reason you have described.

          Why is that the majority of peoplle so stubbornly insist on one truth for all, one diet for all, one sort of knowledge for all, one happiness for all?
      • thumb
        Mar 24 2014: Vera,
        You ask....why do the majority of people stubbornly insist on one truth for all...one diet....one sort of knowledge....etc.?

        I suspect that generally, people have good intent. They discover something that works well for themselves, and they energetically, enthusiastically want to share it with others. The more people who believe in the same thing, the more the belief is reinforced....is it not? So, it may create a sense of security for some folks to know that many people believe as they do?

        In this respect, I don't believe the majority of people are lying. I believe they genuinely believe what they are trying to get others to believe. The fact that they may not be able to see beyond their own personal thoughts, feelings, ideas, beliefs, perspectives, perceptions and opinions is another whole conversation with lots of elements...as I'm sure you know:>)
  • thumb
    Mar 24 2014: I think there's also the issue of presenting the truth in a way so others can hear it. When I can share my truth (perceived truth) in a way so that I fully own it and don't make it about the other person, it's a lot easier for others to hear my truth.

    People often present the truth in a way that blames other people and makes them the victim.

    I know for myself learning to take 100% responsibility for how I feel, think, and behave hasn't been easy in terms of dealing with a lot of old learning, but my life is so much better because of it. And it makes sharing the truth in a more objective, less inflammatory way a lot easier.

    So there are some skills and concepts that would probably make "sharing the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," more constructive and less destructive in a lot of situations.
    • Mar 24 2014: Your first sentence reminded me of something I read in "The Science of Discworld".

      "There is an aspect of education that we want to draw to your attention. We call it 'lies-to-children'...a lie-to-children is a statement that is false, but which nevertheless leads the child's mind towards a more accurate explanation, one that the child will only be able to appreciate if it has been primed with the lie.
      The early stages of education have to include a lot of lies-to-children, because early explanations have to be simple. However, we live in a complex world, and lies-to -children must eventually be replaced by more complex stories if they are not to become delayed-action genuine lies. Unfortunately, what most of us know about science consists of vaguely remembered lies-to-children. "

      I don't guess that's exactly what you were talking about but it brought that passage to mind.
      • thumb
        Mar 25 2014: @Jacob - thanks for getting at something I couldn't quite articulate. I agree and I wouldn't limit simplified explanations to the needs of children.

        What I'm trying to make a distinction between is simplification from the perspective of offering what a person can digest, find useful and that may spur them on later to discover more on their own versus to borrow from A Few Good Men the "You Can't Handle the Truth" which feels arrogant and disrespectful.

        It seems like there's a line and it can be a fine one. To some degree it can come down to a judgement call on a case by case basis.

        There's a great quote that paraphrases Einstein which I love, "Things should be as simple as possible but not simpler." This idea guides a lot of my professional life when it comes to writing and teaching. It also reminds me that there's an art and science to effective communication. The art makes it challenging AND fun.
    • thumb
      Mar 24 2014: I appreciate the thoughtfulness and wisdom of your approach, Judy, and hope to see you in many TED Conversations. Communication and collaboration are much more likely, I have found, when people share their points of view with courtesy and integrity and do not "make it about the other person" by focusing on analyzing or attacking those with a different point of view, or who live in a different country, or who can conveniently be labeled "the other."

      So much banding together in modern life has become about getting others on board by seeking a common enemy rather than seeking positive common ground or bonds on which a team effort might constructively be founded.
      • thumb
        Mar 25 2014: Thanks Fritzie. Yeah I'm banding with you! ;-)

        Seriously though, I agree and I think there's so much to be gained through civil discourse. Disagreement can feel really uncomfortable at times but nothing does more to expand me as a human being.

        There's a quote I can't quite recall but it has to do with the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time being a sign of intelligence or maturity or something along those lines.

        Anyway that's why I've been hanging out in TED conversations, I like talking with smart people who want to make a difference and TED seems to attract people with quite a variety of backgrounds from all over the world. So it's cool to hear a lot of points of view.

        I think because people hear for the most part do share some core values there are interesting possibilities for coming up with better solutions. I've certainly gotten some great input for a question I posted that is helping me move forward and I like this conversation because it's helping me work through my conflicted feelings on the issue of honesty.

        I understand the desire to find an enemy, it's an old hunter gatherer need. So I'm not about rejecting what is a part of our shared humanity. It's just we're not a bunch of tribes wandering in the desert anymore, the stakes are a lot higher and the problems are more challenging so we need to find more sophisticated ways to work together than the old "us versus them."

        Funny, eh? With all the sophisticated technologies we have and a lot of time we act like cave people who just happen to have cell phones and laptops.

        So how do we work with our tribal nature AND find ways to transcend that nature and be inclusive.

        Sorry if I'm rambling... it's an issue that really intrigues me.
        • thumb
          Mar 25 2014: I think the "holding opposites in mind simultaneously" is called Janusian thinking.

          I think there is every indication people can and do transcend their most primitive forms. There are first impulses and there are second thoughts.
  • Mar 19 2014: Darren,

    Lies are fairly common in normal life. Someone asks how they look and the normal reply is they look fine, no matter what. I am not sure human interactions are ready for absolute truth all the time.
    • Mar 19 2014: Thanks for replying Wayne. Your view is the one I most expected & is often brought up when this sort of question is asked.

      Telling your loved one they look beautiful when perhaps they don't is often given as a prime example of how a lie can be a good thing.

      We are I think, when it comes to this specific issue... 'Looks' our own worst critics. So I guess it is left to our friends & family to lift each others self esteem.

      But let's say ready or not, the technology to expose truth falls in our laps? Could it be that if we were all forced to be honest with each other that it might be completely refreshing? To have to say, 'actually honey, I think you've put on weight' & have your spouse accept that... & in return letting you know of your short comings too. Would that upset you, or could we all become more accepting of our flaws? Or even be driven through that honesty to live a more healthy lifestyle?

      Or perhaps your right. Some may not be able to handle such truth... And we may see a dramatic increase of depression? A worse case scenario for honesty in a relationship, when specifically looking at looks may be this... Man tells women she is overweight & thinks her breasts are small. Women tells her man she finds his Penis small & unsatisfying during sex.

      Hmmm, I am divided
      • Mar 22 2014: I know what you mean. I think we all want the truth but there are times where the full truth will do no one any good. There are many examples.
  • Comment deleted

    • Mar 27 2014: I agree that we as humans have taken lying to a much higher level. I only wanted to point out we don't own lying as you suggested.

      And as i have repeatedly said within this conversation, I know a lie detector can't determine fact from fiction... who said it should? A lie detectors sole purpose is to detect deception, that's it! I'm definitely not talking about some all knowing artificial intelligence.

      false memories, i think its an interesting subject, and yes false memories would complicate things if say a court was trying to determine something.

      And yes, i haven't heard of anything in the way of flawless lie detection coming out in the near future... I'm completely relaxed... I just thought it would be an interesting discussion. I'm still undecided as to whether or not it would be a good thing. But from what I've read here, i think if the technology did pop up, there be a lot of resistance to its implementation into our society
  • Mar 24 2014: This makes me think of the paradox "I never lie" ha ha.

    Personally I think of honesty as a sign of respect. Respect for yourself and for the person you are communicating with. I try to be honest with folks and will answer most any direct question ( that the fifth amendment doesn't apply to ha ha) but to be honest, I am guilty of omission when not asked direct questions. I have no illusions about this, I know it is still deception, but I am no saint nor do I seek to be.I agree with the comments below about fear being the root of deception and would add shame as a cause as well.

    Edit: To answer the main question, I don't think we "need" to lie, I think we choose to. I think ultimately complete honesty with ourselves and others would be greatly beneficial to us all. I think honesty strengthens relationships and honesty as a path affects all our decisions and actions, and would therefore help humankind. I think tthough that there is a difference in being honest and knowing the truth(but that is probably best addressed in a different conversation).
  • thumb
    Mar 24 2014: "He who says there is no such thing as an honest man, you may be sure is himself a knave."

    George Berkeley
  • thumb
    Mar 23 2014: 1. Some time ago I've been wondering about how and when we begin to go through that training -- to make-up lies.

    What I mean by "training"? In the first place, in our early childhood, we are "learning" along with our first language how to be POLITE means NOT TO HURT people by not telling them the truth about what we really think.

    When we have to say something to a person who we think looks unattractive, silly or does something stupid, we" learn" to say "you're doing fine" "you look good" "you're great"...

    We also receive POLITE, flattering comments from others, practically everyday. Well, I think that this tremendously confusing experience in expressing ourselves begins from our "innocent" childhood POLITENESS.

    2. Our language itself does not offer us a very straight method to express our thoughts and feelings (human language is fundamentally symbolic and conventional) we have to master our language for doing so... We often use the words or terms which other people do not unerstand in the same way we do.

    Lots of reasons make our communication very difficult because we use our man-made (human) language, and as striking as this may sound, we do not handle it well. If animals express themselves directly we have to translate our feelings and thoughts into our language. While doing this we get very confused in the process.

    3. The lie that some people use on purpose just to get what they want - becomes a very easy tool for tricking others. Usually we try to trust the WORDS that others (individuals, institutions, commercials) use..while missing the real tricky intention behind the words.

    Honesty is a tremendous gift, it usually requires courage and trust in oneself. Honesty leads us to great discoveries and allows us to learn from our true experience. But it makes us look "unprotected" to the majority. The precious quality of an Honest mind is inside itself - it cannot be confused with questionable labels and high price-tags
    • thumb
      Mar 24 2014: I agree Vera, that lying is often a learned behavior, and sometimes we learn it based on our teachings as children. Sometimes it is a reflection of training to be polite and not hurt others, sometimes it is a defense or survival practice (I think of criminals and families where secrets are encouraged for example). I also think that lying is sometimes accepted....normalized....so some folks don't see any need to change that behavior.

      I also agree that there are some language use challenges. Some folks do not know how to tell the truth without disrespect and anger, so in addition to sharing incorrect information (lying) they may create a lot of other challenges with the interaction. There are, however, many language use skills that can be learned in an attempt to communicate truthfully, with compassion and respect.

      I agree with you that lying creates confusion in oneself. Quite often, people do not tell only one little white lie, because if that is an accepted practice for him/her, it probably spans all interactions in that person's life.

      That is why, I think normalizing even one little white lie, encourages more of the same. When/if I learn that someone has lied to me, it compromises trust in that person, so I believe it adversely impacts all relationships. As you insightfully say....we try to trust the words of others, and if we know that someone is regularly lying, there usually is a question of trust.

      I agree that honesty is a gift to ourselves and to others. Communicating truthfully, with respect and compassion is a gift to ourselves and others. And I wholeheartedly agree that it begins with trust in oneself. It's important to be truthful and honest with oneself if we wish to share that with others. Some people may see it as "unprotected" or a weakness....that is a choice some folks make for themselves. I suspect it is a projection/reflection of their personal feelings of unprotected weakness?
      • thumb
        Mar 24 2014: Love your observations, Collen, cannot agree more... I suppose the ways we use our language effect us and those with whom we speak much grater than we usually notice.

        "Some people may see it as "unprotected" or a weakness....that is a choice some folks make for themselves. I suspect it is a projection/reflection of their personal feelings of unprotected weakness?"

        1. I never feel weak when I express my own truth, this makes me feel much stronger. Besides, my very work is demanding bold honesty in order to make sense in what I do,it is famtastic "training".

        2. When we are Hiding our own honesty on purpose? I think that it depends on our situation. In our everyday life we might find some ways to avoid many arguments which are absolutely unnecessary, but only provoked by our "demonstration" of our uninvited honesty. It's better to be quiet.

        3. Colleen, I've wintessed the whole nation living on ugly lies, the former USSR. Crowds who are scared to death to be punished by "law" for being honest get used to those "approved" lies and pretend to beieve in anything that is "legally" published. Or think of that horrifying Pre-war Germany! The madness in the middle east. It is scary to even watch how millions of minds can become so psychologically ill and support bloody ideas defending them with their very life.

        When masses passionately believe in made-up ideas or simply political or religious lies
        it is called, I think, mass-psychosis.
        • thumb
          Mar 28 2014: Thanks Vera, and I agree that how we use language, including body language is more important than we sometimes notice. That's another reason I think/feel that it is important to "know thyself".

          I do not feel weak with expressing my own truth either. It can feel vulnerable because with truth, we often expose vulnerable parts of our self. I agree with you that expressing truth feels much stronger than expressing untruths.

          I agree....it is sometimes more beneficial to simply be quiet. I think it depends on how important the topic is to us at any given time?

          Yes, we see many people afraid to be honest, and simply follow along with a deception. I don't think all those people are necessarily "psychologically ill", but rather so frightened of their own safety, it feels more secure and safe to be quiet?

          When masses of people believe in ideas without questioning the ideas, I believe it is from insecurity and fear.
    • thumb
      Mar 24 2014: Vera, here is a link that may give insight to the training -- to make-up lies. http://deoxy.org/egofalse.htm
  • thumb
    Mar 23 2014: In my previous comment, I should say that I was speaking of the description, not the topic, and I believe that the current functioning society that we live in today does require minimal deception. However, we could eventually find ourselves becoming better people if we just got rid of lying altogether. Of course it would take us adapting to it for quite a while, and during such a time there would be people nostalgic of the time when people could get away with lying, but as the time for missing dwindles and ends, we will find ourselves better people than we were before, compassionate and genuine, less judgmental, and ultimately kinder as a whole. Thanks
  • thumb
    Mar 23 2014: We lie because of fear.
    Fear of not conforming this the views of those with power over our lives.
    Fear of hurting others feelings
    Fear of having our mistakes discovered
    Fear of reprisals or punishment for misdeeds
    Fear of humiliation or shame
    Fear of social exclusion

    Once we stop feeling fear we'll stop telling lies!
    • thumb
      Mar 23 2014: Oh yes Heather....I agree.....it all goes back to fear!
    • thumb
      Mar 24 2014: Heather, And what be the root cause of all that fear in us? Could it be the lie?
  • Mar 23 2014: I need to lie down and take rest to come up with a conclusion that do we need to lie.

    If something miraculous happens that everyone across the globe becomes honest , then we don't need to lie.

    Why do people lie ?

    No one wants to tell the lie. But, the problem is people don't want to accept the truth or reality.

    Accept the truth and reality no one will lie. It is the complacence of the person to lie because people don't have the courage to accept the reality and truth.

    "How full would our Jails be ?"

    Then I would say that body and the life on earth itself is the big jail. We have just created sub-jails.

    Our soul is inside the jail of our body. Our body is inside the jail of Earth. And Within this earth we have created another jail for people to whom we force them to commit crime and then send them to jail.

    Schools are no less than jails.

    Relationships should be based on honesty but as people don't have the courage to accept the truth and reality so to build relationship people do tell lies.

    Accept the Truth and Reality with courage and no one will lie.
    • thumb
      Mar 24 2014: :-) :-) Are those thingaroos smiling faces if you look at them sideways?
  • thumb
    Mar 22 2014: Darren, As I read and re-read your question I get stuck on the word "need". The answer would be no. We do not "need" to lie.

    As a example: In the movies a drop dead beautiful girl in the bar rejects the average guys approach saying he is butt ugly. Or the rich guy surrounded by beautiful women who is indeed butt ugly. These two examples show that people can become "cold" and "insensitive" to the feelings of others and place their values above all else.

    A truth machine would not work on these shallow people because they are supported by other shallow "users" and "supporters". However, one pimple or aging could ruin the day of the vain woman and bankrupcy could destroy the average / butt ugly man in the examples above.

    Remember Tom Truth on the Carol Burnett Show? The father ask his daughters date what he had planned and he replied a quick hamberger and a trip to a cheap motel to have his way with his daughter? The truth may get you shot.

    I liked the ad where Lincoln was asked by a heavy woman .. does this dress make my backside look big?

    What if your boss said what do you think of my plan .... check your resume before answering.

    In summary the absolute truth would be "cold" and often "cruel" causing issues. However if that were the environment for everyone we would adjust and accept our shortcomings

    Pure truth would take away beliefs .. so religion would be gone ... only one car would be "in truth" the best .... politician would be shot on day one ... no more movies ... fictional books ... dreams are out only reality exists. So the only positive is the politicians are gone.

    Naw I like it the way it is .... so lie to me and make me feel good about it.

    Be well. Bob.
    • thumb
      Mar 22 2014: Dear Robert,
      You have magnificent, gorgeous eyes, a cute little pink nose, and your facial markings are exquisite...it's all truth based on what I see of you from here... I just could not resist:>)
      • thumb
        Mar 22 2014: That is all true ... however, I have replaced the mirror several time in hopes of seeing that image. Perhaps contacting Disney ... mirror mirror on the wall .... nope no help there either.

        Does this answer the question of which is most important image or perception?

        You made my day ... by the way you have impecable taste and judgement.

        Be well my friend. Bob.
  • Mar 27 2014: I'm pleased so many have weighed in on this. I thought perhaps the following link might be of interest, its a short but interesting read...
    http://liespotting.com/2010/06/10-research-findings-about-deception-that-will-blow-your-mind/
  • Comment deleted

  • thumb
    Mar 26 2014: No, it's a simple act having huge impact on your life. It's a cool tool to make person to take a first step into darkness road.
    Some people trying to defend a lies in three types:
    1- a good lies
    2- a gray lies
    3- a dark lies
    Hold on all of them are dark.
    Why all of them dark because the good one leading to a gray one and then to a dark one.
    So the question is:
    How much cost a good lie?
    A white lie cost your life.
  • Mar 25 2014: If we want to continue to live with women, yes, we NEED to lie!

    "Have I put on weight?"
    "Do you like these shoes?"
  • thumb
    Mar 25 2014: The old story of the truth:

    "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

    Arthur Schopenhauer
  • thumb
    Mar 24 2014: A question would be am I required to know the lie to gather contrast for which the human mind is capable of perceiving Truth? Self Honesty and Truth are something learned in the experience of time, lies and self deception are part of that learning, to be gone through and past in one's experience. When Truth dawns upon the mind the lie is dead. It's called growing up.
  • thumb
    Mar 23 2014: Personally, I think that in the long-term, it would have a very positive impact, but in the beginning of a society such as that, there would definitely be negative effects for quite a bit of that. Eventually, though, I think people would adapt. Of course, if the government is enforcing it, then they should be subject to it as well. I'm sure many people think that such a society would be a Dystopian nightmare, but they're thinking of it as one way, where the government spies on us and keeps all sorts of secrets, and that would be terrible, but if they didn't and neither did we, then I think it'd be beneficial to us all.
  • thumb
    Mar 23 2014: At times it seems necessary to tell a white lie. I sometimes lie in order to keep a situation calm until I know how to explain the situation in a way that will not cause mishap, but is usually better to tell the truth
    • thumb
      Mar 23 2014: Hi Hannah!
      Who is to judge if it is a "white lie", a black lie, or various shades of gray lie? Do you think that the one telling the lie and the one receiving the lie may have different perceptions and opinions?
      • thumb
        Mar 23 2014: I'm not going to lie and say that I havn't had the mindset that a lie would fix a sticky situation, but it is often easy to understand when a situation is too sticky to lie about. Everyone has lied before, and it does cause more problems than it solves, which is why we should not do it often, and if we can resist we really should be truthful, but if someone says that they are fat and you know that they are you tell them that they are not fat and then you go to the gym with them twice a week to make them feel better about themselves. That is the kind of lie I was referring to. You should never lie about something that causes you pain, and you know would also cause others pain. It is easier to tell the truth and work through it.
        • thumb
          Mar 23 2014: Hi Hannah,
          I agree that it may seem easier to lie in the moment, and I also agree that it usually causes more problems than it solves.

          My perception, is that it causes more challenges for the person who lies, so I don't choose to do that to myself. I think/feel it is easier to tell the truth and face any consequences right away, rather than letting it fester and expand the challenge!

          If someone says they feel fat, I might ask them what they want to do about it and help support them in that journey...it is a choice they make. Telling them they are not fat, if they know they are, is clearly a lie, and I think those "little white lies" compromise trust after awhile. If someone told me I look great, when I know I do not look great, I would wonder what else they may be telling me that is not truth.

          I really trust those people around me, and sometimes they tell me things I prefer not to hear, but in my perception and experience, I'd much rather hear the truth right away. I wholeheartedly agree that it is much easier (although maybe challenging in the moment) to tell the truth.
      • thumb
        Mar 23 2014: That is why I chose the words at times it seems necessary instead of it is necessary.
  • thumb
    Mar 23 2014: Hmmmm well there is no doubt that honesty can be brutal and therefore have a social cost.

    In this scenario I don't think the jails would get significantly fuller. That would depend how many people avid jail by lying.

    Initially relationships would be put under more strain, but we would adapt. I see two distinct ways, one mind reading / lie detection would be not be used except where very necessary. These tools would be seen as snooping limiting how much they are used in a relationship. The second, if we assume they can't simply be turned off, would be social norms and expectations would change, this would be a harder and longer transition but would happen.
  • thumb
    Mar 22 2014: Hi Darren,
    Lying is a deception which in my opinion, complicates life. Once a lie is told, usually more lies are needed to cover up the deception. The practice complicates our lives, so in my perception, there is no need for lies, which are often told to bail oneself out from a situation that we choose not to face in a more productive way.

    When I was a child, my mother asked a question as a lesson...how would you feel if everyone in the world knew what you are saying or doing right now? A seed was planted in the back of my mind, which causes me to be more aware of what I am saying at any given time.

    There are SO many ways to express ourselves honestly, I don't see why some folks like to justify lying.
    One example you give in a comment..."Telling your loved one they look beautiful when perhaps they don't..."

    Beauty is subjective...it is very easy to say...you look beautiful TO ME. Or if that is not honestly how we feel...don't say anything!

    Another example you give..." 'actually honey, I think you've put on weight' & have your spouse accept that..."

    A person doesn't usually put on a lot of weight overnight...it is a process that the person and the partner probably have noticed over time? It is an opportunity to be honest and truthful in an effort "to live a more healthy lifestyle.." as you insightfully write.

    Early in my marriage, my partner always praised the meals I made. As long as he kept praising them, I kept making them because I thought he was being honest. Years later, in a fit of anger, he told me he was only trying to be nice to me and not hurt my feelings, so he ate all that "garbage".

    I have always been praised for my cooking, so I knew it was his anger that he had been holding onto for years. My cooking was good, according to everyone else I fed....he just didn't like the particular foods, and it would have been easy to tell me that rather than lying and living with the lie for years! He didn't like vegetables...he could have told me!
  • thumb
    Mar 20 2014: Let's take a close look.
    Lie is a refined form of deception. It's purpose determines its morality - 'never ever lie' is a commandment that we hardly follow anymore. Now deception has a deep evolutionary link to our survival and existence; from that view point all living creatures lie. Human morality that frowns upon a 'lie' just does not hold here.

    When human thoughts are accessible and we cannot lie anymore without being caught, we will lose with that privacy, creativity and novelty.

    Lie is a necessary flaw we should learn to live with not eradicate.

    If I need to lie to survive or save others from certain destruction, I won't think twice.
    • Mar 22 2014: I totally agree that some lies are arguably moral in their purpose. But I am not convinced they are necessary? Perhaps an example of a necessary lie would sway me...

      I also agree that other reasonably intelligent animals may use deception, but can you call that lying? Lying intentionally I would have thought requires some level of intelligence... A level I would have thought beyond most of the animal kingdom.

      The topic originally of course was how would we deal with technology that threatened our ability to lie. I would guess then that yourself and others like you would seek to ban such technology from entering everyday life?
      • thumb
        Mar 22 2014: Morality imparts refinement on natural truths. If lie is communicating what is not a fact for a situational gain - stripped off all imposed meanings - it is deception.
        Btw, it may be unwise to think animals are devoid of intelligence. I think intelligence in a broader sense imply the ability to survive and excel in a given environment and in that sense animals are quite intelligent. It is just that they may not be having constructs like morality as we humans do.
  • Mar 19 2014: Hi Darren.
    I look at lying in two ways.
    First, it is a form of self-preservation, an instinct.
    When one is suddenly stripped naked in some way it is only natural
    and instinctive to protect oneself. Truth can still be admitted later.

    But, I do believe that the type of lying, deceiving and hiding that parents do
    with their young children is what creates the beginning of mental illness in kids.

    According to the Comorbidity Survey Replication done by mental health agencies and services in
    the U.S., mental illness is beginning at age eleven (11) and increasing throughout the population.
    I believe it is caused mainly by parents (their lying and deceit in raising their children), and is where mental illness, that isn't of organic natures, first begins. There are organic causes.

    The lying and deceit is most damaging when it comes to not being honest to children about real life and who and what humans are. For instance, for me anyway, the very idea of teaching a child that they are born in sin, that sex is immoral and wrong, oh and evil too according to the last Pope, that their natural inclinations are somehow wrong, that they will go to a place called Hell, that there is an invisible man in the sky who watches them, is concerned with what they do when they are naked, gave them thousands of nerve-endings of pleasure and demand they not enjoy something until they are old.....duh. And so on. Children sense much more than what we think they do and when they are deceived by their very own parents and told to believe and trust them, then they are being split off from themselves and thus begin to trust the lies instead of the truths, which ultimately, was trusting in themselves that they somehow "knew" something wasn't right. Turned against themselves should be considered extreme child abuse, but those who do this always say, "it's for the good of the child."

    A 2009 survey showed more parents are lying more often to kids about more things. That means they lie to themselves
    • Mar 19 2014: Thanks for reply Random Chance.

      Your right I think, in that we all who have something to hide(which I assume includes everyone!) are seeking to self preserve. We are all trying to maintain a certain image. Each society has its own idea of who we should be. And I think in a lot of cases, that expectation is detached from reality. And yes, I think some of that unrealistic image has to do with religious influence. And when we can't live up to that ideal, we fool ourselves & everyone around us.

      Even though I am an Atheist & I can certainly see where your coming from, I want to maintain a level of objectiveness here. And I'd rather not travel too far down that all to slippery slop, the topic of religion!

      But I will say this, Parents who teach their children religious doctrine cannot be said to be 'Lying' Whether or not you & I think they are correct doesn't change the fact that they believe what they are teaching. They think they ARE telling the truth. There is no intentional deception there.