It’s almost impossible to find any one who doesn’t lie. All of us do lie. Even the most honest people do. When we give compliments to people, when we describe a place, when we express our love to someone, our success, our city, our family, our achievements… “thanks so much for the lovely party” or “that dress really looks good on you”… or “I love you more than my family”… or bluffing in a game of cards… these are silly exaggerations which have become acceptable in modern society because the receiver doesn’t expect to be told the 100% truth. Some lies are told to win admiration from others. Boasting is most common. It is common in children, some adolescents, and even adults. Even big corporations do it all the times to boast about their products to stay ahead of the competition,.
Then people lie to avoid the consequences like embarrassment or punishment… “but the light was still green when I crossed…” claims the driver even when he knowingly jumps the red light or “I was only driving 60 kms an hour…” claims the driver speeding at 70. “I couldn’t call because my battery died…” teenagers often tell parents after reaching late or “… I was sick….” Or “my uncle died….” These kind of common lies are told all the times in order to avoid punishment. These are to cover up our own mistakes which if proved can result in a loss of freedom, money, job, relationship, reputation, or even life itself. Even parents write lies in letters to the principal in order to protect their child from punishment.
People also lie for self-defence or to protect themselves from embarrassment. Or simply to avoid hurting someone’s feelings by speaking the harsh truth. Yesterday, I was in Delhi and my cousin died. But the family told the parents that she is in the hospital so that they don’t get shocked. A daughter answering her mother’s question “who were you talking to on the phone just now”, by naming a girlfriend, not the boy who is asking her out on a date, is an example.
Some people lie for the sheer thrill of getting away with it, testing their unsuspected power. Many children will at some point lie to their parents simply to see if they can do it. Some people do this all the time enjoying the power they obtain in controlling the information.
People lie to defend themselves from the authority. Some people lie to cheat.
But some people lie to harm you… hurt you or to destroy you. Because they believe they can succeed only by destroying someone. It’s very common where the competition is cut-throat. In politics and film industry it’s very common. Where the destinies can change overnight, where your life can become from being insignificant to extremely recognisable in one flash of a news, lying can be very tempting and seem like a fast route to success.
In my business of entertainment lots of PR firms advise the aspiring actors to create controversies by falsely blaming someone powerful so that media picks up the controversy. This is a very dangerous trend. Since media is the biggest medium of spreading lies, it grabs the news not because of the credibility of the liar but for the damaging the credibility of the powerful person as everyone likes to see a powerful person falling. With instant rewards of fame, it’s very easy for a desperate person to falsely accuse a powerful person. These days if you open the newspapers there are multiple such stories. Media as an establishment lies all the times. When they are not lying, they are giving platforms to vicious liars.
What should one do in such situations when someone lies to hurt you or damage your reputation or to destroy you for vested interests, a political agenda or for monetary gains?
I am sure there must be many ways to deal with it but I have learnt few things with experience. I have learnt that lies don’t have legs and liars don’t have computer memories. A truthful person doesn’t have to carry the baggage of remembering the truth. Each time you ask him, he will say the same thing because the truth is only one. Whereas, the liar has to remember his/her web of lies. To cover up one lie he/she has to manufacture another lie and another and another and so on. Slowly, this bundle of lies becomes too big for human mind to remember. Someday, the liar will err. Will slip. Will give away.
Therefore, I’d suggest if you are true, then maintain a dignified silence and swallow the poison of lies like Shiva. Be patient. Eventually, the liar will self-destruct himself/herself.
Believe in the power of truth Because in the end, only truth wins. Be #IAmBuddha.
Note: you can also contribute to this column by sending your ideas, stories, fables, anecdotes. I’ll use them with due credits.