Is a lie always bad or it can be good, too?
I don’t know what’s on our mind when we lie, but I am certain that we all do it. I want you to catch the concept that lying is an ability that we can use to help ourselves and others.
The idea of writing on this subject came up from a project in Sweden. We prepared for a 24/24h acting game for 3 days in a world of northern culture and mythology. We were our characters all the time and we were also lying non-stop. We took another identity and it was magical, we could even say therapeutic. We discovered a freedom that comes along with the act of lying in this condensed simulation of nowadays world. In reality, it’s what we all do every day because is the simplest and fastest way, on a short run, to find what we long for- the freedom from judgement and hurt, the freedom of belonging, of being validated and loved.
This is a picture I chose for my blog and on the right, there is a photo you won’t find on my Facebook page. Is it good to use a little make-up for our reality? We all like it beautiful. Let’s try to answer by analyzing a few situations!
You know, a lie is connected with creativity and it’s clapped by everything that comes into our mind when we say marketing, sales, publicity and branding. This happens when we grow up. When we are children, our parents teach us it’s not good to lie and they haggle us until we don’t.
We all remember the story of Pinocchio– his nose got bigger with every lie. This story is full of great lessons, but is, after all, a lie itself. Like any other lies we enjoy and we pay for. What?!? You don’t think you’re paying for lies? Think again, my friend! There are many interpretations for this question, but I am talking about all the wonderful worlds described in our favorite books. Do you think it is possible to exist an author that doesn’t know how to lie?
The same parents lied to us that there is an old grandpa with beard who has presents for us if we behave, even reindeers and a flying sledge. We were lied for a pleasant emotion, for a happy childhood- so they say …
We learned to lie not to hurt others and not to hurt our own ego, after all. Do you remember when we were visiting grandma and even if we could barely swallow the extra creamy cake, we said it’s very good? If we were to be honest, someone for sure would have said we were rude. Starting with small things like this one, we learned how and when to lie.
If it’s good or not, it’s your call! For example, our patients’ families could ask us, as doctors, to hide from them that they have cancer, for their own good. Because the diagnosis would be too much for their loved ones and they want to protect them. However, we can’t do it, it’s not ethical. Do you know what it is ethical? To give special placebo medication to our patients, for their own good, of course!
You see, the “bad and good” notion it’s not as “black and white”, rigidly attached to a lie and it depends on our perspective of seeing things. The truth is somewhere in the middle and it’s very possible that once, it was a lie.
I want to tell you about a guy called Casey Sheffer. When he was 19, he lied with the price of his life, that he wasn’t hiding Jewish children in his house, in Holland. Lying with huge risks, he saved many lives from the Nazis. Was this a good lie? If yes, why? Because it saved lives? So … could this be the price for a lie to be good?
Even when putting aside our cultural differences, we can’t generalize and there are situations when we can’t attach a valence to a lie, especially out of the full context. In the movie “La vita è bella” you have an exemplary father because of his ability to lie.
We should understand a lie as an ability that lubricates social interactions and with its creative part, it is a sculpting force of our reality. It can help us design the best version of ourself.
When Nadia Comăneci obtained the first perfect 10, nobody believed it was possible and the scoreboard wasn’t made for perfection- it showed 1.0. Do you know how many gymnasts obtained a perfect 10 at the next Olympics? Dozens! Why? Maybe because Nadia was the first to believe in the lie of a perfect exercise?
We create our reality by having a piece of an unknown puzzle and we adopt roles, identities. I still feel like lying when I respond to ”Hey, doc?” because I’m just in my first year of residency and I have so much to learn to fully embrace this status and to level up to all the responsabilities that come with it.
So many times we define ourselves and we create our story starting with that little piece of puzzle which is not representative for the whole picture, but it ends up attracting other pieces, making a final outcome very different from what we had in mind when we started. I invite you to build up the puzzle of your own identity starting with the fragile piece marked with 1.0. A lie can be true because it becomes true!
Choose the good lies and take advantage of their creativity!
This is a speech made for 5MS Speech contest held in Cluj -March 2018- that brought me the 3rd place. You can watch the Romanian version below!Minciuni bune (5MS- Cluj, 2018)