The Burden of Deceit in Public Life: Sissela Bok
Writing to Discover
Nancy, a middle-aged politician, is more than eager to be elected as her town’s mayor in the next election. With the mind-set that she will, in reality, be limited as far as what she can do to help her town as a whole, Nancy decides to “sugar-coat” her public speech. In doing this, Nancy is confident that the citizens of her town will feel both reassured and hopeful that she will make many positive changes as mayor; even if she doesn’t have the power to do so. In contrast; Tyler, a sixteen-year-old boy, has just been confronted by his girlfriend about cheating on her with her best friend. Instinctively, he denies the situation as a whole, hoping his girlfriend will believe him. Although being dishonest, Tyler feels as though it is the best decision to save their relationship and prevent his girlfriend from getting hurt. While these are both hypothetical situations, they also happen in reality, and on a daily basis. Nancy and Tyler differ from one another in age, gender, and case-but they are very much alike in the sense that they both chose to lie. The word lie is such a harmless, three-lettered-word, right? Wrong. Lying is something that is both overlooked morally and figuratively. Regardless of what extent one chooses to lie, they are still in the wrong. I feel as though there is no “grey area” in terms of telling a lie; there is truth, and then there is untruth. With this being said, I consider all of deception, self-deception, deceit, and mendacity to be forms of lying. Deception withholds dishonesty in itself; it undoubtedly correlates to any type of trickery and or fraud. Likewise, deceit involves being dishonest as well. Whether one does this through actions or words would just depend upon the situation. Mendacity includes both lies and also self-deception, making it a more severe form of lying. I do believe that there are different degrees of lying. There are...
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