The Way We Lie

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The Ways We Lie
In the essay, "The Ways We Lie,” the author, Stephanie Ericsson, tells about the many ways people lie and explains the reasons for doing so. In her essay, she talks about ten specific ways of lying that she believes are prevalent in today’s society. First is “the white lie,” which is basically telling a harmless lie instead of the truth, if the truth is destructive. She writes, “Telling a friend he looks great when he looks like hell can be based in a decision that the friends needs a compliment more than a frank opinion” (165). Furthermore, she explains that it is the liar deciding when is best to say the lie, because it is an act of subtle arrogance for anyone to decide what is best for someone else. Like she tells about the incident of an American sergeant during the Vietnam conflict who knew one of his men was killed in action, but listed him as missing so that the man’s family would receive indefinite compensation instead of a small pittance the military gives widows and children (166). Next a “façade” is changing our behavior while avoiding the real truth. The author tells of a lie done with the intent to do wrong. She says that we all put on a façade to one degree or another. Moreover, she writes that a façade can be destructive because it is used to seduce others into an illusion. Then “deflecting” is not answering the question at all. The author tells how people are often up-front about unimportant issues but do not reveal the couple of very important details that change everything. Writing about “out and-out lies” she tells that she likes this one best among other types of lies, because she gets tired of trying to figure out the real meaning behind things. She gives an example of her five-year-old nephew whom she had seen breaking a fence. When she asked him “who broke the fence, he answered, ‘the murderer’” (170). She could not figure out how to respond because he was lying to her face. Furthermore, she talks about “delusion,” which is the tendency to see excuses as facts. She says, “It is a powerful lying tool because it filters out information that contradicts what we want to believe” (171). She gives an example of alcoholics who believe that the problems in their lives are rightful reasons for drinking rather than results of the drinking to offer the standard example of deluded thinking. Stereotypes create lies because a group of people's actions caused bad things to happen. Some lies are straightforward, and purpose is to avoid the truth altogether. It seems the author believes lying is important in order to not hurt peoples feelings and to be successful and happy. Ericsson says, being dishonest is a cover-up for pain, hurt, guilt, or ignorance. I don't agree with the author in some of things she says. Ericsson says, lying covers up pain. It is true lying may cover up pain, but the truth will always solve the problem. The author also says she tried to go weeks without lying and she found it almost impossible. I believe this shows the author might just have a problem with telling the truth, and everything she tells her readers is a lie too. There are necessary times when lying is the best decision for all the people involved, but these certain situations usually don't happen because we would still have to deal with the fact we told a lie. I think everyone has lied or will lie, but it isn't right to lie on purpose or lie all the time.

Reading this essay, I recalled one incident of childhood. When I was a kid, I was taught that lying is a bad deed whether it is a big or small lie, and I was also taught one lie leads to another, then another. When we tell a lie then we have to tell a second lie to cover the first lie, and as time goes by, unknowingly we get trapped in lies. In spite of that teaching, I sometimes told lies, but I have noticed that a few times I told a lie for my sake rather than for my friends or classmates. In my elementary and middle school years, whenever my teacher...
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