looting and lies great and small

Ahhh it is an elusive thing, truth, it slips and slides in and out of our lives, important at times, at others not so.

It is not absolute, it is personal and its meaning varies with each one who attempts to define it, with each circumstance. Be suspect of anyone who vows their total honesty, for while that may be their intent, we all lie.

Little lies. White lies. Kind lies. We lie about our bad habits, we lie about our fears, we lie about our likes and our dislikes, our wants, about ourselves and those we love, about how much coffee we drink. We lie when we’re asked what we really think, about this, or that. We lie to please, to hide our mistakes.

Harmless lies whose intent is to soften a brutal world. Graceful lies, artful lies. Gentle, protecting lies meant to show respect. We turn our backs yet peek with curiosity at the cruel honesty our culture seems to reward, confessional “reality,” which layers lies upon lies.

“Tell the truth,” we teach our children, yet they witness our own little lies, for with them we teach them also that telling the truth is not always polite, or kind, or appropriate. Lying is, they learn early on, necessary.

Yet lies can dig deep and grow roots, and become part of us. True liars find pleasure in their ability to weave stories which entrance, which delude and lose sight of the truth whose importance fades. The lie becomes a game of sorts, a challenge. In a culture of gamification lying becomes yet another way to reach the final goal, to level, to win.

My children share the stories they hear of cheating with their father so that he might be better equipped to combat it in his classroom. Answers written on the inside labels of water bottles, adhered to fingernails. Illness feigned once test sheets are photographed and shared (at a price). When caught the punishment is mild, little lies told to ease the harshness of the crime, to forgive, to hide. They are good kids…

London is burning and nine year olds are relishing in the game of looting. They don’t even care enough to lie about their actions anymore, brazenly proud of their success, sneakers in hand. This is their truth. It is a dangerous cocktail this one of hopelessness mixed with an ethical wasteland. They were good kids…








6 thoughts on “looting and lies great and small

  1. I agree that one thing we can say is definitely true is that we all lie. I also agree that truth is many-faceted and has many levels. I also believe that something really true, even if no one on earth recognizes it, and we can’t give up on finding it and trying to live according to it. Unfortunately the truth of these kids is not the truth of the merchants they are stealing from. I think it is true that the powers that be are going to either have to let the kids have their way with the city or do something forceful about it. That would be an unfortunate truth. It is also true that most people would prefer order to chaos.

  2. Good kids…I suppose we all start out with the intention to be the best we can be, but then some poor choices are made and a lie or two is tossed into the wind like leaves in a fall storm. I married a man who lied about his age. Can you imagine? We were on our honeymoon when I happened to glance down at his drivers license and noticed the significant difference. As he explained, “I didn’t think you would marry me if you knew how old I was.” From that day forward I never trusted him. Maybe you can’t always be truthful, but when you realize how much it hurts to be lied to, I think it’s a good goal to keep in mind. Thanks for a great post!

    1. The thing I hate most about not being able to trust someone is that it locks you into a sort of permanent questioning, even paranoia. If the person is someone who is not important to you it doesn’t much matter, but if it is a loved one, a family member, or a colleague you need to work with it can be incredibly stressful.
      For me, anyway, being able to trust someone (if not in their every word but at least in their integrity and their intent) means freedom.

      How sad your story…on your honeymoon! (whisper: he totally didn’t deserve you, girl!) … Once trust is lost it is very unlikely it will ever be regained fully.

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