So I am pretty weird. Somewhere between college and now I have completely embraced my weirdness. If someone says I’m weird I take it as a compliment. Don’t get me wrong, if someone were to tell me this in a mocking or jeering fashion I would be a little offended. When friends say it, “you’re so weird” I smile. I have two friends in particular that say “You are sooooo weird…” and just when they think I am about to become salty about it say… "I am too!” And they are. Anyway moving away from my rambling on my weirdness, I go back to why I say I am pretty weird. I am weird because I write in my head. I put phrases together in my head as if I am writing it. I put quotes together. I literally talk in my head like I am talking to someone else. It was about three months ago, as I was writing in my head, that I stumbled upon this quote that I think I will forever hold tightly to my breast.
I was having a really difficult time---with understanding the difference between a lie and the truth. I was trying to find a way to wrap my head around some really complex issues. And this phrase was the epiphany that somehow eloquently found its way out of that state of confusion. I was walking around my apartment and it just hit me. “Every truth isn’t genuine and every lie isn’t malicious.” It was like it came straight from the heavens. In the context of what was going on in my life—trying to determine right from wrong, there were so many implications to that quote. It was probably the most clarity I had found for myself for an entire year. Just for that second I stopped being angry and so willing to simplify everything and actually started to really question humanity—and what it means to be human.
If someone lies and another person tells the truth then the bad guy is easily distinguishable, right? The bad guy is clearly the liar, right? I don’t think so. I’m not so sure anymore. People do crazy things for crazy reasons. The problem is that what comes out of one’s mouth is laced with all kinds of motives and intentions that we have no idea of. So, when one person tells all truths does that somehow absolve them of the manipulation behind that truth? If you tell the truth---of a life of hardship, of your true feelings, of a secret and it’s for reasons solely to manipulate someone then what does that truth really mean? It is the truth, but it’s a malicious one.
And then you have the lie. From a young age, I think we are all encouraged to tell the lies that will somehow spare the one’s we love from hurt. We call them white lies, and for some reason we make a sharp distinction between those and those other really big lies. But what happens when the black lie serves the same purpose as the white one? What happens when you’re told a big lie but it’s to spare the one’s we love from hurt? Is there any difference? I throw out all these rhetorical questions because the only answer that I was able to come up with was that phrase that I’ve already put forth, “Every truth isn’t genuine and every lie isn’t malicious.”
When I had that very eloquent epiphany—I had two people in mind--one person who, as far as I knew, had a habit of telling me the truth and another who, as far as I knew, had a habit of telling me a string of untruths. I will never know where the lines can be drawn. I don’t know if the person who told the truths was doing so because they were sure that truth would resonate feelings from me—leaving me vulnerable and ripe fodder for manipulation. On the other hand, I don’t know if the person who told the lies was trying to protect me—and although manipulative in nature was for my own benefit. That’s the thing about truths and lies, though. There is no way to tell the motivation behind either. I guess all one can do, since there’s no way to tap into people’s true intentions, is to not look at the truth or the lie but the actions before and after it. Does the person who told the truth act in accordance with being respectful and upright? Does the person who lied act in accordance and is reckless and unconcerned with your feelings? If not, then a lie is lie and a truth is a truth, but what does it really matter? At the end of the day all that matters is the motivation behind it. Now, if I could just figure out a clean quote to make that process easier.
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6 years ago