MODERATORS is there a way I can delete this and repost it under undergraduate admissions, I didn't realize it was on graduate admissions. Thanks."Honesty is the best policy, but honesty won't get your friend free birthday cake at the diner." - Overheard in the city of Chicago
Does society require constant honesty? Why is it (or why is it not) problematic to shift the truth in one's favor, even if the lie is seemingly harmless to others? If we can be "conveniently honest," what other virtues might we take more lightly?
Inspired by Eleanor Easton, a second-year in the College
Growing up, I never disputed the importance of being honest, after all I liked my nose and didn't want to end up like poor Pinocchio, but in recent years, I realized that lying is just as important as telling the truth.
Over Thanksgiving break, I became a little too exuberant while playing Wii boxing and punched myself in the face. I can be a bit wild with my swings, but don't worry, I won. For days after I returned to school, I got questions like "Dude what happened to your jaw," "Are you okay," "Should we talk about your life at home," and "Did you get into some kind of outsiders brawl over the break." While all of these questions were valid proposals and a swollen jaw typically means something more than a Wii match gone wrong, who would ever admit to such an unfortunate outcome from a game and not a real sport? Naturally, I saved myself from extreme embarrassment by making up stories of ninjas abducting me in the middle of the night and an overzealous Black Friday shopper who fought me over a pair of $19.99 boots.
My convenient lie proved to have no adverse affects and helped save me from having to repeatedly explain what really happened to me. Imagine my having to grudgingly retell my boxing match, complete with hand motions and the anticipated final blow not to the other player but into my own jaw- no thanks. If I had to do it over again would I still lie about how I got my injury? If I'm being honest, yes I would lie in a heartbeat, but maybe this time I would come up with a more colorful story.
Does society require constant honesty? Absolutely not. If people only told the truth there would never be another person elected for any position in government, lawyers would be out of a job, and teachers wouldn't know what to say about some children's' behavior. Like Dave Van Ronk once said, "honesty is the cruelest game of all, because not only can you hurt someone - and hurt them to the bone - you can feel self-righteous about it at the same time." If people only told the truth more men would really tell their girlfriend about that new dress and moms would hear the truth about how that new recipe really taste.
My boxing match, while a travesty itself, taught me it is truly okay to shift the truth in ones favor if its impact is harmless for others or me. While a society completely devoid of honesty could make all morals disappear and become something from a dream, sometimes lying can make life a bit more interesting. After all who needs honesty when I can get free cake from lying?
Tear it apart I only have a few hours to make this perfect. Thanks.