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The Ways We Lie Essay

How do we lie?

Statistics show that a person lies more than 50 times a day. We are not judging; it is just statistics. What is the lie? In other words, it is a deception. Someone can assume that it is just a process of making someone foolish. But is it just like that? Because if it is, the world would be much easier to understand. Even a lie has different variations, and according to the book of Stephanie Ericson, we will discover them.

Lying is the natural part of each human being. It doesn’t matter what the sex,  everyone keeps lying. Even if the person says that he/she never lies – it is a lie. We do it because of the desire to hide something or to give a false impression. Have you ever appeared in the situation of unknown people having a desire to make them love you? Did you start telling things about yourself which don’t exist in the real world or making real things about your personality look better without mentioning details? That is kind of lie as well.

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Stephanie Erickson tells how destructive lies can be. It can cause people to cry, bad mood or much worse situations. Stephanie Erickson wrote completely real and true text that shows what a lie is, why people lie, how to see the liar. She also turned to “The Bedford reader” written by X.J.Kennedy who said that “We lie. We all do. We exaggerate, we minimize, we avoid confrontation, we spare people’s feelings, we conveniently forget, we keep secrets, we justify lying to the big-guy institutions.” In some way, it is even scary.

S.Erickson analyzes all the ways we use lie to help and hurt people in the society and how does it affect American culture. It doesn’t mean other cultures don’t lie, we just explain on the example of the book. The main aim of the book is not to make people feel so bad about themselves but to make you all think, before talking, especially when you want to lie to someone. What is lie according to the author?

  1. Ericcson gives us two different definitions according to the Webster:
  2. A false phrase or action made especially to harm;
  3. Each thing that is done to give a false impression.

She totally understands that it is completely impossible to avoid lying but at least we can try. Perhaps we can lie for 25 times a day instead of 50? It could be a great beginning.

As we know, she divided lie to the three main types: “white lie” (we talked about it above), the “out-and-out-lie” and facade.

Stephanie Ericson said that there are different types of lies in her book.

  1. First one we are going to talk about as called “white” lie.

It has no connection to the color of the skin. It means the process when a person lies to improve the situation somehow. The author described a situation when the war comes, and the hurt person appears in the hospital where the doctors lose to win the life from Death’s hands. The sergeant of that soldier has to come up with a very important decision – to tell the truth to the soldier’s family or to say that he is missing. Well, he decided to lie and listed him as missing.

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Why did he do that? Isn’t it better not to live in hopes and know for sure that the person you love is now in the better place? He had a very good aim. And you know, this belief is the one which will help them to wake up in the morning, to keep living and do things. Yes, he lied but only so that victim’s family would receive indefinite compensation instead of lump-sum.

His decision may cause wrong, but it will help his family not to appear on the street asking arms of people. He supported the family financially. To be honest, if I were him, I would do the same. I would have a load on my mind; I would suffer but lie to his family. Of course, if the previous agreement wouldn’t be another. I suppose all soldiers talk to their sergeants about that before going into the battle.

This decision is wrong. The sergeant doesn’t know the situation of the family, their feelings and desires. And the main thing – what did they want to hear and know. So, when we don’t know the situation, it is better to avoid telling lies. This example is the one which represents a white lie. You do something wrong, having an aim to help.

To summarize about the “white lie” – it means that telling an untruth you don’t want to hurt because the reality will come for sure. Some people are simply not capable of hearing the truth. They just NEED to hear lie and feel okay instead of suffering. Each thing in the world has results, in different situations even a white lie can harm. According to the example of the Vietnam case, it is true that family will not be hungry ad they will always keep feeling a hope in their hearts being unable to move on.

  1. Another one is the out-and-out-lie.

In the words of the author, she thinks this lie is the best one, as everyone understands it is a lie. You don’t even need to think too much. Do you remember an episode of Friends where Joe didn’t know how to tell his producers that he missed the parade? He started talking something about raccoons that came to his house and almost blocked his way. That is what is called the out-and-out lie.

  1. The facade is one of the ugliest things according to the book.

Simply, this is what a person pretends to be but, in reality; he isn’t. Have you ever met people who smile to your face, hug, and tell that you are so cool, but after you say “goodnight, see you tomorrow” start gossiping about you. Also, S. Erickson told us about the guy who seemed to be brilliant and so handsome, and suddenly he occurred to be a cheater and a liar.

To sum it up, everybody has an explanation for his words and behavior. All lies have reasons to be told. Because if there is no reason – then it is a pathology and person needs to be cured in the psychologist’s office, but not judged. The most significant is that the writer tells different common stories. She speaks with readers like with her friends. So, the book based on real stories definitely worth reading.

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The Ways We Lie Essay. (2018, Sep 19). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/essays/the-ways-we-lie-essay-58132/

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