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Friday, January 27 2023
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The truth about lies will surprise you!

Photo Credit : Pixabay

Let me begin with what Adolf Hitler said and is true to this day. “The victor will never be asked if he told the truth.”  This he said, before he lost.  And it was true. Until he lost! Because what the Victor says is the truth. In His hands, His lie becomes Your truth.  It must if you are to survive. And from there flows the saying – the truth does not lie. It has no need to.

The rule of lie, like the life of Pi,  is that if the victor becomes the loser, the truth is boldly retold! And if its done successfully, theirs is the truth and all that is in it! An old lie (it has to be called out for what it is, to propagate the truth) is put to rest, and a new truth is born. Indeed, the truth does need a lie to exist!

So why is it a crime? Because you mustn’t let sleeping dogs lie! You must repeat it a thousand times till it becomes the truth; that’s a truth propounded by Vladimir Lenin, 1870-1924, Soviet revolutionary & leader and tested successfully by Joseph Goebbels and so many others after him! Indeed its easy, because like light, a lie travels faster than the truth –  “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes” – Mark Twain. And the crime perhaps lies in its repetition.

We all consider truth as good, don’t we? “Oh, such a nice man. He is truthful and honest.” And consider lies as evil. But why? when evidence has it that lies help you succeed in life, and even help you feel good, while the truth when swallowed burns the throat – that’s an old phantom saying that stems from a shot of 60% proof vodka. And that’s the truth!

Sadly the mirror does not have, or use AI to lie. So it tells the truth and you know what happens next. You either create goals for yourself or dig a hole for yourself. Indeed, a lie helps you feel good and cuts the red tape to success, while the truth always scissors or mirrors itself in you, for better or worse! So are both good then? Or are we good with both, when the need arises? I suspect it’s the latter – now go figure if that is a lie or the truth!

Jean Jacques Rousseau, 1712-1778, Swiss-French Philosopher philosophized, “There are always four sides to a story: your side, their side, the truth and what really happened.” It’s the famous South East Asian Quad, that India is a proud member of!

Ok. So, there are 4 shades of the truth – their truth, your truth, the objective truth (third party) and what really happened – this is something that the other three rarely, if ever agree on. I’m still confused. Is there no truth, other than what really happened? Who is to tell that story, and would we believe it? Why not? Is truth just the absence of a lie? Or the absence of another truth that says otherwise? Is the truth what really happened?

If you saw a ghost, would I see it? If I did, then would that become the truth? Did a ghost really appear? Did you come to the conclusion that there was indeed a ghost based on corroborative evidence? Or did you see a ghost when there was none? What is true? And what is real and is there a difference? Who knows but you? And me? And of course the ghost that doesn’t exist? And once convinced we have sighted a ghost, we are ready to defend or offend for it, till the death. That’s when the ghost will come alive!

Does the truth matter? Or only the lie? Must be the truth. Else why would one swear to tell the truth and nothing but, in a Court of Law? Where it’s like the game of truth or dare. They dare you to tell the truth and you dare to and even swear to, without using swear words. The truth according to you and nothing but. And there is a method in the madness. You have to tell the truth, the whole truth in a limited way in response to a yes or no question. You can’t just nod or shake your head! For example: Answer with yes or no. (1)___ , I don’t have brain. (2)___ , I don’t have sense. (3)___ , I’m stupid. You’ve Gotta tell the truth! Don’t lie, it won’t help you feel good!

Which brings me to another big Question that is doing the rounds because of a speech made by Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to his parliament. During his long speech he highlighted the contrasts between India’s democracy at the time of its independence and that prevailing currently. This had the Indian Government and its cohorts up in arms from their arm chairs, as if it were the truth, when it was not. And that too it was restricted to two lines in his entire speech which can be read here. But why would anybody be riled by a lie? He made similar comparisons with India’s BFF Israel and Singapore’s own democracy too.  Maybe a lie has more traction than the truth – or is it the other way around?

A few quotes from the speech would be relevant here perhaps – just for perspective, not for smiles or miles! Although you are welcome to both in context. You be the judge of whether they are the truth or a lie…

“The quality of a country’s democracy hinges on its people’s values: what they judge to be right or wrong, what they deem important, the causes they espouse, the ideals they embrace.” “Good and functioning democracies have clear, strong norms. These norms are upheld both by the governed and those who govern them, or those who aspire to govern them one day.” and the most important one: “Clear norms and incorruptible values are essential to protect the dignity and standing of Parliament. The system cannot work if the standing of Parliament is called into question. This is why we need to set the right norms of conduct among Parliamentarians, and guard them carefully. Tell the truth always, and do the right thing by Singapore, even when it is hard or awkward – in fact especially when it is hard or awkward. If something goes wrong, or something wrong has been done, own up and take responsibility – do not hide, dodge, or spin further lies, to obfuscate and cover up the original fib. The right norms can only be upheld by people with the right values because norms are not merely social conventions that people comply with for appearance’s sake. They have to be expressions of internal values that people believe in and hold dear.”

The debate was in the context of action to be taken upon a parliamentarian found lying to Singapore’s Parliament and whether this was done independently of the party leaderships’ advice, despite it, or in fulfilment of it.  The lesson we learn is that our internal values dictate the quality of our lies, or of our truth. And from where do we get our internal values? From those that precede us, nurture us, teach us and lead us. That’s the truth! Although we would like it to be a lie.

But then,  can the truth exist without a lie? Light cannot exist without darkness can it? Have you tried lighting a candle in sunlight?  A lie is supposed to be a perversion of the truth, and if there are more than one shade of the truth that vie to be the truth that is told (and retold), can there be a lie? Sigh! Profundity sets limits on the truth.

Maybe the line between the two is so thin that you cross over fairly frequently – like in Kabaddi – testing the limits of your breath! You must ensure it is regular when you lie. You must learn to lie by simply telling the truth! Remember the time you went on a date to a park and when asked where you were, you said truthfully, “to the park”. When questioned further, on with whom, you say, “a friend”. “Telling the truth” is so pervasive in daily life that a new term has recently been employed by psychologists to describe it: paltering. That it is so widespread in society now gives us more insight into the grey area between truth and lies, and perhaps even why we lie at all.

All this was paltering to ensure I put a smile on your face. Whether that smile is genuine or not is hard to say. Only you know the truth. Lie low until next week and you will find the truth in all of this!


This Article is written in the lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connect with any such real-life event or character, rest assured its purely coincidental.

Image by Arek Socha 

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Brian Fernandes

Brian is an alumnus of Roshni Nilaya’s Post Graduate School of Social Work, HR Department and has 30 years of local and international HR and General Management experience. Journalism, poetry, and feature writing is a passion which he is now able to pursue at will. Additionally, he loves compering and hosting talk shows. He loves learning and imparting it; so, when time permits, he provides leadership facilitation and soft skills training to Postgraduate students and Corporates in Mangaluru and Bengaluru. Besides, he is an accomplished Toastmaster under the aegis of and a designated Distinguished Toast Master.

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2 thoughts on “The truth about lies will surprise you!

  1. A good , yet complex article that leaves you thinking..
    A mention of leaders…may not go well with all; however they are use to make the point clear

  2. Here lies the truth! I had to read slowly, a second time and between the lies, because the truth escaped me the first time. Truth, indeed, is hard to digest. But, I can’t wait for more.

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